Castles on the Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders region is a lovely area encompassing lush agricultural plains, verdant valleys, gently rolling hills, rocky coasts and fascinating moorland. Stretching across 1 800 square miles, traveling through the region brings you to numerous quaint fishing villages, vibrant towns and fine tourist attractions. Flowing through the region of the Scottish Borders is the River Tweed and its tributaries. Visitors to the area can enjoy activities such as fishing, golf, cycling, swimming and sightseeing. Tourists can view the architecture of estate homes, abbeys and castles. There are several grand castles in the Scottish Borders. Be sure to check out Floors Castle, Hermitage Castl, Jedburgh Castle, Thirlestane Castle and Neidpath Castle.
Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and is currently the home of the charming Tenth Duke of Roxburghe. It stands on a natural terrace that overlooks the meandering River Tweed. In the distance from the natural elevation one can see the Cheviot Hills. Across the river on the opposite bank is the Roxburgh Castle, which at one time was the strongest fortress along the former border with England.
Hermitage Castle has a forbidding appearance and oppressive atmosphere, partly due to its history of treachery and partly the stories written about it. The bleak fortress, set high in the valley next to the beautiful Hermitage Water is surrounded by open moorland. Its strategic location was the key to the control over Liddesdale and the border area during the wars between Scotland and England. It changed hands between the two several times. Its unusual architecture allowed wooden fighting platforms to run the length of the outside of the tops of the walls.
Jedburgh Castle is actually the Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum that was built in the early nineteenth century on the site of a 12th century fortress that had been built by King David I. Now there is no evidence left of this earlier structure which had played a key role in the many border confilcts between Scotland and England.
Neidpath Castle stands on the site of an earlier castle that belonged to Sir Simon Fraser. It passed by marriage to the de Hays family in 1312, who built the existing castle as a massive stone four storey L-plan tower house. Built against the steep banks of the River Tweed, the main block with its rounded corners originally had three vaulted rooms. Neidpath Castle was known as Jedderfield until the 16th century.
Located in the Scottish Borders to the north east of Lauder on the Southern Upland Way, Thirlestane Castle was originally built in the 13th century. It has been owned by the Maitland family throughout its long history and is among the seven Great Houses of Scotland. Thirlestane was the historic seat of the Earls and only Duke of Lauderdale until the latter part of the 20th Century and is still the Maitland family home.