Featuring tranquil walking and top-notch hospitality, this self-guided holiday – with luggage transfers included – explores the lesser-known landscapes of the Borders. As you walk, you uncover a fascinating past and wealth of local culture, and have the chance to visit Traquair House – Scotland’s oldest continuously inhabited home.
South of Edinburgh, a patchwork of softly rolling hills and sheep-grazed pastures are woven together by the tumbling, salmon-rich waters of the River Tweed. In this quiet countryside, between the lush vegetation of the riverbank and higher, heather-clad summits, the remains of Iron-Age hillforts and fortified tower houses can still be seen – reminders of the region’s long history, and the dramatic role it once played in the medieval wars between England and Scotland.
Heritage and tradition continue to be important in the Borders, and particularly in the two historic towns where you stay. Innerleithen is very little known outside the region, but is much deserving of closer inspection: its St Ronan’s Border Games are the oldest organised sports meeting in Scotland, and nearby Traquair House – which comes complete with a working 18th-century brewery – is the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited home. Peebles, meanwhile, still maintains its ancient tradition of ‘Riding the Marches’, where the townsfolk set out together on horseback to survey their boundaries.
In both Peebles and Innerleithen, you stay in delightful, owner-run accommodation where you enjoy generous hospitality and quality cuisine. Peebles’ Tontine Hotel is a fine Georgian building that has been welcoming guests since 1808, while a few minutes from the centre of Innerleithen Caddon View is an award-winning guesthouse set in well-kept gardens.