6 free trips you need to take in Southern Scotland
I recently wrote and article for Travel Definition about 4 cool free trips you can take in Southern Scotland. I’d like to expand on that because I have since found out about a few more cool places you can see for free in Southern Scotland.
For many of these places somewhere in the Scottish Borders is a good base. I’d suggest Walkerburn or Innerleithen because they are both beautifully picturesque and offer a great range of accommodation, and many more fun things to do which aren’t free. They offer a good range of yummy foods too – check out some of our ‘Travis Eats’ series on YouTube to find out what we think of the food around here.
1. Climb the waterfall at Grey Mares Tale
There is a big car park which is flat to the right of the waterfall. You can park up and go hiking or even park a campervan nearby and sleep there for the night. Nearby are also some information posts letting you know about the area and offering another flat area if you wanted to bring a picnic.
2. Relax at St. Marys Loch
St. Marys Loch won’t be the loch you have heard about in Scotland. Of course everyone is mesmerized by Loch Ness and the great tale of The Loch Ness Monster. St. Marys Loch is much smaller and lesser known. To you that means more peace, less noise and more personal time with such a beautiful place.
There is a pebble ‘beach’ leading into the shallow waters of the loch. The kids can run around having fun without it being dangerous (of course you should always be there and watching them.) There is a wee cafe nearby where you can grab a lovely snack, and there are plenty of little hotels which offer food within an hours drive. You can actually fit St. Marys Loch and The Grey Mares Tale into one day trip from Innerleithen or Walkerburn as they are on the same route and only a short drive apart.
3. Get lost in the maze at Traquair House
If you haven’t heard about Traquair House it is time for a quick Google search! This house has so much history, and was once occupied by royalty. It is now the home of Catherine Maxwell-Stewart. There are big bear gates which are locked shut on one of the entrances that they say will never open until another Stewart is on the throne.
You can view the grounds of the house for free, but it costs to go inside. You can also walk in the woodland pathways, check out the store and relax in the walled garden totally free. My favourite free thing to do at Traquair house is to get lose in the maze. It is enormous!
You can even add Traquair into your day trip to The Grey Mares Tale and St. Marys Loch from Innerleithen, as you pass Traquair on the way to either of those places!
4. Walk the grounds of the first Tibetan Monastery in the West
Down at Eskdalemuir you can find the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastry. You can walk the wonderful grounds for free and enjoy time in the peace garden. There is a lot of beautiful things to see here.
You can even splash a little cash to enjoy something to eat or buy something in the shop.
5. Visit the Market Square in Galashiels
The Market Square in Galashiels is a little-known treasure of Southern Scotland. It featured in the song ‘Kayleigh’ by Marillion back in the 80’s but many people do not realize it was a real place. Of course it has been modernized now but its still a really cool place to check out!
They now have the lyrics of the song engraved into the stone. There are also benches all around where you can sit and enjoy the view, or a nice cup of tea.
7. Take in the view at The Kelpies
The Kelpies are in Falkirk in Southern Scotland, which is an easy day trip from the Scottish Borders. The Kelpies, if you didn’t know, are giant horse-head statues that tower over you.
Have you enjoyed any other free trips in Southern Scotland you’d like to share with us?