Showing posts from September, 2018

Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum

Scottish Borders | Jedburgh | Historic building / museum | ★★★

Among its manifold attractions, Jedburgh boasts a castle, former jail and museum... all under one roof. Built in 1823 on the site of a much older defensive stronghold, this castle prison became known as the most luxurious in Scotland - though reading the stories of individual prisoners in the various cell blocks, it's hard to imagine how this could be true. It closed again fewer than 50 years after the first inmates arrived, but was restored to its 19th century appearance a century later, reopening for guests to visit at their own pleasure rather than Her Majesty's. One wing now serves as a museum about the town, though the information boards are a bit text-heavy. Hey, at least you can leave whenever you want...

Location & info

📌 Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum★★★
Castlegate, 10-min walk south of Jedburgh town centre, G.R.: NT 648202 ///worked.bags.songbird
Open daily, late March to October (2019) | Free

Mary Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre

Scottish Borders | Jedburgh | Museum | ★★

The name of this attraction in the centre of Jedburgh rather undersells the place: the Mary Queen of Scot's Visitor Centre is really a tower house, museum and garden all in one. If you spend any length of time travelling around Scotland's old castles, palaces and houses, you'll surely see Mary's name crop up time and time again: the young queen stayed in scores - perhaps hundreds - of the country's residences during her tumultuous reign. She stayed in Jedburgh (probably in this very tower, though it's not certain) in October 1566, and the building is now one of the best sources of information about her life, laid out clearly and chronologically on the middle floor of the house. Around the rest of the tower are an assortment of artefacts, paintings and models relating to Mary, all surrounded by colourful lawns and flowerbeds. Allow about an hour to see it all in detail.

Location & info

📌 Mary Queen of Scots' Visi…


Scottish Borders | Town | ★★

Drive into southeast Scotland over the Carter Bar pass from England, and the first town you'll reach is Jedburgh. This peaceful Borders town hasn't always been so: periods as a thriving market settlement were interspersed by countless raids from the south. The magnificent 12th century arches of Jedburgh Abbey dominate the town on this side - if you're rushed for time, go here first - but there are a couple of other historic sites dotted around. The Mary Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre is an old tower house and an excellent information source about the life of the queen, while Jedburgh Jail houses museum displays as well as restored cell blocks from two centuries ago.


📌 Jedburgh ★★
Scottish Borders, G.R.: NT 650206 ///

🚶 The abbey and museums are easily walkable from the small town centre.
🚌 There are a couple of bus routes, including from Lauder, Galashiels and Melrose.
🚗 Some car parks have a charge, with pl…

Jedburgh Abbey

Scottish Borders | Jedburgh | Abbey | ★★★★

This gorgeous Augustinian abbey is probably the finest of its kind in the Scottish Borders - and indeed perhaps anywhere in Scotland. Founded as a a priory in 1138 by David I, the building gained abbey status in 1154 and has survived frequent border conflicts and the Reformation surprisingly intact - well, in comparison to many other Scottish abbeys anyway. Dozens of graceful arches balanced in rows on top of each other draw the eye when you approach Jedburgh from the south; they make a great welcome to Scotland advert if you drive across the border from England by the Carter Bar road pass. An excellent audio guide and interesting exhibition enhance the visitor experience; as well as the abbey itself, there are extensive foundations of outbuildings including kitchen, refectory, cellars and cloister, many surviving to about waist height. Back inside the church, don't miss the view from the balcony at the west end, though you have to brave …

The Capon Tree

Scottish Borders | Jedburgh | Nature site | ★

What do The Capon Tree, The Birnam Oak and the Fortinghall Yew all have in common? They're all ancient survivors from a different era. The Capon Tree is almost all which remains of the old Jedforest: a vast region of woodland cut down for fuel and grazing land several centuries ago. Estimates over this oak tree's longevity range from 500 to over 2,000 years old, with a colossal girth of 17 feet. The trunk has split down the middle and wooden props support several tottering limbs, but otherwise the elderly specimen still seems to be thriving - and long may it last. Have a look if you're visiting nearby Jedburgh.

Location & info

📌 The Capon Tree ★
By A68 1 mi south of Jedburgh, G.R.: NT 651189 ///enjoys.painters.rice
Always open | Free

Anything else? Limited space for parking 100 m away at track entrance, G.R.: NT 651189 ///soak.paces.shops (don't block access) then follow the pavement south across the bridge - the tree is …

Fatlips Castle

Scottish Borders | Denholm | Castle | ★★

Fantastically-christened Fatlips Castle sits atop Minto Craigs a few miles from the peaceful Borders village of Denholm, Teviotdale, and about a mile from the nearest road. Built in the 1500s by the Turnbull family of Border reivers (raiders), the tower was beautifully restored from a poor state in 2013. The setting and the name were already reason enough for a visit, but you can now pick up the key for the front door (information below) and safely explore inside too. All 4 storeys (albeit floorless ones) and 56 feet are viewable by a spiral staircase which extends all the way up to the parapet walk, with fantastic views along Teviotdale, north to the Eildon Hills and southeast to the English border. And the name? Theories range from a goat called Fatlips which bleated loudly at the sight of approaching English forces, to the castle occupants' fondness for kissing visiting guests, and several other stories in between.

Location & info


North Inch (Perth)

Perth & Kinross | Perth | Park | ★★

Covering an area of 54 hectares, North Inch is Perth's most expansive green space. Nowadays it's a peaceful park of playing fields, riverside paths and a golf course, but rewind to 1396 and a major inter-clan battle was fought here. On the west side of the inch (which translates as meadow) is Balhousie Castle, home to the excellent Black Watch Museum, while the east part borders the River Tay - which occasionally encroaches onto the park itself during flood events. (P.S. there's also a South Inch, which is smaller and less interesting.)

Location & info

📌 North Inch (Perth)★★
North side of Charlotte Street, 5-min walk north of Perth city centre, G.R.: NO 118243 ///
Always open | Free

Black Watch Museum & Castle

Perth & Kinross | Perth | Museum | ★★★

A short stroll across the North Inch from Perth, Dalhousie Castle is the museum for the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland: surely the country's most famous regiment with a long, varied and emotive history. Originally drawn from several clans to patrol the Scottish Highlands in the early 1700s following Jacobite rebellions, the Black Watch has since fought in hundreds of locations across the globe, with a base at Fort George near Inverness. The museum underwent major redevelopment in 2013 and excels in making the rather heavy subject of war engaging, informative and personal; over a dozen rooms chart the highs and lows of the battalion including Jacobite conflicts and both World Wars, along with a sombre Remembrance Room and its current operations. Allow plenty of time to see it all: many visitors probably spend a couple of hours here.

Location & info

📌 Black Watch Museum and Castle★★★
Hay Street, 15-min walk north …