The Scottish Borders has many large country houses which are easily reached from the Ettrick & Yarrow Valleys. Consider visiting Mellerstain (with its Robert Adam architecture and interior design), Paxton House (Georgian), Manderston (famous for its silver staircase), Abbotsford (ancestral home of Sir Walter Scott) or Traquair (one of the most important houses in Scottish history). Mary Queen of Scots House in Jedburgh tells the story of Mary Stuart's life and Monteviot House and Gardens are well also worth a visit.
The area also has many castles and towers. Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland or you can enjoy the splendour of Thirlestane Castle which dates from the 13th century. Neidpath Castle commands a magnificent position above the River Tweed or explore the more modest Smailholm Tower, the setting for some of Walter Scott's works. Jedburgh Castle with its Old Jail and Hermitage Castle are both full of history and intrigue.
If you are interested in gardens, the area has many choices. In addition to the gardens of the stately homes you can visit Mertoun Gardens, Harmony Garden, Priorwood Garden, Kailzie Gardens and Dawyck Botanic Gardens.
Golf is the national game of Scotland and it is not suprising that the Scottish Borders has a great variety of courses. The challenging 9-hole course at Selkirk is the nearest, but you can take advantage of 21 golf courses throughout the region.
Or how about a visit to Edinburgh, the inspiring capital of Scotland where centuries of history meet a cosmopolitan city in an unforgettable setting. Famed for its castle (pictured left), Holyrood Palace, the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Scottish Parliament as well as excellent shopping along Princes Street and the famous Edinburgh Festival. You can also take an open bus tour of the city or visit the Edinburgh Dungeon or go to Edinburgh Zoo to see the giant pandas.
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