The Scottish Borders is a place of breathtaking natural beauty. From gently rolling hills to dramatic valleys, sandy beaches and spectacular coastlines teeming with life, every corner is a feast for the eyes and food for the soul, so it’s no surprise these lands inspired the works of literary giants Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan.
With impressive stately homes, abbeys and castles, the Borders’ many towns boast fascinating yore for history buffs to get lost in, while thrill-seekers will appreciate the year-round calendar of adrenaline-pumping activities, with mountain biking, scuba diving and surfing (to name a few) — not to mention some of the most awe-inspiring walking routes this beautiful country has to offer.
There are many reasons to move to the Scottish Borders, but where is the best place to settle down? Join us as we delve into some of the Borders’ most attractive towns.
Voted ‘The Best Place to Live in Scotland’ in 2018 by The Sunday Times and the UK’s third most tranquil spot in 2021; Melrose is a picturesque little town with buckets of character. Nestled between the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills (the most distinctive landmark in the Scottish Borders), Melrose’s unique natural beauty and annual calendar bursting with activities will appeal to young and old alike.
History fanatics can lose themselves exploring Melrose’s rich connection to the ancient world, with the Roman Heritage Centre commemorating its two-thousand-year past. For green-fingered guests, the National Trust for Scotland gardens showcases a variety of flora and fauna, with the nation’s only dedicated dried flower garden, the Harmony Gardens, featuring gorgeous views of the Eildon Hills and abbey (dating back to 1136 and believed to have housed the heart of Robert the Bruce). Sports fans, on the other hand, will appreciate Melrose’s international reputation. The Rugby Sevens, first played in Melrose in 1883, continues to attract teams from all over the world vying for the ‘Ladies Cup’, giving the quiet little town a bustling atmosphere every year.
Melrose is well connected, too, with regular transport links to Edinburgh and Glasgow by bus and train or just over an hour by car on the A68. The average house price in Melrose, at the time of writing, is £278,541.
Situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders, the welcoming market town of Kelso is nestled between the rivers Tweed and Teviot, endowing it with both stunning scenery and thriving industry.
This historic town claims the title of Scotland’s largest town square, a relic of its market days — yet the lively atmosphere hasn’t changed, with 50 independent shops sitting proudly alongside high street stores. The cobbled square, or Bull Ring, is overlooked by exquisite Victorian and Georgian buildings, while the graceful five-arched bridge over the Tweed (built by John Rennie in 1803) was the model for London’s Waterloo Bridge, making this town perfect for lovers of fine architecture.
The sizeable agricultural community is reflected in the town’s busy events calendar, with the Border Union agricultural show, Kelso Races and the Scottish Championship dog show held annually. In the Summer, however, the town hosts its hugely popular festival, the Kelso Civic Week, bringing the town together in a celebration of food, music and frivolity.
While there are no reliable train links to Scotland’s bigger cities, regular buses run from Kelso to Edinburgh and Glasgow in just over an hour and 1.5 hours, respectively. At the time of writing, the average house price in Kelso sits at £250,374.
St Abbs is a remote fishing village north of Eyemouth, located on the gorgeous Berwickshire coast. With its rugged beauty and jagged theatrical cliffs, which tower over a sun-beaten harbour dotted with eye-catching, colourful boats, St Abbs is a place for lovers of sea and nature.
Scuba diving is a popular pastime in St Abbs, with its unusually clear waters compared to the silt-laden coastal towns further north and south. Year-round sea angling, sub-aqua diving, and sightseeing boat trips take place from the town centre, while visitors trek to the headlands to spot the Border’s most enigmatic wildlife: the Puffin. St Abbs Head (a rocky promontory formed 400million years ago by the volcanic eruptions which plagued the island) is the perfect place to see Puffin colonies, as well as the spectacular views of the beautiful Berwickshire coast.
Train links and regular buses connect St Abbs to Edinburgh and Glasgow in under two hours, while those with a car can commute easily within the hour. At the time of writing, the average price of a home in St Abbs is £295,000.
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