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Melrose Abbey




Melrose Abbey, now a ruin, is considered one of Scotland’s most beautiful, and it’s history provides the visitor with a sense of romance.

 

The Abbey, burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart, was founded by King David I around 1136, and construction work began with one abbot and 12 monks from Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire.

 

Attacks by English Monarchs saw the church being pillaged and burned by Edward IIs army in 1322, and the Abbey was set on fire in 1385 by Richard II, when many monks were killed and David II was forced back to Edinburgh.

 

The Abbey was rebuilt over a period of about 100 years, and one person instrumental in the reconstruction was King Robert the Bruce.

 

(When Bruce was dying he requested that his heart be taken into battle, as he was unable to go on crusade. His wish was granted and his heart now lies in an unopened lead casket in Melrose Abbey).

 

The final attack came in 1545 with the Earl of Hertford bombarding the site with cannon. The town of Melrose also suffered from English invasions and the Abbey came to an end with the Reformation in 1560. Following the last attack the Abbey was never properly restored, but some extensive restoration work did take place in 1918 when the abbey was gifted to the nation by the Duke of Buccleugh.

 

Throughout its working life Melrose Abbey was a favourite of royalty, and just prior to the Reformation it was home to around 120 monks.

 

Today, Melrose Abbey, under the care of Historic Scotland, comprises the almost complete ruins of the Abbey Church. The chapel features a magnificent stained glass window and a full pipe organ.

 

Although Melrose is now mainly an agricultural market town, some stunning scenery is to be found here, and visitors are enthralled with a range of attractions including the Trimontium Exhibition, which is the starting point for a five mile walk to celebrate Roman heritage.

 

On the walk, from Melrose to Leaderfoot and back, you will be viewing Roman sites and stopping for tea and biscuits at Newstead Village Hall.

 

For sport enthusiasts, the second week of April each year sees the Melrose Sevens, a seven-a-side rugby tournament which has been running since 1883. Teams come from all over the world to play here.



 

Melrose is one of the enchanting towns in the Scottish Borders.

 

Opening Times & Entrance Fees

1st April - 30th September Monday to Sunday, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

1st October - 31st March Monday to Sunday, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

Adult £5.20

Child £2.60

Concession £4.20

 

Edinburgh's Royal Mile

One thing visitors to the capital must do is to walk Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the streets that connect the Old Town to Edinburgh Castle.

 

Here you will follow the city’s history, from Holyrood Palace at the bottom, to Edinburgh Castle at the top, a journey taken by many Kings and Queens of the past. There's so much to see, it may take a week to walk this mile.

 

Holyrood Palace was the main residence in Scotland for many of the Royals, the first being King James IV in the early 1500's.

 

Following his death in 1513, his son and heir, James V carried out much work on the Palace, during times of conflict with England.

 

His daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, who also lived here, continued the restoration work until the conflict ended in 1603 with the Union of the Crowns, and the Palace is now the official residence in Scotland for the present Queen Elizabeth. Edinburgh’s Royal Mile got it's name for two reasons : because of its Royal connection and also because it actually is just over one mile long. The Mile boasted the world's first skyscrapers, and expanded with many great buildings and fine architecture, and is now one of the world’s most famous streets.



 

Many attractions are to be found on the Royal Mile, including the Scottish Parliament building and Giles Cathedral, which make it a busy place all year round, but even more so in August, when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has the high street bustling with tourists and street performers of all kinds.

 

August is the best time to visit as you would also have the opportunity of seeing one of the world’s most famous events, the spectacular showcase Edinburgh Military Tattoo, staged at Edinburgh Castle.

 

Mercat Cross is also on the Mile, and this is where important royal proclamations are read and where the calling of a general election would be announced. Near the top of the Mile is the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, where you can see how whisky is made. The Centre is believed to have a resident ghost, but maybe that's something to do with the whisky.

 

The Old Town has a huge variety of shops catering for all tastes, but you will not find the usual high street chains, you are more likely to find a selection of specialist shops, small restaurants and friendly bars.

 

More conventional shopping can be found in the New Town, mainly along Princes Street, which has a good selection of department stores.



 

As one of the oldest streets in the city, the Royal Mile is part of the Old Town conservation area, and not surprisingly is listed as a special area of architectural interest. The Old and New Towns are distinctly separate, which is good news as it provides choices for all visitors to Edinburgh, and the city centre is small enough to be seen on foot, which allows more time to appreciate the attractions and admire the picturesque buildings.

 


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