Peebles, Scotland, United Kingdom
A great base for touring but you may want to stay longer!
143 people found this review helpful
For the visitor, Peebles is a good place to stay when touring the Scottish Borders. I say it is good , because not only does this well preserved ancient town offer plenty for the visitor to do, but its location offers the best of both worlds – Peebles, in its rural surroundings has a laid back attitude to life, yet the faster pace of city life is not far away, as Peebles lies just 23 miles south of Scotland's bustling Capital – Edinburgh. Add in the fact, the area immediately surrounding Peebles has castles, stately homes, beautiful gardens, forests, miles of open countryside and what you get is a rather good base for touring. However, I am sure, many people, will, as we did, want to spend extra time in this interesting little town, before exploring the surrounding region
Peebles stands amongst hills and forests in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The town straddles the River Tweed, a river famous for its salmon. Peebles was made a Royal Burgh in 1152 by King David l of Scotland, but the town pre-dates King David l.
We stayed at the four star Macdonald Cardrona Golf and Spa Hotel, located just a couple of miles from the town centre. We enjoyed good quality, comfortable accommodation, picturesque views, great service and lovely food. The area surrounding Peebles is generally well served with a range of accommodation. For those wanting to stay in the centre of town there are a number of guest houses as well as hotels, such as the four star Tontine Hotel in the town centre.
The road into Peebles took us over the River Tweed via the ancient Stone Bridge which was first built in 1426. As soon as we crossed the bridge, signs directed us immediately left to a small car parking area which faced parkland and the town's public swimming pool.
With the car parked we started exploring the town. We walked up to Port Brae at the end of the bridge where we saw the Bridge Inn, housed in a part stone, part wooden building. The Bridge Inn is known for its range of real ales, good pub food and terrace overlooking the river.
Almost next door to the Bridge Inn we saw a magnificent large church. The Old Parish Church stands on a former castle site and so has views of the river, bridge and town. It totally dominates the town and visitors cannot miss it. The entrance to the church is through the imposing East Doorway. Immediately inside, is a beautiful lobby created by a wooden and glass screen. The magnificent stained glass windows add further impact to this beautiful building.
Peebles, is a compact town, it is easy to get around. I was keen to explore the shopping facilities as I had been told that Peebles is one of the best, if not the best, independent retailer town in Scotland. I was not disappointed!.
The shopping area really covers the whole town, but the main area is High Street. Here we found a huge range of independent retailers selling everything from general merchandise to specialist Scots wares. Many were housed in ancient but well preserved buildings. National chain store retailers also had a presence but all the shops mixed well to create a good shopping experience. In an era when out of town retail parks have seen the demise of many high streets it was good to see one thriving!
Cafes and restaurants also hold prominent places throughout the town. We could not resist popping in to Caldwells Ice Cream Parlour on High Street. We felt as if we had stepped back in time by a few decades!. We enjoyed some delicious ice cream whilst watching the world go by from our window table.
Lanes and alleys meander off from the High Street. We wandered down one lane, the entrance to it was narrow but to our surprise it opened up into the most magnificent quadrant where Peebles War Memorial stands. We were amazed at the beauty of the War Memorial. It is known as one of Scotland's finest war memorials. The War Memorial and the surrounding garden area have won award after award for how well kept they are and how true this is – the garden area was immaculate and the war memorial with its beautiful engravings was spotless. It provides a wonderful tribute to those local people who fell in the first and second world wars. There is seating around the garden area which is very sheltered. The whole area exudes peace and tranquillity – it is a lovely spot to sit and enjoy quite reflection.
There are a number of small galleries and museums in Peebles. The newest museum is the John Buchan Museum. It is located within the Chambers Institute on High Street and is just seconds away from the War Memorial. It tells the story of Prolific Writer and national figure John Buchan who had links with Peebles.
Peebles has several parks, the largest is Hay Lodge Park alongside the banks of the River Tweed. We accessed the park from close to where we parked our car near the Stone Bridge. We stayed in the formal parkland and enjoyed a sunny afternoon sitting beside the river enjoying parkland views. (there is plenty of seating) There are, however, endless opportunities for longer walks throughout Hay Lodge Park.
On another day we enjoyed a different riverside walk which we accessed from a lane leading from the town centre. Walking was easy along the flat level pathways and again there was plenty of seating available.
I have some mobility issues due to arthritis so the walks we enjoyed were all easy walks. However, for the more serious walker there are an abundance of more challenging walks in this area – Peebles is situated between the Moorfoots and Southern uplands. The Tweed Valley Forest offers a variety of walks for different abilities as well as the opportunity to spot bird and wild life. At Cardrona, between our hotel and the town centre we found a section of the Tweed Valley Forest and enjoyed an easy walk. At the entrance to this section of the forest there are car parking facilities. W.C;s, designated picnic areas, and information boards.
Just over two miles drive from the centre of Peebles is Kalzie Gardens where we enjoyed a brief visit. The Gardens are open 7 days a week. Kalzie Gardens also has a rather nice restaurant and gift shop – check their opening times before a visit as they can differ to the opening times of the gardens. There is also a putting green, children's play area and a stretch of riverside available for fly fishing. We did not have enough time to fully appreciate the range of plants in the gardens but we did enjoy a lovely walk through the formal gardens.
For those touring the area, a town close to Peebles is Melrose, where the famous Melrose Abbey can be found as can the former home of Sir Walter Scott – Abbotsford House which is a wonderful stately home with an impressive visitor centre and magnificent grounds. My separate reviews of Melrose, Melrose Abbey and Abbotsford House can be found on this website.
The Town of Kelso is also worth a visit It also has wonderful riverside walks, a thriving town centre and the magnificent Floors Castle as well as Kelso Abbey. My reviews of Kelso and Floors Castle can be found on this website.
We left Peebles having stayed longer than we anticipated, and knowing we would return again!
143 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.