Explore the sweeping valleys and historic abbeys of the Scottish Borders, which inspired literary legends such as John Buchan and Sir Walter Scott.
Discover the magnificent ruins of Melrose Abbey – the resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s great warrior king.
The beautiful region from which Scotland’s National Bard, Rabbie Burns, made his name. Ayrshire combines charming countryside towns with long sandy beaches and superb views.
This magnificent Gothic mansion, located on the banks of the River Tweed, was home to author Sir Walter Scott. Its iconic architecture offers a glimpse into his creative mind, as he designed it himself.
Enjoy the unspoilt beauty of Dumfries and Galloway, home to the Logan Botanic Gardens and the only Dark Sky Park in Europe.
The holiday home of President Eisenhower, Culzean Castle stands atop the Ayrshire cliffs and is surrounded by gardens, woodland and breathtaking sea views.
This self-drive tour will take you on an unforgettable journey through the Scottish Borders and south west Scotland. Journeying across these beautiful regions you will be spoilt for choice, with magnificent abbeys, breathtaking countryside, ancient castles, and a flourishing cultural and culinary scene.
Begin your journey in the pretty market town of Melrose in the Scottish Borders, where you will discover a spectacular area with a turbulent and bloody history. The Borders was a battleground between Scotland and England for centuries, and you can learn about its tumultuous past at the four magnificent ruined abbeys. The Borders today thrives as a region with much to explore, and is known for its strong community spirit and loyalty.
Onwards to Dumfries & Galloway to explore majestic coastline, delightful villages, and the wild beauty of Galloway Forest Park – the only ‘Dark Sky Park’ in Europe, and a rare opportunity to see shooting stars and the Aurora Borealis. Discover how this region’s beautiful scenery has filled artists and writers with the passion to create great works for centuries.
From here it is a short distance to Burns Country of Ayrshire, where you can immerse yourself in the magical landscape which inspired Scotland’s Bard – Robert Burns, and visit the award-winning museum dedicated to his life. With miles of rolling countryside, quaint fishing villages, and no fewer than twenty castles in the area waiting to be explored, Burns Country has a wonderful array of surprising sights.
This is our suggested itinerary for our Burns Country & the Scottish Borders self-drive tour. We design each itinerary around your interests, so think of this as a starting point which can be tailored into something completely unique to you.
We love the opportunity to use our first-hand knowledge and experience to design and deliver the perfect, bespoke holiday experience for you.
Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland’s majestic capital and one of Europe’s most unique cities. Explore historic Edinburgh Castle and magnificent Holyrood Palace, and for a breathtaking panoramic view take a walk up Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano which towers over the city.
Overnight – Edinburgh
Depart Edinburgh and uncover the secrets of mysterious Rosslyn Chapel (featured in The Da Vinci Code) before making your way south to the spectacular Scottish Borders. You can enjoy the stunning vista from Scott’s View – Sir Walter Scott’s favourite view in Scotland – before visiting the first statue built of Scottish hero Sir William Wallace.
The pretty market town of Melrose is your home for the next three nights and is a perfect base to explore this captivating region.
Overnight – Melrose
Spend a full day today exploring the magnificent ruins of the four great medieval abbeys – Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso and Dryburgh. The abbeys were founded in the 12th century but their proximity to England meant that they were subject to frequent attacks by the English. Their spectacular ruins now paint a fascinating picture of a turbulent time in Scottish history. Melrose Abbey is where the heart of Scotland’s great warrior king – Robert the Bruce – is buried.
Overnight – Melrose
Explore the Gothic grandeur of Abbotsford House, one of the most famous homes in Scotland, and home of celebrated author Sir Walter Scott. You can visit the very study where Scott penned some of his most-loved novel. Nearby Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, and offers a fascinating glimpse into how the other half lives. Elsewhere in the Borders there are delightful villages and pleasant walks to enjoy.
Overnight – Melrose
The enchanting region of Dumfries and Galloway awaits today. Visit Caerlaverock Castle, where you can explore one of the most impressive medieval castles in Scotland and learn about its crucial role in defending the realm.
The pretty fishing village of Kirkcudbright is your base here. It became a magnet for artists in the late 19th century and is known as ‘The Artists’ Town’ because of this association.
Overnight – Kirkcudbright
Dumfries and Galloway holds a wealth of possibilities and places to explore. Depending on your interests, you may choose to visit Wigtown – Scotland’s Book Town – or enjoy a dram at Bladnoch, Scotland’s most southerly whisky distillery. Take a drive to Whithorn on the coast and explore its historical priory, one of the earliest Christian sites in Scotland, or visit the awe-inspiring Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall.
Nature lovers won’t want to miss the Logan Botanic Gardens, which is warmed by the Gulf Stream and therefore has an extraordinary array of tropical and exotic plants and flowers. The spectacular Galloway Forest Park – the only Dark Sky Park in Europe – offers a rare opportunity to see shooting stars and the Aurora Borealis.
Overnight – Kirkcudbright
Make your way north to charming Ayrshire, stopping at Culzean Castle to learn why President Eisenhower loved it so dearly.
Ayr boasts a fantastic esplanade alongside a long sandy beach – known locally as the ‘Lang Scots Mile’ – where you can enjoy superb views across the Firth of Clyde to Kintyre and Arran. Robert Burns immortalised the town with the line “Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses, for honest men and bonnie lassies.”
Overnight – Ayr / Alloway
Immerse yourself in Burns Country today and learn more of Scotland’s favourite son. Visit the award-winning museum dedicated to his life, and brave a visit to Alloway Auld Kirk – the eerie churchyard where witches danced in the moonlight in Burns’ poem Tam O’Shanter. Another Scottish national hero, William Wallace, spent the last few years of his life in Ayrshire and a grand tower stands proudly in Ayr town centre to mark this connection.
Overnight – Ayr / Alloway
From Ayr it is a short drive to Glasgow or Edinburgh, where your Absolute Escape comes to an end.
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We know that after a busy day of sightseeing an exceptional place to stay makes all the difference. That’s why all of the accommodation we select is hand-picked using our first-hand knowledge of the best places to stay.
Our discerning team has a wealth of experience, and we extensively research and regularly review all of the accommodation we select for our clients.
Please choose from one of our accommodation categories below. If you wish to combine these categories or perhaps upgrade for a special occasion let us know in your enquiry.
Our Premium category includes a unique collection of luxurious and stylish boutique Guest Houses and small 4* Hotels. These are wonderfully charming and intimate and run with great flair by their owners.
It also comprises larger 4* Hotels selected for their high standard of accommodation, exceptional service, and great location. These range from traditional luxury to contemporary Hotels.
A collection of quality 4* Guest Houses and 3* Hotels often located in beautiful locations which provide an excellent standard of accommodation.
Tastefully decorated and furnished, these properties are generally owned and operated by locals who have a genuine passion for their region which they are keen to share with you. Their warm hospitality is sure to be a highlight of your Scottish experience.
A collection of 3* B&Bs and Guest Houses offering comfortable accommodation close to local attractions. Your accommodation is great for the little personal touches.
A chat with your warm and friendly hosts and fellow guests over breakfast will arm you with local knowledge and tips for the day ahead.
From award-winning luxury Hotels to unique country retreats, all of which offer exceptional accommodation with superb facilities and outstanding service.
These are truly magical places and amongst the best Scotland has to offer. The perfect choice when you would like somewhere really special which can be a treat for the night or for your entire holiday.
Our packages include car rental and comprehensive insurance for the duration of your holiday. Absolute Escapes has an excellent relationship with a number of car hire operators and we are able to offer quality vehicles and great value for money.
If you plan to bring your own vehicle, we are also able to offer this itinerary without a rental car.