Southern Scotland

Southern Scotland (including Dumfries & Galloway, and the Scottish Borders) has something for everyone with historic castles and abbeys, distilleries, botanic gardens, walking trails, outdoor activities, fabulous scenery and miles of picturesque coastline. It's easy to reach from Edinburgh and from England.

Update March 2020 - please see our page about the Coronavirus situation in Scotland. Please do not travel now.

Top 3 reasons to visit:

  1. HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS including dozens of castles, the romantic Border Abbeys, and Abbotsford - the home of Sir Walter Scott.
  2. STUNNING SCENERY with rolling hills, magnificent forests, lochs and miles of unspoilt coastline.
  3. OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES here include scenic walks, mountain biking, cycling, fishing, horse riding, surfing and more.

TOP 12 PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTHERN SCOTLAND

  • Hermitage Castle - one of the most sinister and atmospheric castles in Scotland
  • 5 Star Logan Botanic Garden - Scotland’s Most Exotic Garden
  • The Crawick Multiverse - a vast open air artspace designed by Charles Jencks and inspired by the cosmos
  • Abbotsford - home of Sir Walter Scott - now accessible via the Borders Railway
  • Caerlaverock Castle - unique 13th century moated triangular castle
  • Galloway Forest Park (the UK's first Dark Sky Park) and Red Deer Range
  • Traquair House - Scotland's oldest inhabited house
  • The Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall - one of the UK's top 5 highest waterfalls
  • Border Abbeys - Jedburgh, Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh
  • Threave Castle - only reached by taking a boat
  • Floors Castle - family home of the Duke of Roxburghe
  • The Mull of Galloway - Scotland's southernmost point

Abbotsford, Scottish Borders

Abbotsford

Grey Mare's Tail waterfall, photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland

Grey Mare's Tail waterfall - photo copyright VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

You can explore the rolling countryside with walking trails such as the Southern Upland Way, the Annandale Way and Mull of Galloway Trail, or be more adventurous at the 7stanes mountain biking centres in the forests of Southern Scotland. Fishing on the River Tweed, golf, horse riding and surfing are also popular pursuits.

Mountain biking in the Glentress forest. Photo by David-Anderson / Visit Scotland
Mountain biking in the Glentress forest. Photo copyright David N. Anderson / Visit Scotland

Choose your perfect place in Scotland from the BEST - quality assured

Scotland’s Best B&Bs is the only 4 and 5 Star Bed and Breakfast organisation across Scotland. Each member is inspected by official Visit Scotland Quality Assurance advisors. You can be assured of a very personal, warm Scottish welcome. Living locally means that your host will know the special places to visit, the best places to eat and everything to make your stay memorable.

Stay with Scotland's Best B&Bs in the Scottish Borders

Mill House B&B Scottish BordersMill House B&B
This 4 Star GOLD B&B is in a converted 18th century mill near Kelso. It is less than 2 miles from the English border and ideal for visiting the Berwickshire/Northumberland coastline, as well as the historic Border towns of Kelso, Melrose and Jedburgh with their famous Abbey ruins. Choice of 4 spacious rooms/suites (double, twin, family). A full Scottish breakfast is served in the panelled Dining Room. Guests can also relax on the patio or in the drawing room with open fire. BOOK NOW

Abbotshaw House B&B Scottish BordersAbbotshaw House B&B
This 4 Star GOLD secluded farmhouse is set in an unspoilt area of the Scottish Borders, within easy driving distance of Carlisle, Gretna Green and Northumberland. The house sits in 363 acres of farmland and woodland with a mile stretch of private river (fishing is free for guests). It also offers B&B for horses with stabling, turnout, a near Olympic size all-weather arena and lovely farm/forest rides. Choice of luxury rooms (double, twin, family) and generous 4-course breakfasts. Abbotshaw House B&B is ideal for walking, cycling, fishing, horse-riding and star-gazing. Dogs are welcome but not in the bedrooms. BOOK NOW

The School House B&B near Jedburgh ScotlandThe School House B&B
This award-winning 5 Star Gold B&B near historic Jedburgh offers a choice of 2 rooms (double or twin). It is close to historic sites such as the Border abbeys and Floors Castle. The former Victorian School House has been thoughtfully converted and retains many period features. Breakfast is in the farmhouse style kitchen. Optional 3-course evening meals are served in the minstrel gallery dining area with antique furnishings, silver cutlery, crystal glassware and period table linen. Guests are welcome to relax in the large garden with patios, a summer house and a rockery with a water feature. There is also access to the adjacent forest. Dogs can be housed in the utility room (sorry no access to the bedrooms, dining room or lounge). BOOK NOW

Stay with Scotland's Best B&Bs in Dumfries and Galloway

Waterside Rooms B&B Dumfries & Galloway ScotlandThe Waterside Rooms
This 4 Star B&B on the coast directly overlooks the pictureque Solway Estuary in Dumfriesshire. Enjoy wildlife spotting and coastal walks or explore historic sites and castles including Caerlaverock. Gretna Green 7 miles. Dumfries 20 miles. Accommodation is in one self-contained suite of rooms with king sized bedroom, private lounge with sofa-bed, designer shower room and spectacular sea views. Sleeps up to 4 people. Breakfast is served in the upper dining room with panoramic views out over the Solway Firth. BOOK NOW

Nithbank Country Estate near Dumfries ScotlandNithbank Country Estate
5 Star luxury accommodation at Nithbank Country Estate in this secluded Scottish Country House just 14 miles from Dumfries. Set in ancient woodland with river frontage and breath taking views, this is a peaceful retreat where you can also enjoy wildlife watching, field sports, fishing, golf, walking, cycling, mountain biking, Galloway Forest Park, distilleries and castles such as Drumlanrig. Supper is available by prior arrangement. Green Tourism Gold award and Biosphere Certification Mark from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere for commitment to sustainability. Taste our Best award. BOOK NOW

Torbeckhill B&B near Lockerbie ScotlandTorbeckhill B&B
This 4 Star B&B (10 miles from Lockerbie) is set in 16 acres of grounds with spectacular views of the hills of South West Scotland and the Solway Firth, with the Lake District in the background. It is an ideal stopping off point if you are traveling North or South between England and Scotland with the M74 being just a few minutes away. Explore nearby castles such as Caerlaverock, Drumlanrig, Threave and Hermitage. Torbeckhill offers 2 bedrooms (double / twin) on the ground floor. As well as an extensive breakfast, guests can also enjoy a 2-course evening meal by prior arrangement. BOOK NOW

Brookford B&B Southern ScotlandBrookford B&B
This award-winning 4 Star GOLD B&B is located on the edge of the Galloway Forest and Dark Skies Park. There are plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, walking and wildlife watching. Drumlanrig Castle and Threave Castle are just a short drive away. Choice of 2 guest bedrooms (double/twin). Brookford B&B won the Visit Scotland Thistle Award for the 'Most Hospitable B&B' in the whole of Scotland for 2017, and also holds the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Certification Mark in recognition of its high standards of environmentally sustainable development. With prior arrangement guests can enjoy a 2-course evening meal freshly cooked with home grown, local and/or Fairtrade ingredients. The dining room looks out over the Galloway Hills where you might spot Red Kites. Taste our Best award for the last 6 years. Pets welcome. BOOK NOW

BEST TIMES TO VISIT SOUTHERN SCOTLAND IN 2020

Highland Games, annual agricultural shows and food festivals are a great way to enjoy local produce and entertainment Also worth seeing are the Common Ridings which are colourful festivals that take place every year from June to August. Eleven towns in the Scottish Borders celebrate with magnificent rideouts involving hundreds of horses in events which stems from the 13th/14th century history of the Borders Reivers.

Please note that due to the Covid-19 situation, many events up until at least July will be cancelled or rescheduled. Please check with individual event organisers.

  • Hawick Reivers Festival (27 - 29 March 2020) - re-enactments showing what life was like in the mid 16th century.
  • Traquair Medieval Fayre (23 - 24 May 2020) - Scotland’s only authentic Medieval Fayre featuring jousting and jesters in the grounds of Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, Traquair House
  • Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival (22 - 31 May 2020)
  • Peebles March Riding & Beltane Queen Festival (tbc June 2020) - spectacular week-long festival
  • Melrose Festival (tbc June 2020) - a week to commemorate the town‘s history
  • Borders Book Festival (11 - 14 June 2020) at Melrose
  • Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival (tbc June 2020)
  • Jedburgh Border Games (tbc 11 July 2020)
  • St Ronan's Border Games (11 - 18 July 2020) and Cleikum Ceremonies week at Innerleithen
  • Kirkcudbright Country Fair (tbc 18 - 19 July 2020)
  • Border Union Show (24 - 25 July 2020) annual agricultural show and equestrian event at Kelso
  • Stranraer Show (tbc 29 July 2020)
  • Dumfries & Lockerbie Show (1 August 2020)
  • The Scottish Alternative Games at New Galloway (tbc 2 August 2020)
  • Kirkcudbright Art and Crafts Trail (tbc early August 2020)
  • Innerleithen Music Festival (tbc August 2020)
  • Wigtown Agricultural Show (5 August 2020)
  • Morebattle Highland Games (8 August 2020) at Kelso
  • Galloway Country Fair at Drumlanrig Castle (tbc mid August 2020)
  • Kirkcudbright Floodlit Tattoo and Fireworks (tbc late August 2020)
  • Moffat Show (29 August 2020)
  • Borders Heritage Festival (tbc September 2020)
  • Peebles Highland Games (5 September 2020)
  • Stranraer Oyster Festival (11 - 13 September 2020)
  • Wigtown Book Festival (25 September - 4 October 2020)
  • Kirkcudbright Festival of Light (8 - 11 October 2020)
  • Kirkcudbright Food Festival (tbc October 2020)

Common Ridings - Crossing the Jedwater Scotland
One of the spectactular Common Ridings events

Discover our pages on:

Attractions in Dumfries & Galloway - Castles in Dumfries & Galloway

Attractions in the Scottish Borders - Castles in the Scottish Borders

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