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Alnwick Castle & The Borders


    Tour Operator: Highland Experience Tours     10 hours     Travel method: Mini Bus / Car     Region: Edinburgh

The borders experience

Duration

10 Hours approximately

About

This tour takes you to the Borders to visit beautiful Melrose Abbey and historic Alnwick Castle. You return via the spectacular east coast.

Tour Itinerary

Discover the rolling hills of the Borders...

Your day begins by heading south out of Edinburgh towards the border between Scotland and England. Established in 1237 by the Treaty of York, the border runs for a lengthy 154km(nearly 96 miles!) from Lamberton in the East all the way to Gretna in the West. Leaving Edinburgh behind, we'll drive through the beautiful landscape of the Scottish Borders, the southern part of the country with its picturesque towns and villages. This is also the region where Sir Walter Scott lived. He was not only a famous writer and poet, but also a great believer in the Union between Scotland and England. In 1822 he invited King George 4th to Edinburgh, which was a great success with King George being the first monarch to visit in nearly 150 years! Sir Walter Scott rests in Dryburgh Abbey, a stone's throw away from Melrose, our first stop of the day.

Stop off at Melrose Abbey...

Whilst in Melrose, the picturesque home of the Rugby Sevens, you'll have the chance to visit and explore Melrose Abbey - widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe. Believed to be one of the most famous ruins in Scotland, the abbey was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks at the request of King David I of Scotland and built in the Gothic manner, in the form of a St. John's Cross. This outside of this grand ruin is decorated in some very unusual sculptures such as hobgoblins and a bagpipe playing pig. Besides from being the final resting place to a number of Scottish kings and nobles, Robert the Bruce’ s heart is thought to be buried in the Abbey as well. The burial of the heart amongst royalty and aristocracy was relatively common at the time of his death. The lead container that is believed to contain the heart was found in 1921 below the Chapter House site and was reburied in 1998 with a plinth covering the burial site.

Discover the Magic of Alnwick Castle...

Leaving this fantastic piece of Scottish history behind, we'll continue over the border into England and to our next stop of the day, and star attraction of this tour, Alnwick Castle *. Here you will have ample time to explore the castle and the stunning gardens that surround it. As the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, this is the second largest inhabited castle in England and has been lived in for over 700 years. The castle is full of fascinating things to see and has a multitude of mysteries to uncover. Wander around the medieval walls and be amazed by the large lavish staterooms, which amongst other things house a collection of 14,000 catalogued books in the Library. While you walk around the castle you may recognise it as a location from some of the Harry Potter films and from Downton Abbey. You can even take part in a broomstick training session on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson – no matter what age you are! For those who want to stay on the ground, there are various museums and exhibitions to discover inside the castle, ranging from a Downtown Abbey exhibition featuring photography, costumes and props from the show, to the Castle Museum which tells the tale of Alnwick Castle’s most famous son Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy.

Explore the Spellbinding Medieval Market of Alnwick...

If you've finished your flying lesson for the day and still have some time to spare, perhaps you should spend it exploring Alnwicks' bustling medieval market town. With an eclectic array of shops, pubs and cafes, these cobbled streets have something for everyone. If books are more your thing, take a visit to the UK's largest second-hand bookshop, Barter Books. This spellbinding cove of books, situated in Alnwick's old railway station, will truly take your breath away. Close by to this treasure chest, is the Bailiffgate Museum, a hub of Northumberland history from people to places. Take in this magical town before our journey home begins.

An Amazing Coastal Journey Home...

The road home takes us up along the stunningly breathtaking East Coast of Northumberland, back to Scotland. For our last location of the day, we’ll stop off at North Berwick, with its picturesque red sandstone harbour, views to the islands and of course the world-famous Bass Rock, the 107-metre tall volcanic rock, home to a colony of Gannets. Here, take a quick visit to the world-renowned Scottish Seabird Centre to learn about the biggest Northern Gannet colony in the World, or why not even visit the Firth of Forth Lobster Hatchery to learn about the thousands of juvenile lobsters released into the Firth of Forth every year in order to help strengthen the local marine eco system! This seaside town and former royal burgh has a whole host of great things to see and do. Enjoy the sea air, a deep-fried mars bar or a stroll along the beach before we leave this last stop of the tour, and return to Edinburgh.

What to bring

It is always advisable to be prepared for any weather in Scotland so a jacket is always a good idea! A bottle of water for hydration and a camera to capture the spectacular views and you are set to go!
It is not necessary for you to bring your own meals, as we will stop throughout the day in small towns or villages where you can purchase food, however you are more than welcome to bring along snacks or a packed lunch.



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Important information

What to bring

It is always advisable to be prepared for any weather in Scotland so a jacket is always a good idea! A bottle of water for hydration and a camera to capture the spectacular views and you are set to go!


It is not necessary for you to bring your own meals, as we will stop throughout the day in small towns or villages where you can purchase food, however you are more than welcome to bring along snacks or a packed lunch.

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