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Review: Melrose

City/Town/Region/Island

Melrose, Scottish Borders, Scotland, United Kingdom

A charming, historical, market town in beautiful surroundings

  • By SilverTraveller PamWNorth

    154 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • May 2014
  • Husband

66 people found this review helpful

Melrose is a small market town in the heart of The Scottish Borders, it is a lovely place to visit or stay for a few days. It has a range of attractions and is situated close to other historical towns such as Kelso and Selkirk. Further afield, Edinburgh is 35-40 miles to the North whilst the same distance to the East is a spectacular coastline.



The town nestles below the Eildon Hills, which were considered a sacred place by the ancient Celts. The three peaked hills offer good walking opportunities for serious walkers, and for those that are interested in mystery and legends, these hills are shrouded in both!.



The bustling Market Square is indicative of how this little town is thriving. There are many shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Thie square is partially cobbled and it is here the Mercat Cross (which once stood at the entrance to Melrose Abbey) stands. The Mercat Cross is an ancient symbol of trading rites of Scottish Market towns and villages.



The Market Square also holds the Trimontium museum which tells the story of the Roman Occupation of the area. Nearby in what is now the pretty village of Newstead stood a Roman Fort called the Trimontium (Three Hills) Fort. The museum is housed in the Three Hill Roman Heritage Centre in The Ormiston. The museum is relatively small but quite fascinating and full of information. I found the guide very interesting. The museum is accessible to those with mobility problems.



On some days guided walks (around a 4 mile round trip) are available from the Museum to the village of Newstead where the Roman fort was built.



From the Market Square, walk on to Abbey Street and you will come across the Priorwood Dried Flower Garden. This unusual garden is owned by the National Trust. It also has a workshop where I saw flowers in the drying process. There is also a gift shop.



When I visited Melrose in 2014, I found the Tourist Information Centre, within the Priorwood Workshop/Gift Shop Area. The Tourist Information Centre is normally alongside Melrose Abbey but its offices in that area were undergoing rebuilding work



Continue walking along Abbey Street and you will soon arrive at Scotland's most famous ruins – Melrose Abbey. The Abbey was founded by David I in 1136, but the English army largely destroyed it in 1385. Today's ruins are mostly 15th century. The Abbey is lavishly adorned with unusual sculptures such as goblins, cooks, ladies, and a bagpipe playing pig!. There is a gift shop, picnic area, plenty of respite seating and separate wheelchair access



Leaving the Abbey continue walking down Abbey Street on to Annay Road, cross the road and you will come to The Harmony Garden, owned by the National Trust. This beautiful, sheltered garden provides a peaceful place to sit and admire Abbey and hillside views.



Just footsteps away from the Harmony Garden is the Abbey Mill, it was once the Corn Mill for the town. Now it sells woollens and Tartans. On the first floor is a tea shop where I enjoyed a much needed cup of tea. The Abbey Mill Tea Shop is known for its excellent service (and I found that to be true) and it's good food.



Continue walking down Annay Road and you will come to the Riverside, a walk along the River Tweed is about 1km and will take you past the former Toll House and Chain Bridge which links Melrose to the village of Gattonside.



Just outside Melrose approximately four miles west, is Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott – Scotland's most prolific and successful Writers. There is a magnificent stately home to see as well as beautiful formal gardens, a fascinating visitor centre and a restaurant to visit!.



There are plenty of places to stay within Melrose town. A hotel recommended to me was Burts Hotel, Market Square., Burts Hotel is a refurbished 18th century Inn.



The main car parking area in Melrose is the large Abbey Car Park opposite the Abbey. This Car Park has disabled car parking spaces. There are also some car parking spaces, including disabled car parking bays available in Market Square.



A nice day out, and I can't wait to return!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 1 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    over 6 years ago
    I have enjoyed reading your review and it has brought back happy memories of past holidays to melrose. The Abbey is lovely. I also remember walking the Eildons on a crisp autumn morning. The views from the top are superb.