A circular route of the Scottish Borders and Northern Borderlands

Day 1

  • From Edinburgh you take the train from Waverley Station to Tweedbank on the Borders Railway setting off around 9 a.m. This journey takes about an hour before arriving at Tweedbank where you will be met by the Tour Guide. From here you will be taken a few miles to Abbotsford, the ancestral home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous poet and writer of the romantic Waverley novels. We will have coffee in the restaurant before going round the museum and then taking a tour of the interesting baronial home of the great novelist.
  • After leaving Abbotsford we drive down the main Borders road towards Hermitage Castle, an old fortified keep famous for its association with Mary, Queen of Scots. Hermitage is situated in the Liddesdale valley which was once the heartland of the Border Reivers in the 16th Century.
  • At Hermitage we have a picnic lunch and soak in the atmosphere of this wild and wonderful landscape. After this we drive the short distance to Newcastleton and visit a museum before crossing the border into the Northern Borderlands of England and onto Bewcastle.
  • We drive across these moors towards Bewcastle church where there is an ancient Anglo-Saxon Cross dating back to the 8th Century. There is also a small museum which depicts the life and times of this turbulent area where reiving was rife in the 15thand 16th centuries.
  • A short drive from here takes you to The Roman Wall at Birdoswald. Here you will see the ruins of a Roman Fortress where there is a ‘state-of-the-Art’ museum depicting life on the Wall during the Roman occupation between 122 AD to around 400 AD.
  • We then drive to Lanercost Priory, an Augustinian monastery built in 1156. The Priory is still used for Anglican worship and is also a venue for Summer Musical festivals. We continue our journey through the parklands of Naworth Castle, the ancestral home of the Dacre and Howard families before driving the short distance to Carlisle arriving in the Great Border City around 6-30pm
  • Over-night accommodation will be arranged in The Crown and Mitre hotel which is situated in the heart of the city and next to the Historic Quarter, or the Hallmark Hotel situated next to the Citadel Railway Station. Accommodation is based on a B & B basis.

Day 2

  • The following day we set away from Carlisle around 9 a.m. and drive northwards towards 'The Debateable Lands’. This was once a turbulent region beset by battles and violent feuds amongst warring families known as the Border Reivers. This area neither belonged to the English or Scottish crowns rendering this area a state of lawlessness.
  • Within the ‘Debateable Lands’ lie the historic churches of Arthuret and Kirkandrews on Esk. Both these churches offer an interesting and colourful history.
  • We then drive further north and pass an old Pele Tower called Gilnockie Tower which was the stronghold of Johnny Armstrong, the infamous Border Reiver. Heading northwards to Langholm we learn about the legendary figures of the town notably Thomas Telford, the renowned engineer who pioneered the building of many bridges and highways in Scotland and beyond.
  • We then ascend the foothills of Eskdalemuir which takes us into the Ettrick Valley. This valley is sparsely populated and was once a deer park where the Scottish Kings and Barons met to go hunting
  • In this remote valley we will have a picnic lunch amongst the rolling hills of the Ettrick.
  • We then drive to Melrose where we visit Melrose Abbey and perhaps have time to wander around this Border town which is well-known for hosting the Rugby sevens. From here you are taken back to Tweedbank where you will board the Borders train back to Edinburgh Waverley.


Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Europe. The medieval Old Town contrasts sharply with the Georgian splendour of the New Town. Edinburgh Castle dominates the city sky line and sits eminently in the heart of the city. There are also many other beautiful spires and monuments which enrich this capital city.

Snapshots From The Tour


Map of the Border Country with the Riding names


Carlisle, the Great Border City is the regional market town of Cumbria situated in the far north-west of England. In Carlisle’s historic Quarter there is a castle, cathedral and museums all situated in a compact area which is criss-crossed by ancient thoroughfares. If available, an overnight stay will be arranged in The Crown & Mitre hotel which lies in the heart of the city

The Crown and Mitre Hotel - Tel. number 01228 525491
The Hallmark Hotel - Tel. number 01228 531951


You will be taken on your tour in a 4x4 Freelander Land Rover which is a good vehicle for touring around the varied landscapes of this interesting countryside. The driver and possibly co-driver are familiar with rural life and will provide a ‘potted history’ of life in the area during the turbulent times of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Tours & Pricing

PRICE OF Circular TOUR inclusive of:-
Entrance fees into the historic buildings
Picnic Lunch
Rail fares
Bed and Breakfast in a centrally situated hotel in Carlisle
£225.00 per person
Contact Us for availability