June 5, 2024 – June 11, 2024
6 days – $4,000.00
$900.00 deposit due upon booking
Our Scottish Borders Tour features an array of castles, palaces, villages and the many varied and stunning landscapes of the Scottish countryside. The Borders are home to some of the UK’s most historically important properties, and we’ve got seven of its most stunning houses on this tour, all presented within a leisurely itinerary. We’ll be visiting the medieval town of St. Andrews, Alnwick Castle, Scone Palace and Abbotsford, home to Sir Walter Scott, amongst others. This tour offers a truly varied itinerary, with stays in both Edinburgh and the atmospheric market town of Kelso, situated where the rivers Tweed and Teviot meet. Read on for the complete itinerary.
Upon arrival in Edinburgh, you’ll meet your fellow travelers at our 4-star hotel as we gather before going on to a welcome dinner.
This morning we board a coach for a day trip that begins with a view of one of Scotland’s greatest man-made landmarks, the Forth Rail Bridge and then we’re on to the traditional fishing village of Anstruther (known as ‘Ainster’ locally), where we’ll check out the old cobbled streets and take a walk along the seafront to the harbour.
From Anstruther, we continue north to the medieval town of St Andrews. St Andrew is the patron Saint of Scotland, and according to legend his remains were washed up on the Fife coast. St Andrews is, of course, the birthplace of golf and is also home to the third oldest university in Britain and a beautiful ruined castle perched on a cliff. You’ll have about two and a half hours to explore this fascinating town before we take a scenic drive through the rolling countryside of central Fife to Falkland. Falkland Palace dominates this old village, and was one of the main residences of the old Royal family of Scotland, the Stewarts (Stuarts). Aside from the palace, the village is simply one of the most beautiful in Scotland with an array of old cottages and narrow winding streets. On our return to Edinburgh, we’ll pass Loch Leven, where legend has it that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. This evening has been left free for you to explore Edinburgh and dine on your own.
After checking out of our Edinburgh hotel, we’ll board our coach for a trip to Kelso and our next hotel, Ednam House, a stately, riverside Georgian country house featuring ornate plasterwork ceilings, carved doors, fireplaces and stone work crafted by the finest artisans of the late 1700s. In town, Kelso Square claims to be the largest in Scotland, with the Bull Ring at its centre standing as a reminder of past market days. The square is now host to many specialist shops and Kelso’s graceful five-arched bridge over the Tweed, built by John Rennie in 1803, was the model for London’s Waterloo Bridge.
After check-in, we’re off to Mellerstain House, considered to be a masterpiece of Adams’ design. Completed in 1778, this grand stately home is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Baillie family and two of Scotland’s greatest architects, William Adam and his son Robert. This Georgian mansion is a unique example of Adam design, presented just as it would have been some 240 years ago. Afterwards, we’ll have plenty of time to explore the formal gardens and Italianate terraces that surround the house. Dinner at our hotel this evening.
This morning we travel an hour south by coach into Northumberland for a visit to magnificent Alnwick Castle, home to the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland, for 700 years, as well as to Harry Potter – Alnwick appears as Hogwarts in several films. After Windsor Castle, Alnwick is the second largest inhabited castle in England and home to one of the most important collections of fine and decorative art in the United Kingdom outside the Royal Collection. Once we’ve toured the stunning Renaissance State Rooms and the historic out-buildings in the grounds, you’ll be free to explore the gardens, including the famous Poison Garden, before trying your hand at archery – broom riding lessons are also available. Really.
Afterwards, we’ll visit the historic market town of Alnwick, where you might choose to stroll the Alnwick Gardens, visit the independent shops in the cobbled High Street, explore the Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery or browse the shelves at Barter Books, one of the largest second hand book shops in Britain, housed in the old railway station. Dinner in Kelso this evening.
We’ll begin the day with a visit Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott. Scott and his family moved into Abbotsford, then a humble farmhouse, in 1811. As his popularity as a writer, and corresponding income, both grew, Scott began work on the palatial family home we’ll see today. Scott himself described the house as “rambling, whimsical and picturesque” and we’re sure you’ll be charmed with it, as well.
Afterwards, we’re off to nearby Bowhill House, the magnificent country home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and home to part of the famous Buccleuch art collection, which contains both important pictures and portrait miniatures. An ongoing exhibit at Bowhill is entitled ‘Love and Respect in the Victorian Age’, showcasing a range of around 70 items including silver, porcelain, jewellery, books and manuscripts. This stunning collection tells the story of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch and Lady Charlotte-Anne Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duchess of Buccleuch whose marriage in 1829 lasted until his death over half a century later. As he neared the end of his life, he reflected to his ‘dearest Char’, that, ‘I would never have loved you so much had I not respected you more.’ Dinner in Kelso this evening.
On our final day, we’ll visit Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited house. Built by the 1st Duke of Roxburghe in 1721, it remains a family home and one that offers a collection of fine art, porcelain, newly restored tapestries, grand rooms and superb views. After our tour, you’ll be free to visit the estate shop and the Terrace Café before enjoying a woodland or riverside walk. This evening, we’ll partake of a Farewell Dinner, drawing our tour to a close.
4 nights in Kelso at a 4 star Hotel
7 full English Breakfasts
Entry or admission fees to all listed venues
Transportation including private coach and taxi
Services of a professional guide throughout