If you are looking for a memorable outdoor adventure exploring some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes, splendor, mystique, and rugged coastlines, this is a road trip custom-made for you.
As an outdoor enthusiast, you will experience open-air adventures, but with ample opportunities to visit ancient landmarks, historical castles, and chapels.
This 5-day itinerary leaves Edinburgh on Day 1 going south to the Scottish Borders, within the Tweed Valley area, travelling from Jedburgh to Peebles, towns of The Borders, and back to Edinburgh.
Your campervan is the perfect way to explore this part of Scotland, with the freedom of your home and transportation in one.
Pack up supplies, sports gear, load your cell phone up with a Scotland campsite app, and let’s hit the road.
5 Day Campervan or Motohome Itinerary
Day 1: Jedburgh, The Scottish Borders
On this first day, set out for Jedburgh from Edinburg via A68, about 77km. You should already have your campsite booked.
There are many sites around the town, such as the highly rated Lilliardsedge Holiday Park and Golf Course, set within beautiful park-like surroundings with a restaurant and golf course.
Jedburgh, a Royal Burgh, is steeped in substantial history about Mary, Queen of Scotts, the Jedburgh Castle Jail, Abbey and Museum. Close by is the famous film location of Alnwick Castle and Hadrian Wall.
Mary, Queen of Scots’ house, is in the town centre, and now a museum that tells the story of her tragic life. In 1566, she visited what is now called the Tower House that displays art, treasures, the Rogues Gallery, and the Last Letter Room.
It was in the Last Letter Room that Queen Mary wrote down her thoughts before her execution. The house sits in a garden, amongst famous pear trees and is only a short walk from the Abbey.
The house is believed to be haunted because of unexplained noises. For instance, the swish and rustle of a skirt and the smell of flowers in Queen Mary’s room.
Walk from here to the Abbey. One of the greatest Abbeys in the area, it is a contrast in Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. It sits amongst a cloistered garden and is home to early Christian artefacts predating the Abbey.
You’ll see it’s quite large in comparison to the other three famous Abbeys in the Borders’ towns we will visit, giving you an idea of the scale of monastic houses, along with the sense of wealth and importance revealed by the artefacts housed here.
The Jedburgh Castle Jail looks like a grand castle from the outside. Not so inside, where you can tour the cell blocks and witness stories of the inmates. It is believed to be haunted by the nasty Edwin McArthur who stalks the grounds in revenge of his execution in 1855.
With such a violent and bloody history, many Scottish castles and places are believed to be haunted, so here’s a chance for you to test your skills by participating in one of the Ghostwatch nights. Armed with ghost hunting equipment, Ghostwatch is your first-hand experience tracking ghosts in one of the UK’s most haunted sites.
So, which is the Castle and which is the Jail? Here’s the confusion explained. The Jedburgh Castle had suffered violence with multiple fires, seizure by the English, French occupation, expelling the English, fought over during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and demolished by the Scotts.
The Castle Jail you are looking at was built on that original site.
Probably enough for one day, if you don’t want to go back to your campervan just yet, choose between British and Scottish food at any of the fine restaurants or pubs in the downtown centre.
Day 2: Hadrian Wall & Alnwick
Get as early a start as possible and get to your next campervan site. Today we’re leaving Jedburgh going to Hadrian’s Wall and Alnwick Castle, about 78km.
There are some pleasant campervan sights in Alnwick, but the prizes are at the Hadrian’s Wall.
The five-star stylish Herdings Hill Farm site provides award-winning camping and excellent facilities, just 2km from the wall. Rolling hills, rainbows, sunrises, sunsets, and dark skies at night. Take away food and drink, and delivered home-made pizza.
Also consider the “Cool Camping Britain” winner, Hadrian’s Wall Caravan Campsite, just 2km from the wall. Excellent facilities, terraced fields, pizza and evening meals arranged, a handy cookhouse, and full English Breakfast can be ordered the night before.
Now, to the Wall. You have the choice of walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path, walking along the Wall on your own, driving to the car park and checking out specific routes with return bus service, or joining an organised group walk. Various walking routes range from 5km to 290km.
Another option is the Hadrian’s Cycleway to cycle the entire route or select certain sections. The majority of the route has gravel and tarmac paths along with quiet minor roads.
Built as a defensive fortification in AD 122, you can see that significant portions of the wall still stand. As the largest Roman archaeological feature in the world, Hadrian’s Wall stretches for 117.5km (73 miles).
Many believe that the wall is the dividing line between England and Scotland. Technically it represents the Roman Empire’s most northern border separating today’s England from today’s Scotland.
When the Wall was built there was no England or Scotland, it was Britannia. The Romans built the Wall to mark the frontier and keep enemies out.
Hadrian’s Wall sits, entirely, within England.
Day 3: Alnwick Castle
In the same vicinity as Hadrian’s Wall, Alnwick Castle is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, and the second largest inhabited castle in England.
The castle has two superior museums, a Constable Tower with three levels to explore, drama-inspired State Rooms and more such as is expected in a lavish historical castle.
Don’t pass up the phenomenal collections of the Duke of Northumberland regarded as some of the most important collections of fine and decorative art in the United Kingdom outside the Royal Collection.
There’s more to come. Alnwick overflows with mysteries, fascinating objects, wonders, and takes its rightful place in the 21st century.
As a filming location, parts of Downtown Abbey have been filmed here, it’s been featured in Transformers: The Last Knight, as well as Elizabeth and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Plus, do you recognise any parts of the Alnwick Castle from Harry Potter? The castle was featured as Hogwarts in two films, and its magic continues today.
Resident wizard professors give broomstick training on the exact spot of Harry’s first flying lesson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You can also try the skills used by medieval armies with an archery lesson.
On-hand medieval crafts are available taught by resident experts, as well as costumes to fulfil your dreams of becoming a brave princess or noble knight complete with cape and crown.
Play traditional games in the square, and take your place on the throne of Hotspur Hall! Or, if you dare, enter the Dragon’s Lair to conquer strange mysteries and face-off with a fierce dragon.
Day 4: Peebles and Scottish Borders Towns
Leave the Hadrian Wall area and drive to our next stop, Peebles, 79 km via B6318, A68.
You’ll want to headquarter at the Glentress Forest Lodge, adjacent to world famous 7stanes bike trails. If you prefer, there are other campsites in Peebles as well as in the nearby Borders’ towns
Driving from the Hadrian Wall to Peebles, you may pass through many of the towns of The Borders, some of which are included in our upcoming activities.
You might want to stop along the way to pop into a shop, grab some supplies, or a bite to eat. Afterward, continue on to Peebles to set up your campervan as soon as possible.
Of outstanding beauty, Peebles straddles the world-famous salmon River Tweed, with easy access to the other Borders’ towns of Innerleithen, Galashiels, Melrose, Selkirk, and Kelso.
In addition to sport, you will find art, culture, and fine dining. Peebles is the Top Independent Retailing Town in Scotland, and second in Britain because of its high number of independent shops, stores, restaurants, and other commercial sellers.
Peebles is home to the John Buchan Museum, Eastgate Theatre, Tweeddale Museum and Gallery, and the St Ronan’s Wells, still active today.
The Dawyck Botanic Garden is one of the world’s best arboreta. Find yourself captivated by beautiful exotic and native plants, and the colourful flowers that overflow onto the pathways.
Traquair House is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, dating back to 1107. Originally a royal hunting lodge, the Stuart family has lived here since 1491. Look for the priest’s disguise, secret staircase, and visit the chapel.
As part of this ancient home, the Traquair Brewery is in the wing of the house lying directly under the chapel. Dating back to the 1700s, it was originally a brewery for the house and estate only.
It fell into disuse, covered with centuries of family ‘junk’, rediscovered in 1960 by Peter Maxwell Stuart who started the brewery up again using original equipment and oak tuns.
Other attractions include Roberts Smail’s Printing Works, a fully functioning Victorian era letterpress, Haughhead Stables, and the Velvet Hall Alpacas.
Lying within the cycle routes, Galashiels is the largest settlement in the area. As a post-industrial and commercial-service town, Iron-Age forts and earthworks can be found at Torwoodlee. The Old Gala House Museum charts the textile history of Galashiels.
A small town along the way where Sir Walter Scott served as sheriff for over 30 years. This is the home to the 80 band of men who went to war to fight for their king. Only one man returned with a blood-stained English Flag.
In spite of it all, the area produces the Selkirk Bannock, a delicious fruit cake to be sampled.
Bowhill House & Country Estate is a protected Category A listed building, full of history, paintings, furniture, and ceramics. The Estate includes beautifully well-maintained gardens with wildlife and walking paths.
Selkirk is one of Scotland’s oldest Royal Burghs and is home to the Halliwell House Museum, its cobbled Close, with a deep-trenched history of William Wallace, and the Battle of Flodden.
A charming town of narrow streets and a wide square is home to Melrose Abbey. The Abbey remnants are just beyond the carpark, however, if you continue along that same road, you’ll find a pleasant spot at the river with an old footbridge just calling out for a picnic.
The Abbey, one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe, is magnificent with curious sculptures of a bagpipe-playing pig, hobgoblins, and cooks with ladles, all positioned around the ruins. Thought to be the burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart, the remains of the church are from the early 15th century.
Other attractions include Abbotsford House, Sir Walter Scott’s home. Displayed here are his own blunderbuss and armory, renowned study and library, all situated in a formal Regency garden and beyond to the River Tweed.
Sir Walter Scott is ‘The Great Scott’ who saved the Scottish banknote, rediscovered his country’s Crown Jewels, and popularised tartan.
The Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary is located at The Holmes, an 80-acre estate where fortunate re-homed animals gather in pastures and field shelters.
Close by is the Smailholm Tower with 2.5m thick walls. This 20m high tower house dominates Lady Hill. Known as the residential accommodation for its Pringle Laird, the stunning views from the battlements reach all the way to Bamburgh Castle 53km away in Northumberland.
Here at the juncture of the River Tweed and Teviot, you will find a wealth of shopping in the historic town centre, the largest square in Scotland complete with a Bull Ring.
With many places to shop and dine, you can pick up any supplies you need or forgot. There’s a hardware store, butcher, deli, farmers market, and other independent specialty shops.
Home to the historically important Floors Castle, this is a do-not-miss. With its river walks and gardens, it is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in Scotland, and home to the 10th Duke of Roxburghe.
Floors Castle is replete with newly restored tapestries, fine art and porcelain, grand rooms, and prized views. The Walled Garden is a combination of a fine Victorian kitchen garden and the formal Millennium Garden with woodland and riverside walks.
You will find a delicatessen in the Courtyard Café and can have lunch or afternoon tea in the Terrace Café.
Known as the hidden village, these gothic ruins are surrounded by old, gnarled yew trees. Sir Walter Scott is entombed here next to Earl Haig who led the British forces in the First World War.
Just 8km from Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh is surrounded on three sides by the River Tweed making it a great location for hiking, cycling, and fishing.
The Scottish Borders is big cycling and mountain biking territory. Starting in Peebles are the downhill tracks in Glentress, the best in Britain, with green, blue, red and black graded trails, followed-up by Innerleithen’s extreme orange graded trails and red graded difficult trails.
You can cycle or motor bike from one of The Borders’ towns to another and make your own route or loop, or check out various routes including the Tweed at Glentress, Cardrona, Elibank and Traquair, with 97km of marked cycle routes.
Pick up the Borderloop Peebles, an 84km section of the 402km Borderloop, the 88km 4 Abbeys route, or the Red Bull-sponsored downhill biking trail.
Rated ‘gruelling’ is the Megget & Talla route with a steep 85km climb to the Megget Reservoir, and the 153km Tweed Cycle Way running through the heart of The Borders and linked with the River Tweed.
With something for everyone, the big-time cycling routes keep company with easier routes of 11km to 32km, with opportunities for picnic and town breaks.
You’ll find a wide range of walks available with amazing views and picnic sites. Among the castles, gardens, along the River Tweed, and beyond lie walks of all lengths and levels.
One easy walk includes the River Tweed Route. Other paths of note include The Tweed Valley Railway Path, a most interesting walk that is formed from the old railway line. It runs alongside the Tweed and is only 5km long.
Check out the John Buchan Way, stretching 21km from Peebles to Broughton.
In addition to cycling routes, forest walking paths can also be had at Glentress, Cardrona and Cademuir Forests.
The Neidpath Castle path runs through Hay Lodge Park, and reveals outstanding views of the Castle.
The River Tweed, “The Queen of the Scottish Salmon Rivers,” runs right through the heart of the Scottish Borders. If you know about fly fishing, equipment and regulations for salmon fishing, get going. If not, you can hire an area guide for the day for the best equipment, instruction, and beat.
Before emptying into the North Sea, the rivers flow through woodlands and rich farmland. While world-famous for salmon fishing, there are runs of sea trout, brown trout, and grayling.
Golf, bagpipes, tartan, and malt whisky. What’s more synonymous with Scotland all over the world?
Peebles boasts some of the most superb championship courses around. For instance, Peebles Golf Club is a championship course; Innerleithen Golf Club is a nine-hole course, and Cardrona Hotel Golf & Country Club was designed by the renowned Dave Thomas (The Belfry).
The spectacular forests of the Scottish Borders offer great opportunities for trail riding and pony trekking for both beginners and experienced riders.
Day 5: Edinburgh via Rosslyn Castle (Roslin)
About 38km away, head back to Edinburgh, via Rosslyn Castle. The castle is on the way, only about 8 km outside of Edinburgh, via A703, A702.
With only a half-hour or so drive, it’s worth stopping at Rosslyn Castle for an hour or two.
The famous Rosslyn Castle and Chapel hold mysteries of the Holy Grail, William the celebrity Cat, and is part of the setting for The da Vinci Code.
The castle is two stories high on one side, and five stories high on the other due to a 60-foot drop to accommodate the bakehouse, former kitchen, and dungeon.
Built in 1446, the ancient chapel structure is honey stone, with delicate pillars and arched windows, contrasted with the inside where every surface is overlaid with intricate carvings of angels, stars, doves, flowers, and a host of over 100 Green Men.
Visit the Apprentice Pillar with such magnificent carvings, the master stonemason of the castle murdered the apprentice in a jealous rage.
Having killed the apprentice with a mallet, he suffers the indignity of having his face carved into the opposite pillar to stare at the Apprentice Pillar for perpetuity.
Included in parts of author Dan Brown’s The da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou came to Rosslyn Castle to film part of the movie version in the chapel’s real crypt.
Totally unimpressed with the whole brouhaha is William the Cat. He moved into the chapel as a kitten and is now a permanent resident.
A local celeb in his own right his favourite spot is snoozing on one of the pews and remaining available for attention from all admirers.
Other legends include the Knights of Templar, Freemasonry, the ‘Rose Line,’ and the Holy Grail.
After touring Rosslyn Castle and Abbey, you may want to spend a bit more time here. If so, there is the beautiful Roslin Glen with the River North Esk, golf, hillwalking, the Hillend artificial ski-slope, and horse riding.
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