Quaint wee town with ancient ruins, medieval castle and week-long Beltane Festival.
A Royal Burgh since 1152, located within the Scottish Borders and by the second longest river in Scotland, Peebles used to be a market town and played a big role in the woollen industry during the 19th and early-20th centuries. Today it’s known as a a festival town and health tourism destination thanks to the huge Hydro Hotel. I visited Peebles in February, so there weren’t many tourists then, but it’s quite a popular place during summer.
It’s not a big town at all, I’m pretty sure you can see all the main attractions in 2-3 hours or so (that is, if you don’t need another 2 just for the pictures, like me ;)). On the other hand, there are some interesing places around and you can spend a lot of time, wandering along majestic river Tweed, beautiful Hay Lodge Park or the hills surrounding the town. I’m pretty sure it must be even better in spring or summer!
Let’s start our trip with The Chambers Institution, home to the Tweeddale Museum and Gallery. It was the first building I saw after getting out of the bus… Well okay, after this and spending some time on coffee and ice cream at Caldwell’s Homemade Ice Cream (highly recommend, by the way!), waiting for the rain to stop. I really loved the creamy colour of the building, all the architectural details and those quirky lamps!
That’s how the courtyard looks (pretty impressive, isn’t it?):
First World War monument and the soldier figure in the courtyard:
And again, some architectonic details:
The second spot to see was Cross Kirk, the ancient church founded in 1261. Only ruins remained now, but they’re still pretty impressive. According to information I found online, they play a big part in a local Beltane Festival. As a huge fan of all things Celtic, I surely need to visit Peebles again to take part in it someday. Just imagine how magical it must feel there!
There was also a time for a quick photoshoot there:
Going back from that enchanting place, I spotted some lovely houses… including my dream one:
Just look at those beautiful details!
This one was pretty nice as well:
After a photoshoot and just a little bit of home dreaming, it was about time to go for a walk along the River Tweed. Fun fact, it’s not only the second longest one in Scotland, but also the biggest source of fish caught to the fly in the whole Britain!
Following along the river towards Hay Lodge Park…
… passing by the majestic tower of The Old Parish Church of Peebles (does anyone else have this thing with clock towers?) …
… taking hundreds of pictures of the bridge and the tower (yes, I have this thing with old bridges too) …
… and finally reaching Hay Lodge Park, which must look absolutely beautiful with more greenery around, I believe. Still, I had an opportunity to spot some whimsical trees, snowdrops and other flowers on the way.
The last stop on the list was Neidpath Castle, built between 1263 and 1266. It was visited by Mary, Queen of Scots in 1563. Quoting Wikipedia,
The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jean Douglas, referred to by Walter Scott in his poem as “the Maid of Neidpath”, the youngest daughter of William Douglas, Earl of March. Forbidden to marry the son of the laird of Tushielaw, who was considered below her station, she dwined while her lover was sent away. When he returned she was so wasted that he did not recognise her, causing her to die of a broken heart.
Unfortunately, the castle is now closed to the public and available only by appointment (prices start at £30 for a private guided tour). Additionally, there are some open days each year. You can check their website to see all the details. I only managed to take some pictures of the castle from some distance:
That’s all for now then! As for other places in the area of Peebles, I’d surely want to visit the Kailzie Gardens someday, but they’re probably worth to see rather in spring or summer, than winter. If you like interesting, gothic-like architecture, you can also check out Castle Venlaw Hotel in the outskirts of Peebles.
Hope you enjoyed that little trip and all the pictures! Have you ever visited Peebles or heard of it? Maybe you know other small towns in Scotland worth to see? Let me know in comments!