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Edinburgh to Peebles

First trip.  My husband and I purchased a package deal, which included airfare, a night at a "castle", a rental car, and 5 nights at B&Bs of our choosing.  We know it'll be just a snapshot, but my husband really just wants to see the highlands.

Flying into Edinburgh -- first night is at the non-changeable "castle," which is actually a manor home (but has wonderful reviews) in Peebles, which looks like an hour south of Edinburgh.  The next day, we're driving to the Inverness area for 3 days, where we'll do the Culloden battlefield and Ft. George the first day; Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and a distillery tour the 2nd; and a day trip (group tour) from Inverness to Skye for the 3rd.  

We're in Morar for the next night (Glenfinnan, Ft. William), then back to Edinburgh (through Glencoe, with stops at Stirling and Doune Castles) the night before our plane leaves.  We'll be taking notes for a planned longer trip in the future (particularly want to spend more time on Skye, and in the north).  

I've been getting advice that the Peebles place is lunacy, that we should just forfeit the night and pay to stay north of Edinburgh in preparation for the trip to Inverness.  I'm feeling reluctant (or cheap?), but wanted to get more advice.  

Thanks in advance for your help.


  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hello @lovesmurfs 6 nights in Scotland is a short time & Peebles is definitely not the "sexy" choice when it comes to Scotland travel. Most of the other places you will visit attract droves of people (deservedly so) but for us a holiday is incomplete without exploring some "hidden treasures". Hence I will try to make the case for what to do in your 24 hours in the Scottish Borders which will make living in a manor (which sounds amazing, if it has a spa, use it!) worthwhile
    • A 9 minute drive from Peebles is the Go Ape zipline course through Glentree forest. If you are of fair physical capabitlities, I highly recommend considering taking 2 hours to experience this. The final zipline crosses a river & through one of Scotland's best forests. I have done it 3 times and find it worth it. 
    • The town of Tweedbank is 30 minutes from Peebles and is home to 2 things a) one of Scotland's top breweries & beer, a must visit for a beer lover, the Tempest Brewery & b) Abbotsford House, Sir Walter Scott's erstwhile residence.
    • Finally, the town of Kelso is an hour from Peebles and is home to Scotland's largest inhabited castle called Floors castle. I havent been to the castle but the town is lovely IMO.
    The best part is that all 3 are in a straight line (eastwards) so planning a drive to cover all 3 is a piece of cake.

    On the other hand, as your main aim is to see the Highlands, take a drive westwards to the village of Wanlockhead. It is the highest village in the entirety of Scotland even though it is quite south. The pictures I have seen on Samantha Grant's blog are so atmospheric.

    Whatever you choose, I guarantee you it will be a uniquely Scottish experience that most people do not get a chance to experience. I wouldn't forego the Peebles night personally. Feel free to ask any followups & we'll be happy to help.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • lovesmurfslovesmurfs Member
    Thanks so much!  I really appreciate your assurance.  We'll look into the activities you've suggested!
  • LauramacLauramac Member ✭✭

    Hi @lovesmurfs @horizons, I'm saddened that you @lovesmurfsare giving this advice to visitors coming to Scotland, have you been to the Scottish Borders?

    Peebles is a beautiful picturesque town in the Scottish Borders with such a typical friendly Scottish vibe. There are 3 restaurants in the Michelin guide so amazing places to eat, beautiful walks along the River Tweed, and many quaint Scottish pubs and shops along the main street.

    Also the advice you have given to travel to Kelso, Tweedbank etc. is taking them further from their route?

    Its always sad when visitors are given the advice to travel straight up to the Highlands as beautiful as it is. The south of Scotland is just as dramatic, wonderful, inspiring and full of our history and heritage.

    I hope that you did take the time to visit Peebles and enjoyed your visit to Scotland and that travel bloggers also take that time to visit before criticising our lesser known 'Hidden Gems'. #ScotSpirit

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @Lauramac I have visited Peebles along with Kelso, Tweedbank, etc and hence made the case for things to see while in the Scottish borders. I do not suggest to make that drive a part of driving up north. And sure, Peebles is a nice quaint Scottish town but for someone who has only 5 nights to see Scotland, you have to take things into perspective. I personally would find it hard to justify making the Scottish Borders as one of the top 5 bases for a 1st time visitor to Scotland (unless they're really into Scottish literature).

    However, for people who live in Scotland, I would encourage visits to the Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Ayrshire, East Lothian, etc which see much lesser tourists than their northern counterparts. And for that, I'd love to see VisitScotland run a domestic tourism campaign highlighting these areas specifically to Scottish residents (they recently ran a social media campaign highlighting Dumfries & Galloway, maybe they can do the same for the Borders).
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • LauramacLauramac Member ✭✭

    Thanks @Horizons for the clarification. The Scottish Borders gets great local media cover and have you seen the 39 Steps Video 'Step in to the Borders' on VisitScotlands Youtube Channel? I think with the wonderful Borders Railway (Did you also the Steam train Live Facebook Videos last weekend?) there will definitely be a regional campaign. Lets wait and see!

  • ArtravelistArtravelist Member ✭✭✭
    If anyone is looking to find out what's going on in Peebles, there's an arts festival coming up.

    The Creative Peebles Festival 25 August - 3 September offers many different arts events and includes walks and tours. See the official website for details about the festival and Peebles itself.
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