Melrose is the prettiest of the Borders towns and home of 7-a-side rugby. The Abbey (above), wrecked like the others by Henry VIII, is where Robert the Bruce’s heart is said to be buried. The Abbey was further damaged by a local family, the Douglases, who used its stones to build their own house at the end of the Cloisters. Sir Walter Scott, the famous 19th century romantic novelist, superintended the subsequent repair works.
Abbotsford, Scott’s home, is 3km from Melrose. If you have the time it is well worth a trip, stuffed as it is with Scottish curios. It is a monument to 19th century Scottish triumphalism – an utter delight (T:+44 (0)1896 752043). Abbotsford is where he composed some of his classics, which include Waverley, Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and The Lady of the Lake.
Sir Walter Scott purchased Cartleyhole farmhouse on the banks of the River Tweed in 1812. Together with his family and servants, he moved into the farm which he renamed Abbotsford.
Scott was a passionate collector of historic relics, including an impressive collection of armour and weapons, Rob Roy’s gun and Montrose’s sword, and over 9,000 rare volumes in his library.
Visitors will be able to Sir Walter Scott’s study, library, drawing room, entrance hall and armouries, and the dining room overlooking the Tweed where Sir Walter died on 21st September, 1832.