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Scottish Borders Self-Guided

Scottish Borders Self-Guided

Flag great britain Great Britain

  • Region Region Scotland
  • Tour Type Tour Type Self Guided (Open Departure)
  • Duration Duration 7 days
  • Bike Type Bike Types Road, Hybrid, Touring & e-bike

Core Route

211 Miles
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 35 mi
0 400 mi
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 562 yds
0 1000 yds

Extended Route

285 Miles
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 47 mi
0 300 mi
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 758 yds
0 1000 yds
April - October from
Next Steps

The Scottish Borders is the home to some of Scotland’s most wonderful cycling routes. Starting from Edinburgh you ride east through Musselburgh, following the coast to the picturesque resort of North Berwick en route to historic Dunbar.

The second leg leads you inland into the wild sheep-dotted Lammemuir Hills, visiting Abbey St Bathans and Duns on the way to Kelso for a two night stopover. The loop ride from Kelso offers marvellous Borders scenery and the chance to visit several attractions including Floors Castle.

Next stop is quaint Melrose -, on the ride there you will see Dryburgh Abbey, Scott’s View and Thirlstane Castle. From Melrose you follow the lovely Tweed valley to Innerleithen – one of the best known mountain biking centres in Britain. Heading north from Innerleithen you can enjoy spectacular moorland and some wonderful views over Edinburgh on the approach to the city.

A cycling holiday is truly one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the Scottish borders. You will get to experience some of the best cycle touring that Scotland has to offer with this 7 day self-guided tour.


  • Edinburgh

  • Tantillon Castle

  • Scottish Seabird Centre

  • Floors Castle

  • Kelso Abbey

  • Abbotsford House

  • Tweed Valley

  • Dryburgh Abbey

  • Traquair House

  • Roslyn Chapel

Day 1

Arrive in Edinburgh. On arriving in Edinburgh, you can check into your accommodation and pick up your bike and equipment (if renting). Spend the afternoon exploring the historic city.


Edinburgh to Dunbar 37ml / +292m (S) From Central Edinburgh choose either the shorter on road option or the NCN (mostly cycle track) route for the first section to Musselburgh. From Musselburgh you hug the coast through the villages of Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Gullane to the resort town of North Berwick, where you can visit the Scottish Seabird Centre and choose between the many lunch options. From North Berwick you continiue around the coast to Tantallon Castle and on to your accommodation in the bustling town of Dunbar.

Edinburgh to Dunar elv


Dunbar to Kelso 41ml / +678m (L) Leaving Dunbar you follow the coast south as far as Cockburnspath, where you climb away from the coast. If you are a keen birdwatcher, you might choose the short detour to St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve - a haven for birdwatchers, nature lovers and walkers that offers epic sea views. Riding on country lanes you pass through Abbet St Bathans on the way to Duns – your obvious lunch stop. If you have an interest in motor racing, the Jim Clark museum in the town may catch your interest. The terrain between Duns and Kelso is very gentle, giving you a very relaxed final ride to your destination.

Dunbar Kelso Elv


Kelso Loop 26ml / +401m (L, S) The countryside to the south of Kelso is perfect cycling country with virtually traffic-free roads and country lanes through gentle pastoral landscapes dotted with sheep and cattle. Leaving Kelso you ride southeast to Kirk Yeltholm before turning west to Morebattle. The Teviot Water Gardens on the banks of the River Teviot offer refreshments before you cross the river to the Harestanes Countryside Centre. Leaving here, you ar effaced with a short climb on some great backroads that lead you to Roxburgh. On the final leg back to Kelso there are wonderful views of Floors Castle on the other side of the river.

Kelso Loop elv


Kelso to Melrose 36ml / +755m (L, S) Leaving Kelso you pass the grand entrance gate to Floors Castle riding west towards Makerstoun. Passing through the village you continue to visit Dryburgh Abbey before backtracking a short distance and climbing to Scott’s View. You continue north to Earlston and on to Lauder, site of Thirlstane Castle and the northernmost point on the ride. After lunch you turn south and follow country backroads to meet the River Tweed. Crossing over the river, you ride the final short stretch into the quaint town of Melrose.

Kelso Melrose elv


Melrose to Innerleithen 32ml / +683m (L, S) From Melrose you ride west, crossing over the River Tweed and then the River Yarrow to reach Selkirk. Continuing west, you follow beautiful Etterick Water through the village of Etterickbridge, where you turn north to cross the river and ride a wonderfully quiet road through forests and over moorland. On reaching the main A7 you ride west for a short distance before turning north again for a gentle ascent followed by an exhilarating downhill run to cross the River Tweed into Innerleithen.

Melrose Innerleithen elv


Innerleithen to Edinburgh 39ml / +565m This is a very straightforward ride as it follows NCN route 1 all the way from Innerleithen back to Edinburgh. The first section of the ride is on a quiet road that makes a gradual ascent through spectacular moorland. From the top of the climb there are great views across to Edinburgh in the distance. Turning off west you ride through the villages of Temple and Carrington to arrive in Bonnyrigg. Here you pick up the traffic free section of NCN 1 that will lead you all the way into the very heart of the city.

Innerleithen Edinburgh elv

Route Map


The standard accommodations for this region's self-guided itineraries are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). Generally, these have between 4 and 10 guest rooms and the owners/providers live on the premises. In almost all cases the bathroom facilities are ensuite (self-contained within the room), and the room facilities usually include a television and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a communal reading / television lounge. Small family run hotels are also used in a few locations. The providers are excellent sources of local information.

Breakfast is always included. Most guesthouses do not offer an evening meal.

When you book a tour, your pre-trip planner will have more details about the specific facilities and services provided by the accommodations.

Examples of our guesthouses in this region include;

Getting there-

Edinburgh Airport is situated about 8 miles west of the city centre.
Edinburgh's main rail stations, Waverley and Haymarket, are in the city centre.
Edinburgh’s main bus station is in Elder Street in the city centre.


Rail passengers can get between airport and station by taxi or by bus. The Airlink 100 service calls at Waverley and Haymarket stations. Journey times are 25 to 30 minutes in normal traffic.
A night bus, the N22, also runs between Waverley station and the airport.
Alternatively, the AirDirect 747 bus links the airport with Inverkeithing rail station in Fife. Combined train and bus tickets are available to or from any rail station in Scotland.

Further information

National Rail Enquiries: For timetables, service updates and station information UK-wide,
call +44 (0)8457 484950 / +44 (0)8457 484950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Traveline Scotland: For journey planning within Scotland, visit www.travelinescotland.com.
Transport Direct: To plan a journey to or from somewhere outside Scotland, visit www.transportdirect.co.uk/.

Edinburgh Trams

Construction of the new Edinburgh tram system is now under way. The service is due to start in 2011 and will link the airport with Edinburgh Park, Haymarket and Waverley rail stations, as well as Murrayfield Stadium, Princes Street and Ocean Terminal.


Buses to Edinburgh and other local destinations stop on the terminal forecourt, outside the main entrance.
Map of bus routes from Edinburgh Airport (112KB PDF)

Buses into Edinburgh Airlink 100

This express bus service runs from the airport to Waverley Bridge (near Princes Street and the main rail and bus stations).
Buy tickets at the airport information desk, at the bus stop, from the driver or in advance online.

  • Frequency: Every 10 minutes (early services every 20 minutes).
  • Journey time: 25 minutes (Waverley Bridge).
  • Fare: Single £3.50, return £6 (reductions for children).

Long-distance coaches

Operators including National Express and Scottish Citylink run services to and from Edinburgh's main bus station in Elder Street. Some services also call at Waverley Bridge (for connections to the Airlink 100 airport service).

More information

For general information on Scottish public transport, visit the Traveline Scotland website.
Bus timetables are available at Edinburgh Airport from the Onward Travel desk in UK Arrivals and the information desk in International Arrivals.


There are three options for taxis and cabs at Edinburgh Airport, and separate ranks for each.

  • Private hire Airport taxis are managed by Onward Travel and are located outside the east (UK Arrivals) end of the Terminal building.
    Tel +44 (0)131 333 2255 / +44 (0)131 333 2255.
  • Pre-booked private hire taxis can be arranged via Edinburgh City Private Hire. The collection point / rank is located on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park, directly opposite the Terminal.
    Tel +44 (0)131 477 4000 / +44 (0)131 477 4000.
  • City "Black Cabs" can be found outside outside the east (UK Arrivals) end of the Terminal building.

Passengers arranging pre-booked taxis from other areas will find the collection point / rank is located on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park, directly opposite the Terminal.
A journey to the city centre typically takes about 25 minutes. Many taxis are wheelchair accessible.

Bicycles on public transport

Buses: Most buses cannot carry bikes.
Trains: First ScotRail carries bicycles free, subject to space being available; reservations are needed for some services. Cycle reservations are compulsory on National Express East Coast and Virgin Trains services


The Scottish climate is temperate, and though very changeable, is rarely extreme, except in winter. The country is bathed by the Gulf Stream and is therefore much warmer than many countries in similar latitudes.

The prevailing winds are from the south west, bringing warm, wet air from the Atlantic.

Most visitors come to Scotland between May and September when they can enjoy the best weather and long hours of daylight – due to the country’s northerly latitude. The east coast has a consistently lower rainfall than the rest of the country.

The best times to go biking in Scotland are the spring and summer. However, although a little riskier in terms of weather, the autumn can also be a good time to visit – the colours can be glorious!

Core Tour Cost £795
Luggage Transfers £280 (per couple)
Hybrid Bike Rental £145
Road Bike Rental £235
Single Supplement £275
E-Bike Enquire about pricing

£795 per person sharing, to include;

  • 7 nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Pre-Trip Information Booklet and Planner
  • On call telephone support
  • All mapping, routes and cue sheets with gpx tracks
  • Meet, greet and bike fitting

Luggage Transfers

  • Luggage transfer charges are calculated as follows:

    The standard charge is based on one or two riders. A couple would therefore share the luggage transfer costs. There is then a small additional fee for the third and each additional person.
    For example:

    1. Total cost for one or two riders = 280 (140 per person based on two people sharing)
    2. Total cost for three riders = 280 + 20= 300 (100 per person)
    3. Total cost for four riders = 280 + 20 + 20 = 320 (80 per person)

Note that the more riders in the group, the less expensive are the luggage transfers per rider

Please note that whilst we will try our best to provide you with the exact bike as listed below, due to availability or sizing issues we may not always be able to. The bike you will receive will be of a very similar spec and always in very good condition.

Scott Sportster

  • 4 frame sizes
  • Alloy Frame
  • 24 speed

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Scott Speedster 50

  • 6 frame sizes
  • 32t sprocket
  • Shimano gearset
  • Lightweight

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Platform pedals, bottle cage,

Equipment provided: map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool, frame bag

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Next Steps

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+44 (0) 7780 496969