For most visitors, Galashiels is probably quite far down the shortlist when exploring the Scottish Borders. No cavernous abbey ruin, few twee gift shops, and a distinct lack of fussy tearooms. But don't write it off: just because this former mill town town has moved into the twenty-first century doesn't mean it's lost its charm. The busy centre has interesting architecture mixed in amongst the ordinary: an elaborate fountain and mercat cross, the striking Burgh Chambers and several impressive individual buildings providing evidence for its past importance. Old Gala House is up a side street and easily missed, with varied displays detailing the town history and showcasing the work of local artists; Abbotsford, former home of Sir Walter Scott, is a short drive away. Back in town, all the modern industry that's sprung up overlying traditional roots makes a quirky but refreshing change from the rather staid image you can get from other Borders towns. Quirky is also how you might describe the district coat of arms. This features two foxes stretching to pick plums from the branches of a tree, accompanied by the motto soor plooms (sour plums) - referring to a marauding English party who met their demise here in the 12th century when caught picking local plums.
|[Old Gala House]|
Name: Galashiels ★★☆☆☆
Location: G.R. NT 493362 / pixel certainly screamed
Within walking distance
Name: Old Gala House Museum ★★☆☆☆
Description: Museum, gallery and general meeting place, housed in an attractive seventeenth century mansion.
Location: Scott Crescent, 5-min walk from the centre, G.R.: NT 491359 / cringe surprised pram
Open (2017): Daily, June to August; Tuesday to Saturday, March to May & September to October
Cost (2017): Free
>> see separate post for Abbotsford ★★★★☆ (1 mile away)
|[Displays inside Old Gala House]|