Peebles is one of many attractive towns on the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders – and one of our favourites.
Author of The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan was once a resident here.
From independent shops and fascinating heritage to a rich landscape to walk upon and lush gardens to lose yourself in… Peebles has much to offer the discerning visitor.
We have 7 magnificent reasons to call in.
1 Find your type at a Victorian printers
Robert Smail’s Printing Works (pictured above) is a commercial letterpress printers dating back to 1866 – the oldest of its kind and still operational.
This impressive piece of heritage is now looked after by the National Trust of Scotland.
Its archive, fully intact, is there to be marvelled at.
Every print job ever undertaken has been kept: all tickets, posters, letterheads and newspapers printed by this family firm are available to be viewed.
And you can try a bit of typesetting as part of the tour – simple jobs only! – and learn how some common terms we use today came from this industry.
There’s a shop, too, with unusual gifts and quirky cards.
2 See the whole of Scotland in one go
The Polish Map of Scotland was created by two men from Krakow who had a mission to design a map with a difference.
This became the world’s largest 3D terrain relief model of one nation.
It is surrounded by water to represent the sea.
Built in the 70s as a thank you to the people of Scotland for hosting Polish troops during WWII, it now has Historic Scotland Category B listed status.
3 Tour a house with history
Traquair House is Scotland’s oldest inhabited house – it dates back to 1107 – and has been owned by the same family since 1491.
The tour is a fascinating history lesson – hear the heart-breaking and heroic stories about the family and their well-known visitors.
Mary Queen of Scots stayed here – see the bed she slept in.
Plus there’s a maze, as well as a family chapel, brewery, priest’s room and much more.
4 Wander in famous gardens
From fine tree collections to the oldest trees in Britain – and the tallest – species from Nepal, Chile, Japan and America… Dawyck Botanic Gardens has 65 acres of exquisite lush green spaces for when you want to feast on nature.
Pick a season – any season – and you’re sure to find captivating displays of flowers from blowsy Himalayan poppies to the humble bluebell.
A woodland trail will lead you to discover plant explorers and themed gardens.
5 Be a glutton for (chocolate) punishment
Peebles is blessed with Cocoa Black, Scotland’s Chocolate Capital.
This café/shop/school is an homage to all things chocolate thanks to Ruth Hinks, UK Confectioner of the Year and winner of the World Chocolate Masters.
There’s a wealth of luxury handmade chocolates, cakes and patisserie to salivate over.
Get your fill from a stylish edible handbag to delicious vegan chocolate and a terrific truffle tasting collection.
Rest awhile at the bright café and take some tea with your chocolate.
6 Seek out natural heritage
Some of the best hillwalking in the Scottish Borders is right here in Peebles – it’s a rich landscape of heather moors, rolling green hills plus the celebrated salmon river, the Tweed, one of Scotland’s best.
Nearby there’s Glentress Forest, well known for its walking trails and its splendid views of the Tweed Valley.
And there’s a Wildlife Room with live osprey cams.
See if you can also spot red squirrels, herons and bats.
Close by is the Scottish National Trail – a must for long-distance walking.
7 Go niche shopping
Peebles has an attractive and bustling high street full of independent shops including swish furniture store Manse Furnishings (one also in Moffat) and a theatre in a converted church.
Plenty of eateries can be found including a superb lunch spot: the Oven Door.
Ready to book a break away? Read our reviews here.
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