The largest inhabited castle in Scotland, home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe and their family. Spectacular State rooms filled with priceless European paintings, tapestries and furnishings. There is a café next to the walled garden, a licensed restaurant next to the castle and gift shop. The walled garden café is a really great place to go for lunch with delicious food prepared by the Duke’s chef – the fish cakes are superb!
Perhaps nowhere else in the world can evoke the power of the romantic past more than Abbotsford, stunningly located on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. Abbotsford sits at the heart of the landscape that inspired the poetry and novels of its creator, Sir Walter Scott. Unlike the homes of other great writers, this is a house that the writer himself designed and as such uniquely embodies a physical representation of the Romantic Movement that he helped to create. When you touch the bricks and mortar of Abbotsford, you are touching the soul of Scott.
Abbotsford House attracts visitors from around the world and is a wonderful place to visit for the whole family. As well as the main house, there is now a visitor centre, which was officially opened by HRH The Queen in 2013. It’s a great place to go for lunch and is fully wheelchair accessible. Just outside the visitor centre there is an adventure playground area for the children and there are glorious riverside walks for the dog!
Set in the Scottish Borders at Lauder, Thirlestane Castle has its origins in the 13th century. It was rebuilt as the Maitland family home in 1590 and greatly enhanced by the Duke of Lauderdale in the 1670s. In 1840, it was extended and refurbished with the addition of two new wings.
The Maitlands are a famous Scottish family who first came to Britain from France with William the Conqueror.
Dramatically perched on a rocky crag and accessible via a three-mile causeway at low tide only, the island castle presents an exciting and alluring aspect. Originally a Tudor fort, it was converted into a private house in 1903 by the young Edwin Lutyens. The small rooms are full of intimate decoration and design, with windows looking down upon the charming walled garden planned by Gertrude Jekyll. The property also has several extremely well-preserved 19th-century lime kilns.
Beautiful historic house and gardens open to the public (seasonal). Lots for children to do including the largest hedged maze in Scotland! There is also a brewery and a restaurant.
Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau high above the Northumberland coastline Bamburgh is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.
The great fortification of Bamburgh Castle sits on an outcrop of volcanic dolerite. Known locally as whinstone for the sound it makes when hit by a stonemasons hammer, it provides a natural throne upon which the castle sits forty five metres above sea level.
This is one of Scotland’s most grand medieval castles set high on a cliff edge near North Berwick on the North Sea coast. Tantallon Castle was home to the Red Douglas dynasty.
View the artefacts and imagine the clashes with the Crown that left their mark on this family seat. The mighty stronghold was finally abandoned after more than 300 years, when it was besieged for a third time by Oliver Cromwell’s army.
Discover a history filled with intrigue, murder, torture and treason. This awesome, eerie ruin has plenty of tales to tell, thanks to its role as “the guardhouse of the bloodiest valley in Britain”.
Greenknowe Tower bears the date 1581 in an inscription above the entrance doorway. However the castle has been re-built since then and is thought to be the first Scottish castle of the mighty Gordon clan.
The carved lintel above the doorway and the tower’s original iron gate are rare survivals of the original building.
Made from red sandstone, the tower house is attractively situated among ageing deciduous trees near the village of Gordon and is surrounded by grassy marshland.
A beautiful tower in a stunning setting near Melrose, once home to the ancestors of Sir Walter Scott.
This is a ruin of a fortified manor which dates back to the 1200s. A very old castle, associated with the Wars of Independence and Mary Queen of Scots.
This is one of four great abbeys established in the Scottish Borders in the 1100s. It took over 70 years to build and is striking for its unusual mix of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture.
When it was built in the 1100s it was one of Scotland’s largest and wealthiest religious houses. A spectacular example of Scottish monastic architecture.
Famously the final resting place for the heart of Robert the Bruce. Melrose Abbey is a magnificent ruin on a grand scale.
David I founded Scotland’s first Cistercian monastery in 1136. Being so close to the border, Melrose Abbey suffered at English hands during the Middle Ages. Rebuilt in the 1380s, it was used as an abbey until the Protestant Reformation of 1560. Afterwards, the existing monks were allowed to stay on: the last died in 1590.
This is a medieval ruin on the banks of the beautiful River Tweed. You can still see plaster and paintwork inside the chapter house dating from when it was built in the 1100s.
Other fine examples of ecclesiastic architecture and masonry also remain – despite three fires and four attacks all but destroying the abbey buildings.
This magnificent fortress–residence served three successive noble families over 400 years. Badly damaged in Cromwell’s 1650 siege, Dirleton’s fortunes were revived by its new owners in the 1660s.
The Nisbet family built a new mansion house nearby to live in and made the picturesque castle ruins the central feature in their new designed landscape. They also breathed new life into the splendid gardens, now home to the world’s longest herbaceous border.
AYTON CASTLE, AYTON
DUNS CASTLE, DUNS
FAST CASTLE, ST ABBS HEAD