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9 reasons to visit the Tweed Valley, Scotland

From catching a glimpse of ospreys and golden eagles to enjoying captivating hillside views while mountain biking and wild swimming, here’s why the Tweed Valley should be your next must-visit staycation destination.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 10.06.2022

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With enchanting forests, picturesque hills and an iconic river to explore, it’s easy to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in the tranquil Tweed Valley.

Whether you want to be at one with nature, taste delicious local produce, get lost in the rich cultural heritage or explore the scenic landscape through an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this Scottish staycation spot.

Here’s why you should book your next trip away to the Tweed Valley, that’s just two and a half hours from Newcastle.

 

Header and image credit: Ian Linton Photography

 

DISCOVER TWEED VALLEY FOREST PARK

Just an hour away from Edinburgh, seven forests fill the untouched valley of the River Tweed. If you’re looking for a woodland adventure, Glentress is the most popular forest in the park, famous for its award-winning mountain bike routes and is home to some wonderful walking trails and an exciting tree-top scramble.

 

Image credit: Jacob Little

If you’d prefer a peaceful picnic, follow the trails at Cademuir and Thornielee forests that will lead you on woodland walks full of wildlife and with glorious valley views.

Or, if you’d like a glimpse of the valley’s historic past, explore Glenkinnon’s riverside trail through protected, ancient woodland or venture through Caberston forest which offers a climb to one of the many Iron Age hill forts that once stood over the valley floor.

 

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Image credit: FLS

EXPLORE THE TWEED VALLEY BY BIKE

A popular way to explore the Tweed Valley is on two wheels. Get on your bike and pedal around some of Britain’s best mountain bike trail centres, from the challenging downhill trails at Innerleithen to the full-day destination that is Glentress. There is something for every level of rider, and plenty of bike shops that provide servicing, spares, bike rental and local trail knowledge

As well as some of the most respected guides and instructors in the business, the Tweed Valley is also home to a host of major biking events, including Muck N Mac Fest, Enduro World Series Tweed Valley, TweedLove Festival and Tour O the Borders. And in August 2023, the area will be home to the mountain bike cross country events as part of Scotland’s hosting of the UCI World Championships.

 

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Image credit: Ian Linton Photography

Tweed Valley Railway Path

This multi-use route (walk, cycle, run!) links the neighbouring towns of Peebles, Innerleithen and Walkerburn, and also passes through the charming village of Cardrona on quiet roads. The tarmac path follows the picturesque River Tweed for much of the way, with links to all the activities at Glentress and further walking and biking trails at Innerleithen. It is an excellent route for families and recreational cyclists – made even better by a new spur that travels north (again, off road) all the way to the beautiful village of Eddleston.

 

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Image credit: Ian Linton Photography

SPOT TWEED VALLEY OSPREYS

The Tweed Valley Osprey Project protects nesting ospreys on their return from West Africa and encourages them to settle and breed in ideal local habitats. During the breeding season (April to September), you can see the birds on a live camera feed at the Glentress Wild Watch Centre near Peebles. A helpful team of volunteers are also on hand to teach you more about these magnificent fish-eating birds, including some of their favourite fishing spots in and around the valley!

And it seems likely that ospreys will soon be joined by another iconic species, with golden eagles seen prospecting for nest sites following their release as part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. Find out more by visiting the UK’s first-ever golden eagle information point, housed in the Waterwheel Café on the Philiphaugh Estate near Selkirk.

 

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Image credit: Chris Knights/rspb-images.com

DISCOVER THE MAJESTIC RIVER TWEED

From touring the River Tweed by open canoe to hunting out hidden swim spots and watching wild salmon leap out the water, there are many ways to experience one of Scotland’s most famous and longest rivers.

The River Tweed is one of the world’s great salmon rivers and is an obvious magnet for fishing. Head to the Philiphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre near Selkirk where interactive displays and live underwater cameras help interpret the life cycle of this remarkable fish. From May to June and September to November, salmon can also be seen leaping out of the river on the last leg of their epic migration.

 

Image credit: Ian Linton Photography

Meanwhile, for adrenaline junkies there’s a wide range of ways to explore the River Tweed and beyond. From canoe to kayaking and sailing, there’s no better way to explore the gorgeous Valley than by water. We all know the benefits of cold water swimming, so Go Tweed Valley has got us covered with their top picks of special swim spots where you can go wild swimming whilst being surrounded by nature. Just watch the salmon don’t nibble your toes!

 

Image credit: Ian Linton Photography

SAMPLE LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK 

After of full day of exploring the Tweed Valley, you’ll need to refuel in some relaxed surroundings. Local produce is a source of huge pride, from craft beer and artisan Tweed Valley gin to chocolate, ice cream, cheese and pies, there’s something that’ll tickle everyone’s taste buds.

 

Image credit: Peebles Hydro

 

Whether you want a casual lunch at family-friendly cafes, tuck into some of the finest pub grub or want to get dressed up for a special culinary experience in a restaurant, there are plenty of dining destinations to choose from in the Tweed Valley.

And with so much outstanding food and drink to sample, why not cook up your own food and drink tour? For a true taste of the area, become a chocolatier and learn the secrets of crafting your own bespoke gin.

 

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Image credit: Cocoa Black

ENJOY FILM, ARTS AND FOREST FESTIVALS

The Eastgate Theatre in Peebles offers a year-round performance programme that covers music, drama, dance, comedy, and family shows. The area is also home to a range of lively annual festivals, including the acclaimed Peebles Outdoor Film Festival, Beyond Borders International Festival and of course the many Common Ridings events that are such a core part of local cultural heritage.

 

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With its vibrant arts scene, the Tweed Valley is one of the most creative areas of its size in Scotland. Whether visual arts are your thing, or perhaps dance, drama, or music, there are studios, galleries and workshops to visit, plus a host of top-quality live performances to enjoy.

And it’s not just the landscape that is full of drama. The Tweed Valley is also home to everything from community theatre and performances from some of Scotland’s leading production companies to live relays of world-class ballet and opera.

 

Image credit: Johan Persson

TAKE PART IN THE TWEED VALLEY TRAIL RUN

Saturday 1 October 2022

Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, this beautiful trail run – with a choice of daytime (20km, 10km, 5km routes) or run into the sunset for the Nightfall 10km – is perfect for all ages and abilities. You’ll run on beautiful riverside paths, through nature-filled woodlands and up into the hills with fabulous views of the Tweed Valley below.

Expect friendly festival vibes, local food and drink and a grand afterparty – sounds right up our street. Don’t miss the Tweed Valley Trail Run Afterparty in Peebles to end the day in suitable style with beers, banter and dancing – you’ll deserve it after that challenging run.

 

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Image credit: Out of Office

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME

The cultural history of the Tweed Valley is etched into the landscape, from Iron Age hill forts and fortified towers to castles, ancient roads and designed landscapes. There are stories to be found at every turn, including plenty of colourful myths and legends.

If only walls could talk, visit some of the finest historic houses, including the likes of  Neidpath Castle, Traquair and Bowhill House to learn more about the area’s tumultuous and often bloody past.

 

Image credit: Ian Linton Photography

From Tweeddale Museum & Gallery, and the John Buchan Story to St Ronan’s Wells Visitor Centre, there are also plenty of  fascinating museums that bring the area’s rich literary and cultural history to life. Sir Walter Scott’s fantastical – and financially ruinous – home at Abbotsford near Galashiels is also a must.

 

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ACCOMMODATION THAT’S PERFECT FOR YOU

Whether you’re on a budget, want something luxurious, travelling solo, as a couple, with family or as a group, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit every possible need in the Tweed Valley. The area is blessed with several large hotels, some of which serve as destinations in their own right, but also plenty of independently run places that always go that extra mile for their guests.

 

Image credit: FLS

Camping in the Tweed Valley

What better way to embrace your escape to the country than being at one with nature as you sleep? The Tweed Valley has a range of campsites, pods, cabins, lodges and bunkhouses that offer perfect budget-friendly accommodation, with an outdoorsy crowd in mind.

 

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Image credit: FLS

For more information about all that the Tweed Valley has to offer, visit Go Tweed Valley’s website.

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