7+ road trips to the Scottish Borders and Midlothian

Pentlands Edinburgh Day Walks in Scotland

Fancy a day trip from Edinburgh or looking a great road trip in Scotland? Where better to go than the Scottish Borders and Midlothian, two of Scotland’s hidden gems, all within an hour of driving, or via public transport, from Edinburgh! Scotland starts here. Planning your visit? Here are seven of my favourite Scottish Borders itineraries for day trips and three Scottish Borders self drive tours.

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COVID 19 notice – please check local restrictions before you plan your travel to the Scottish Borders.

Scottish Borders Itineraries Map

Red – places to eat and stay, Yellow – places to visit, Blue – day trip locations

Day trips to the Scottish Borders and Midlothian

Looking for ideas for a a day trip to the Scottish Borders and Midlothian? Here are seven Scottish Borders itineraries and day trips to try.

Day Trip 1 – Eyemouth, crab butties and the coastal path at St Abbs

Scottish Borders St Abbs

With its own St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve offering up spectacular cliffside walks, links to Hollywood (hint, it’s New Asgard) seals, diving, crab butties, fishing and seabirds galore, the village of St Abbs is a perfect for a day trip. 

Start by parking at St Abbs Head (NTS paid car park) and visit the reserve before continuing south to the beautiful sands of Coldingham Bay. Return to St Abbs for lunch before heading down to Eyemouth for an exhilarating RIB trip back around the reserve. The last village in Scotland on the east coast, Burnmouth, is also well worth a stroll around the pretty harbour. 

Day Trip 2 – The gateway to the Borders – explore Kelso

Described as the gateway to the Borders, the market town of Kelso is a great location for a day trip. Start your day at the huge Floors Castle and country estate, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle and the family home of the 11th Duke of Roxburghe. There is a cafe, deli and gorgeous garden to explore. 

After lunch, visit Kelso Abbey. Founded in 1128 by monks, Kelso grew to be one of the one of the wealthiest abbeys in Scotland. After a stroll around Kelso, visit Smailholm Tower, a peel tower sitting on Lady Hill crag – a great shot for instagram! 

Day Trip 3 – The Borders Towns – Jedburgh Abbey and Hawick 

Famous for its huge abbey, Jedburgh is another great town from which to explore the Borders. Start your day by heading up into the Cheviot Hills for a trek with alpacas at Beirhope Alpacas Farm, before visiting Born in the Borders for lunch.

In the afternoon either visit Jedburgh Abbey, Mary Queen of Scott’s House and Jedburgh Castle Jail or take the kids to Jacksons at Jedburgh – a great wee farm. Nearby, Hawick offers up knitwear and cashmere at the Borders Textile Towerhouse. 

Day Trip 4 – The Eildon Hills, St Boswell and the River Tweed 

In the heart of the Borders is St Boswell, a pretty little town which makes a great base for exploring some of the most popular parts of the region.

Start your day with a stroll to Scotts’ View – said to be Sir Walter Scott’s favourite view overlooking the Eildon Hills, before taking a photograph of the Leaderfoot Viaduct.

For lunch visit the great cafe at the Main Street Trading Company before visiting their bookshop and deli – I promise you won’t leave empty handed. In the afternoon either visit the famous Dryburgh Abbey, the resting place of Water Scott or climb the Eildon Hills. 

Day Trip 5 – Abbotsford and Scott, Melrose Abbey

Melrose has a small town charm, a beautiful setting and more history than you can handle. It is home to one of the Scottish Borders four famous Abbeys and Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. Take time to wander around the town’s galleries and traditional shops (there is a great vintage shop!) and relax in the friendly Scottish Borders way of life.

Day Trip 6 – Get outside at pretty Peebles and the 7 Stanes

Scottish Borders itineraries

With three of the 7 stanes mountain bike centres along with a Go Ape, Peebles is a popular day trip from Edinburgh especially for those who love to get outdoors.

Grab your bike and head to one of the miles of bike trails – try the beginner’s Upper Green Route at Glentress with its fabulous views across Peebles and for serious mountain bikers try the Innerleithen XC route.

If you prefer things a little more sedate, then after lunch in Peebles take a stroll through the gorgeous gardens at Dawyck Botanic Garden and visit Traquair House – the oldest inhabited house in Scotland with its brewery. 

Read more – a stay at Neidpath Castle

Day trip 7 – Country parks and the Da Vinci Code in Midlothian

Just to the south of Edinburgh and bordered by West and East Lothian and the Scottish Borders to the south is Midlothian. Once containing the City of Edinburgh, Midlothian is now its own wee county – and there are lots of places to visit, all within 30 minutes of Edinburgh.

Why not hike in the magnificent Pentland Hills – the highest of the range is Scald Law, or visit the pretty Roslin Glen. Families will love the two country parks – Dalkeith Country Park and Vogrie Country Park, and history buffs will love Crichton Castle and Rosslyn Chapel. Head for lunch at the Secret Herb Garden – a specialist herb nursery with a very cool cafe. 

Scottish Borders Itineraries

Midlothian and Scottish Borders Road Trips

Fancy a road trip in the Scottish Borders? Here are Three Scottish Borders Itineraries for you to follow.

Midlothian and the Scottish Borders 3-day road trip (a weekend break)

Time needed: 3 days.

A weekend in the Scottish Borders itineraries

  • Day 1: St Abbs:

    Take a stroll around the St Abbs Nature Reserve, before heading to Eyemouth for a rib trip. Stop at Coldingham Bay and Burnmouth along the way. Have lunch at Ebb Carrs Cafe in St Abbs or Oblo Bar in Eyemouth. 
    Stay at: The Allanton Inn*, for great local food and real ale, The Ships Quarters* in Eyemouth or Chirnside Hall*

  • Day 2: The Borders:

    Get adventurous by going Alpaca Trekking with Beirhope Alpacas, visit Main Street Trading for Lunch in St Boswells for lunch and some book shopping and then discover the beautiful Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. 
    Stay at: Neidpath Castle*, Barns Castle*, the popular Peebles Hydro* or luxury Cringletie House*.

  • Day 3: Midlothian

    Start the day with mountain biking at Glentress, before heading to the Paper Mill at Lasswade for lunch and then spend the afternoon at Rosslyn Chapel before heading home. 


Scottish Borders Itineraries

Midlothian and the Scottish Borders – 5 day road trip

Time needed: 5 days
5 days in the Scottish Borders itineraries

Day 1: Berwickshire

Discover St Abbs before head to Eyemouth for a rib trip. Stop at the beach at Coldingham Bay before having lunch at Ebb Carrs Cafe in St Abbs or Oblo Bar in Eyemouth. 
Stay at: the Allanton Inn*, for great local food and real ale, The Ships Quarters* in Eyemouth or Chirnside Hall*

Day 2: Kelso

Start your day at the huge Floors Castle, After lunch visit Kelso Abbey founded in 1128. After a stroll around Kelso, visit Smailholm Tower.
Stay at: the luxury Schloss Roxburghe* or the The Templehall Hotel*

Day 3: Melrose

Get adventurous by going Alpaca Trekking with Beirhope Alpacas in the morning, visit Main Street Trading for Lunch and then discover the beautiful Abbotsford.
Stay at: Aikwood tower, the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel* or Burt’s Hotel*, Melrose

Day 4: Peebles

Start the day with mountain biking at Glentress or Traquair House before heading to Peebles for lunch. In the afternoon visit Dawyk Botanic Garden.
Stay at Neidpath Castle*, Barns Castle*, the popular Peebles Hydro* or luxury Cringletie House*.

Day 5 – Midlothian

Why not hike in the magnificent Pentland Hills – the highest of the range is Scald Law, or visit the pretty Roslin Glen. Head to the Paper Mill for lunch and then spend the afternoon at Rosslyn Chapel before heading home. 

Scottish Borders Itineraries

Midlothian and the Scottish Borders 7-day road trip (a week in the Scottish Borders)

Time needed: 7 days
7 days in the Scottish Borders itineraries

Day 1: St Abbs – Discover the St Abbs Nature Reserve, head to Eyemouth for a rib trip. Stop at the beach at Coldingham Bay before having lunch at Ebb Carrs Cafe in St Abbs or Oblo Bar in Eyemouth. 
Stay at: the Allanton Inn*, for great local food and real ale, The Ships Quarters* in Eyemouth or Chirnside Hall*

Day 2: Kelso
Start your day at the huge Floors Castle. After lunch visit Kelso Abbey founded in 1128. After a stroll around Kelso, visit Smailholm Tower.
Stay at: the luxury Schloss Roxburghe* or the The Templehall Hotel*

Day 3: Jedburgh
Get adventurous by going Alpaca Trekking with Beirhope Alpacas in the morning, before exploring Jedburgh Abbey Mary Queen of Scott’s House and Jedburgh Castle Jail in the afternoon.
Stay at: Ruberslaw wild wood camping, the Auld Cross Keys Inn*, the Horse and Hound Country Inn*

Day 4: Melrose
Visit Dryburgh Abbey, then visit Main Street Trading for lunch and shopping before visiting Smailholm Tower, Scotts View and the Leaderfoot viaduct. 
Stay at: Aikwood tower, the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel* or Burt’s Hotel*, Melrose

Day 5: Melrose – climbing up into the Eildon Hills in the morning and then discover the beautiful Abbotsford in the afternoon.

Day 6: Peebles
Start the day with mountain biking at Glentress or the much more sedate Traquair House before heading to Peebles for lunch. In the afternoon visit Dawyk Botanic Garden.
Stay at: Neidpath Castle*, Barns Castle*, the popular Peebles Hydro* or luxury Cringletie House*.

Day 7: Midlothian
In the morning, hike in the magnificent Pentland Hills, the highest of the range is Scald Law, or visit the pretty Roslin Glen. Head to the Paper Mill in Lasswade for lunch and then spend the afternoon at Rosslyn Chapel before heading home. 

Ready to plan your trip?

Love, from Scotland x

If you want to go on a day trip from Edinburgh where better to go than the Scottish Borders and Midlothian. Here are 7+ Scottish Borders Itineraries

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