History, Heritage & Culture – from the Borders Railway

Heritage, culture and Scotland’s capital all go together: iconic venues such as Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland set the tone. Not far from the city, Rosslyn Chapel is unique and thought provoking, while Newbattle Abbey had a special role in the story of Scotland. The National Mining Museum Scotland is a reminder of the industrial heritage of Scotland. This theme is picked up again at Hawick’s Textile Tower House, which neatly links wool and weaving back to the monks of the Border Abbeys, who began it all. Finally, no visit to the Scottish Borders is complete without becoming acquainted with Scotland’s champion: Sir Walter Scott and his extraordinary house at Abbotsford.

History, heritage and culture travel trade itinerary.

Day 1

From Tweedbank travel to Hawick to discover the textile heritage of the Borders at the Textile Towerhouse. As the monks were the first to introduce sheep and weaving to the area, it would be interesting to go on to Jedburgh to explore the life of the Border abbeys, returning to the Tweedbank/Galashiels area via Dryburgh and Melrose. Overnight Galashiels/Melrose area.

Day 2

To pick up on another important cultural theme, make the short journey to Abbotsford the home of Sir Walter Scott, who played such an important role in creating an image of a romantic and heroic Scotland. After lunch at Abbotsford, travel by rail to Eskbank, and from there tour Newbattle Abbey. Overnight in the Dalkeith / Roslin area.

Day 3

Visit Rosslyn Chapel – one of Scotland’s most remarkable medieval buildings – and after lunch in their coffee shop explore the wooded glen nearby. In the afternoon discover another aspect of Midlothian heritage at the National Mining Museum Scotland. Overnight Dalkeith/Roslin areas.

Day 4

Travel in to Waverley Station to explore Scotland’s capital city: Edinburgh Castle to see the Scottish crown jewels and much more plus the chance to orientate themselves with the layout of the city; the National Museum of Scotland for a detailed Scottish historical journey; the Royal Yacht Britannia to discover aspects of the British Royal family.

History, Heritage and Culture Listings:

National Museum of Scotland

From a cultural and heritage viewpoint, this has to be the starting point of any discovery of Scotland. The story of the nation is told from prehistory to the present day in a series of galleries, with over 800 objects in the ‘Window on the World’ - while the Discoveries Gallery portrays the Scots whose ideas, innovations and leadership took them across the world.

Further information National Museum of Scotland

Distance from station: 10 minutes walk from Waverley - 0.6 miles / 1 km.

Suitable for G & FIT 

Edinburgh Castle

Perhaps Edinburgh’s most conspicuous landmark, an impressive monument on a rocky crag, occupied and fortified since the beginning of Scotland’s story. Starting with the spectacular rampart views, Edinburgh Castle offers a real historical and heritage experience. From the military prison to the Crown Jewels of Scotland, children’s quizzes, afternoon tea to the ‘Stone of Destiny’, there is plenty for your clients to do.

Distance from station: About 10 minutes’ walk (uphill!) from Waverley - 0.6 miles / 1 km.

Further Information www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

Suitable for G & FIT

Royal Yacht Britannia

The former floating residence of the British Royal family between 1954 and 1997 sailed over 1,000,000 miles around the world. This famous ship is now berthed in Leith, Edinburgh’s historic port and is one of the UK’s top visitor attractions. A self-guided audio tour available in 27 languages takes in all five decks, from the captain's bridge to the engine room and includes the Royal family’s state rooms. Private tours for groups available in early morning and evening.

Distance from station: Waverley 2.5 miles / 4 km by road.

Further Information Royal Yacht Britannia

Suitable for G & FIT 

Rosslyn Chapel

Often described as Scotland’s finest example of medieval stone-carving, this extraordinary building achieved even greater fame after its role in the best-selling novel by Dan Brown ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Built in the 15th century as a place of worship, the chapel’s dramatic history includes sacking, neglect and restoration. Visited even as a romantic ruin by figures such as Robert Burns, William Wordsworth and Queen Victoria, it was the film ‘The Da Vinci Code’ that focused huge interest. The chapel as it stands today is a triumph of modern conservation techniques. It has a fascinating visitor centre and guides provide talks throughout the day.

Distance from station: Newtongrange 6.3 miles, Eskbank 5.6 miles

Further information Rosslyn Chapel (groups of 10 or more must book in advance).

Suitable for G & FIT

National Mining Museum Scotland

This is one of the very finest surviving examples of a Victorian colliery anywhere in Europe; the mining company once dominated the lives of the workers living in the village of Newtongrange. Discover fascinating social as well as industrial history at this five star attraction. The Story of Coal, Pithead Tour and A Race Apart are just some of the themes to explore - plus massive mining machinery which includes Scotland’s largest steam winding engine. Your clients will gain an insight into the raw material that fuelled the Industrial Revolution. Add to this The Coal Shed Cafe and children’s activities and there is plenty of interest.

Distance from station: direct path - a short walk - connects Newtongrange Station and the museum.

Further information National Mining Museum Scotland

Suitable for G & FIT

Newbattle Abbey

Fascinating and historic building, originating as a medieval Cistercian monastery founded in the 12th century. Rebuilt and remodelled many times over nine centuries, the former home of the Marquesses of Lothian and was also where the famous Declaration of Arbroath, asserting Scotland’s right to independence, was originally drafted. It has beautiful interiors, fine parkland, woodland and an Italian-style Garden. Guided tours and group accommodation is also available.

Distance from station: Eskbank 1.1 miles / 1.8 km

Further information Newbattle Abbey

Suitable for G & FIT

Borders Textile Towerhouse

This visitor centre in the heart of Hawick celebrates the Borders’ textile industry. Fascinating and wide-ranging displays of artefacts, garments and photographs portray more than two centuries of the textile heritage of the area, once Scotland’s foremost area for knitwear and tweed. Discover the processes that start with a sheep fleece and lead on to the high-fashion catwalk.  Gift shop.

Distance from station: Tweedbank 17.7 miles / 28.6 km.

Further information Borders Textile Towerhouse

Suitable for G & FIT


The home that Sir Walter Scott built houses his extraordinary collection of historic Scottish artefacts that embody the spirit of one of Scotland’s greatest writers. A restaurant, gardens, paths and trails, as well as an excellent visitor centre enhance the Abbotsford experience. Abbotsford has been open to visitors since 1833 and welcomes groups of any size. Guided tours and the wide-ranging exhibition provide a fascinating picture of Scott the writer and his place in Scottish culture.

Distance from station: Tweedbank 1 mile / 1.6 km.

Further information Abbotsford

Suitable for G & FIT 

The Border Abbeys

The romantic ruins of the four great Border Abbeys still recall the far-off days when they were at the centre of Borders’ life. For a perspective of the role of the Border Abbeys, start with Jedburgh and its excellent visitor centre. Each abbey has its own ambience - the poignant fragment of Kelso, the peacefulness of the riverside setting of Dryburgh and the red-stone soaring arches of Melrose, associated with Sir Walter Scott.

Further information:

Distance from station: (for Jedburgh Abbey) - Tweedbank 15 miles / 24 km.

Suitable for G & FIT