As promised, here are the most beautiful places I have visited in the Scottish Borders all squeezed and compressed into a top 10. For those who know me -or not, that’s cool too- I am very indecisive so please appreciate the effort and stress that has gone into this selection.
First off, the breathtaking glacial valley of Tweedsmuir which I think translates into the valley of the river Tweed – geography and linguistics for you. It was added on the itinerary by chance as we needed the quickest way home and our GPS, whom I shall call by his name (Marcel) from now on, saw a narrow road that slithered solitarely through a mass of uncharted land and chose that one. Lesson number one: a vast green area on the GPS display signals either a natural park or a mountain. We had the second option. Nevertheless, it was a stroke of luck since the place was so beautiful and the weather just right for some great photography.
Silver then goes to Edinburgh, a city which left me very impressed and wanting to see more of it – and in better weather. Excuse the somewhat posh label I’m going to make but it’s such a bourgeois city that I felt like I was in France or Belgium. To be fair, Scotland does have a very tight friendship with France and they have taken some cultural influences but I was certainly not expecting such a vibrant and rich city. The Royal Mile pretty much sums up the entire center and while I loved the views from the palace, the Royal Jewels exhibition was, although informative, a tad bit kitsch… you’ll see the photos of the sculptures coming out of the walls, don’t worry. One big regret: I wish we had time to visit the gallery! Next time
Culross is the next place on my list, which is so different from my top two. This is probably one of the most picturesque villages in the world, if not then just in Great Britain. Peaceful little place next to the bay with coquettish little cottages with flowered English gardens and Provencal windows. What more could you want?
Floors Castle, next to Kelso, was another place that I really liked. The castle is quite flamboyant in architecture compared to the more austere Scottish traditional buildings so it was quite impressive as it sits on top of a small hill overlooking the valley. We suspect we have even met the 10th Duke of Roxburghe just casually walking his dog on the estate. Casually being the key word here.
Loch Chon and Loch Katrina – 2 pretty lakes quite close to the famous Loch Lomond. What was so spectacular about these was the amazing landscape and what looked like very very expensive houses lined up on its shores, making it seem like the Scottish version of the Italian riviera and the exclusive areas of Lake Como and Garda.
Although not a touristic destination per se, I absolutely loved the house that we rented, it was absolutely perfect and what I have in mind when I think of Scotland. Acres upon acres of fields (therefore amazing views), an amazing garden and my favorite – one of those little sofa tings on the windowsill…I honestly can’t wait to go back. Oh it’s called Corbett Towers, almost forgot to mention it.
Rosslyn Chapel I found very interesting; it’s so small and so ornate that it actually looks friendly, which can’t be said about most religious buildings I think. The sculpted ceiling with stars and flowers was really impressive and wherever you look there are so many symbols. We also got to listen to a guide who told the humoristic version of the chapel’s history; this was around 12 or 1 o’clock, so if you’re ever around at that time don’t miss it.
Glasgow high street was also fun, a bit of a city escape for half a day, where I bought a new grey jersey dress. Don’t judge, I wanted it for a long-ish time and they had a 20% off so I couldn’t help myself.
Because my dad is a passionate collector of whiskey bottles, we naturally had to visit a distillery – heck, we were in their home country! So we went to Glengoyne for a tour around the factory where we got to see all the different techniques they use in the process of making whiskey and a look around their shop. It was all so good that we couldn’t possibly have left empty handed. Well obviously I had no role in the buying of a whiskey bottle but I did get a box of handmade chocolates with whiskey filling… they were so good I had to limit myself to just one a day so it would last me longer.
And last but not least – St. Andrew’s! A charming little town by the sea, best known for the university which gave it its name (or maybe the other way round). It’s the third oldest in the UK and the oldest in Scotland, dating from the 15th century. I loved walking around the city center with all the boutiques and pastry shops and around the amazing campus and by the harbor. This place really has it all! P.S – take your time to visit the Glass House restaurant for lunch. Such good food!
I realize this took ages to post but just loading 43 photos takes about 5 hours…but I’m finishing off with a pretty photo!