Explore the sweeping valleys and historic abbeys of the Scottish Borders, which inspired literary legends such as 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 only Dark Sky Park in Europe, where you can gaze up at the spectacular sight of our star-filled night sky.
Spend some time exploring the picturesque town of Kirkcudbright with its colourful blend of medieval, Georgian and Victorian buildings. This harbour town on the Solway Coast became a magnet for Scottish artists in the late 19th century, and is now known as The Artists’ Town because of this association.
With ancient abbeys, grand castles, rolling countryside and a thriving cultural and culinary scene – southern Scotland is the perfect destination for a winter escape.
Taking in the delightful Scottish Borders, the dark skies of Dumfries and Galloway, and Burns’ Country of Ayrshire – this memorable itinerary explores the picturesque lands that inspired some of the greatest figures of Scottish history including Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert the Bruce.
Begin your winter road trip 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. Each town has a wealth of lovely shops, cosy cafes and intimate pubs – perfect to dive in and warm up.
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. With no light pollution and long clear winter nights, the sight of our night sky is truly breathtaking.
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 countryside and no fewer than twenty castles, Burns Country has a wonderful array of sights. In January Scotland celebrates Burns Night – a celebration of the Bard’s life and a perfect opportunity to visit and partake in the tradition of a Burn’s Supper of haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties, washed down with a whisky.
This is our suggested itinerary for our Southern Scotland Winter Road Trip 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 Melrose, a pretty market town and home to one of the four great abbeys of the Borders region. Spend time exploring the four abbeys of Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso and Dryburgh, all of which were founded in the 12th century. The impressive Melrose Abbey is where the heart of Scotland’s great warrior king – Robert the Bruce – is buried.
Melrose will be your base for two nights as you explore the captivating Borders region.
Overnight – Melrose
Explore the gothic grandeur of Abbotsford House, one of the most famous homes in Scotland, and home of the celebrated author Sir Walter Scott. You can stroll around the extensive gardens and enjoy tea and scones at the site where Scott penned some of his most-loved novels. In nearby Jedburgh, you could visit the inspiring ruins of Jedburgh Abbey which dates back to the 12th century.
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 and a treasure-trove for literary lovers. You can 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.
The spectacular Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park offers a rare opportunity to see shooting stars and the Aurora Borealis. During Winter, clear skies and long nights offer the perfect opportunity.
Overnight – Kirkcudbright
Make your way north to charming Ayrshire – a picturesque region which sits on Scotland’s west coast.
The historic town of Ayr boasts a long esplanade alongside a fine 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 – Ayrshire
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 – Ayrshire
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.