Jedburgh Castle Jail, a free-to-enter attraction, is the only example of a Howard Reform prison in Scotland, and has an interesting and gruesome past. You can learn what it was like to be a prisoner in days gone by, and perhaps feel the presence of the spirits that are said to lurk there – the jail having recently featured on Britain’s Most Haunted – are you brave enough?
If you walk south through Lothian Park, only about 300 yards outside the town itself you will come to an area known as Inch bonny. Here, beside the River Jed, you’ll come to Hutton’s Unconformity, one of the most important geological sites in Britain and perhaps the world!
After spending many years studying the rock formations here in Jedburgh and at other sites in Scotland James Hutton, an 18th-century farmer and doctor from Duns in Berwickshire, put forward the theory that the world’s surface had evolved over millions of years, not the thousands as previously thought. During a visit to the area, he noted that the red sandstone was lying unconformably on top of near-vertical, folded bands of rock, which led him to publish his “Theory of the Earth”, and he was thereafter known as the ‘founding father’ of geology. Pretty impressive huh?
If you continue south from Hutton’s Unconformity, a pleasant 10 minute walk along the river will bring you to The Capon Tree, one of the six most significant trees in Scotland! Reputedly over 1000 years old and known as “The Hanging Tree”, this mighty oak has a vast 10m girth trunk, now sadly split in two. It has been both a shelter for the Capuchin Monks (from where the name Capon is thought to derive) en-route to Jedburgh Abbey and a meeting place of the border clans (perhaps why it’s known as The Hanging Tree?) – truly the stuff of legend!
With her head still intact at the time, the young Mary Stuart arrived in Jedburgh in 1566. Upon hearing that her close friend, Lord Bothwell, lay wounded at Hermitage Castle, she set out on a 40-mile arduous round trip on horseback to visit him. She returned, soaked to the skin and seriously ill and later, as her tragic life unfolded, commented: “Would that I had died in Jedburgh”.
The Mary Queen of Scots visitor’s centre, set in delightful gardens, is another free-to-enter attraction, where you can hear the story of her life and death. You can even gaze at her death mask, which is said to have been cast from her decapitated head at Fotheringay Castle. Pretty grizzly stuff!!
The Waterloo Monument was built between 1817 and 1824 to commemorate – yes you’ve guessed it – the battle of Waterloo. Although on private land just outside Jedburgh, this impressive structure, with absolutely stunning views, is openly accessible and is a popular attraction. If you are feeling energetic, pick up the keys from Harestanes Visitor’s Centre and scale the spiral staircase to the top. Please note – you are entering at your own risk.
Step back to May 2011 and you would have been able to make the descent from the top of the tower on the UK’s then longest temporary zipwire, erected as part of a fund-raising event for the Anthony Nolan Charity: 1500 Feet of Fear!
Oh, and don’t forget to lock the gate behind you and return the keys to Harestanes.
As abbeys go there are none more striking than Jedburgh’s, with its unusual mix of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. Founded by King David I around 1138 for Augustinian canons, Jedburgh Abbey has an interesting and turbulent past. Stroll through the remains and take in the sheer size of a major Scottish monastic house, breathing in the sweet smell of the lovingly recreated cloister garden, which uses the very same plants once found in the medieval abbey. With its many battles now behind it, Jedburgh Abbey is now in the loving care of Historic Scotland.
Monteviot House, sitting above a winding stretch of the River Teviot is where Lord Lothian calls home. Eleven current gardens can be found there, including the latest: the Garden of Persistent Imagination – using imaginative stone structures and specialist plant selections, giving the once formal victorian garden a modern twist.
The house, built around 1700 is a living, breathing family home, as Lord Lothian says, and not a museum or art gallery – a place that has given him and his family so much enjoyment and pleasure. He’d love to share it all with you so why not drop in? I mean, it’s not every day you can say you’re going to sit in Lord Lothian’s garden is it? Enjoy.
Scotland is renowned worldwide for many things: whisky, stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and of course some pretty spectacular castles, and Ferniehirst Castle, just 2 miles outside Jedburgh, is one of the best. Simply oozing charm and history, this ancient seat of the Kerr Clan is open to the public during the month of July, Tuesdays to Sundays inclusive, 2pm to 5pm. Guided tours are available at £5.00 for adults and £3.50 for children under 12/concessions. They only take cash though, so be sure to have some with you and, as they don’t serve any refreshments, make sure you’ve refuelled at one of Jedburgh’s many fine eateries first.
So there you have it, some pretty impressive places to visit: castles, abbeys, 16th-Century houses and much more – what else could you ask for? A visit to these historical places – most of which can be explored on foot – in the delightful market town of Jedburgh will make for a trip to remember. And if you have any energy and time remaining why not pop over to my blog post: Things to do in Jedburgh and do let us know how you get on. We hope you find Jedburgh as enchanting as we do!
As you may have read from our previous blog posts, Jedburgh has some amazing walks, taking in some of the very best features the town and its environs have to offer. Our Royal Burgh is relatively compact in nature, making for some straightforward but very rewarding circular walks. You can do them under your own steam (leaflets are available from Jedburgh Tourist Information) or join one of the guided tours during the summer months. Check out the Borders Abbeys Way, Roman Heritage Way or perhaps follow in the footsteps of St Cuthbert!
No, you haven’t been transported to France – here in Jedburgh we are delighted with our very own “French Connection”. During the Napoleonic Wars, a secret recipe was obtained from a French prisoner, who was incarcerated at what is now Jedburgh Castle Jail. The recipe, still secret to this day, has been handed down through the generations and produces the local delicacy known as “Jethart Snails”. We won’t reveal the secret as to what they actually are, you will need to come and try them for yourself – but once tried, they are never forgotten and many ex Jedburgh locals from all over the world still yearn for a “Jethart Snail”.
In July each year, hundreds of people descend on Jedburgh to celebrate the Jethart Callant’s Festival. Involving, among other spectacles, a cavalcade of hundreds of horses and riders, the festival is steeped in history and celebrates the young men who protected our borders in more turbulent times. Check out what’s happening this year – July 2nd -10th 2016 and all about the history of this not to be missed spectacular event.
Jedburgh is in the very lucky to have two excellently-maintained golf courses and is surrounded by several other high quality courses we think you will love. You can read all about them here .
Having a 9-year-old child, I know a thing or two about parks, and Harestanes is one of our favourites. Harestanes, as you would expect of the Scottish Borders, is set in beautiful countryside and is just outside Jedburgh, but this is not just any old park – here you can do woodland walks, ranger activities and there is always an event or exhibition to capture you and your child’s imagination. And then there’s the fabulous outdoor play-park, with plenty of space for a picnic while you watch the kids burn off some energy. If you’ve not packed anything, why not try the on-site cafe and savour the delicious taste of freshly-ground FairTrade coffee and perhaps enjoy a scone or a delicious tray bake.
Harestanes visitor’s centre lies on one of Scotland’s most popular long distance walks – St Cuthbert’s Way – and the network of mainly quiet public roads also opens up some great options for cyclists, including the above-mentioned Borders Abbeys Way. The other great thing is that with free entry and disabled access, it is a place that everyone can enjoy.
The disabled access features include:
Open Thursday 24 March to Monday 31 October 2016, Harestanes Countryside Centre is well worth a visit – check out what else is going on here.
Jedforest Angling Association is a thriving club with a very enthusiastic and dedicated committee, who have recently invested in the purchase of local still water at Hass Loch. The two 5-acre lochs sit just a few miles south of Jedburgh, amongst rolling Border hills, with simply spectacular views of the Cheviot Valley. These well-stocked waters offer excellent sport, with rainbow trout in excess of 10lbs in residence. The Hass Lochs also have the advantage of being suitable for the disabled angler. You can find out more about the club here. You can book online via Fish Pal or permits are available in the town from Taylor’s Newsagents on the High Street (01835 863936) or Abbey Bridge Tollhouse Cafe.
Long associated with horses, the Borders has more of these beautiful animals per person than anywhere else in Scotland. So with such stunning scenery all around us and a plentiful supply of mounts, what better way to view it than on horseback?
Kings Equestrian Centre offers lessons for a wide range of abilities – from complete beginners to those hoping to improve their existing skills. The centre is based on their own farmland at Gospel Hall and a warm welcome from Judith is absolutely guaranteed. They have a lovely selection of ponies from a tiny miniature Shetland (aaawwe!) to larger ponies and cobs. Want to bring your own horse? Well thats just fine too. Contact Judith on 07742 516125 to book
For a more thrilling ride why not learn trick riding with Sue Martin at the Old Farm House, Lanton Hill? Email: email@example.com or telephone: 01835 869757 for more details. You can also stay in their 5-star holiday cottage. And if you want to bring your own horse, Christine Swanston at Ferniehurst Mill will be delighted to welcome you and your 4-hoofed friend. Telephone 01835 863279 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
The Scottish Borders is now renowned for some of the best mountain bike trails in the UK, including the mountain biking meccas of Glentress and 7-Stanes. But did you know that Jedburgh Trails has taken advantage of the stunning scenery surrounding us, and have created unique way-marked mountain bike routes, including The Justice Trail – a challenging 40km cross-country mountain bike route, plus 3 routes suitable for families. Get more details here and get on your bike!
Phew! we are exhausted just writing this article but its been so much fun. We hope you will enjoy the many activities in and around the beautiful Borders town of Jedburgh. Please do let us know how you get on, or if you’d like us to organise a trip to remember, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we will be delighted to hel
On the face of it, Jedburgh’s High Street looks quiet and unassuming, however behind the facades on this ancient street lies a hive of entrepreneurial activity, with hard-working independent retailers rivalling Fifth Avenue in New York, Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive and rue du Faubourg St Honor in Paris, according to a recent article, so step inside and take a look at what Jedburgh High Street has to offer.
David Thomson: The subject of a recent article by Maxim Fashion and a feature in the Scotsman, David Thomson clothing store has joined the meccas of the fashion world and put Jedburgh firmly on the map. This thriving business, which opened in 1883, sells both ladies’ and men’s fashion labels and excels in tartans and tweed. The great thing about this shop is that the owner, Alec Campbell, treats all customers with the same courtesy whether you are a Russian Cosmonaut (yes, this really happened) or someone simply looking for a t-shirt for their hols. Drop by and see Alec at 24 High Street, Jedburgh.
Theres nothing nicer than someone bringing you a gift back from their travels is there? And with a selection of gift shops, many with locally-produced goods, a traveller returning from Jedburgh should not return empty handed!
Heart of the Borders – specialise in gifts ‘from the heart’. Alison, the owner, lovingly hand-paints all her wooden hearts, to which you can add a personalised message to make these gifts even more special. Pop inside to see a range of lovely gifts, as well as local beers and spirits on offer.
Oisin is a delightful bespoke picture-framing business and gift shop, specialising in a range of Scottish gifts. A friendly shop where you may even meet the owner’s dog! Pop in to see Janet who will be happy to help you choose a gift for any occasion.
The Lovatt Gallery is a magical Scottish contemporary art, craft and gift shop, producing whimsical jewellery and assemblage using copper and fragments from the past. You can watch owner Linda, at work in her gallery, lovingly producing dancing hares and flapping birds that transport her back to her own childhood. These magical creatures then travel to their new homes all over the world.
Well if these guys are selling chocolate I guess we don’t really need to coax you in do we? Jedburgh Chocolate House is a quaint, friendly little shop selling – well, chocolate of course – including some that is hand-made in Jedburgh. They also have a supply of homemade local shortbread and apple juices that are hand pressed right here in the Scottish Borders. The shop also does a magnificent job in supporting local crafts-people and you will find handmade gift items from Caddon Design, Rusty Nails, Enchanted Tweed and The Gooseberry Mill. Pop in to see the lovely Bev.
Winners of the Best Savoury Pie award for the whole of Britain, this multi award winning traditional butcher is sure to tantalise your tastebuds. All their Beef, Lamb and free range pork and poultry is sourced from local Scottish Borders farms. Say ‘aye’ tae a pie at A J Learmonth Jedburgh.
Everyone likes to browse antique shops don’t they? Blowing the dust off items that may be forgotten heirlooms, worth a fortune – well, we’ve all watched Antiques Road show. Jedburgh is getting quite a reputation for its burgeoning antiques trade, so if you fancy a rummage or even a real live auction – pop down to Jedburgh high street where you will find:
Swan & Turner provide a complete auction-house service, with regular auction sales of fine-art, antiques and collectables. They also offer free appraisals at their shop on the High Street. Drop by and see Ron – they are open from 12 Noon to 4:30pm Mondays to Fridays – but it’s probably best to make an appointment by ringing 01835 863 445 or E-mail: email@example.com
Groves Antiques and The Vault of Curiosities (what a cool name) are both owned by the lovely Lorna and offer a fine selection of collectables, vintage clothing and antiques. With a veritable treasure-trove of items at her finger tips, Lorna was even able to help me find an amazing hat for a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed event – at extremely short notice too! Have a wander round these shops on opposite sides of the High Street or give Lorna a call on 07710342965 – you never know what you might find!
Jedburgh has an array of beauty salons, hairdressers, massage places and more, so if you fancy a pamper. why not book your self into to the many local establishments – go on you deserve it!
You will also find bakers, florists, toy shops, chemists, hardware stores and a plant shop able to rival the likes of B&Q – basically everything you could need, right here on one High Street. Remember if you’ve loved Jedburgh it will love you for shopping local and keeping these hard working independent shops busy.
The great thing about Jedburgh high street is that, like most things in Jedburgh, it is best explored on foot. You will find all the above-mentioned shops within a short distance of each other, with some lovely coffee shops and restaurants in between. With a warm welcome guaranteed, we are sure that you will enjoy your time in Jedburgh. Let us know how you get on – and if we can help in any way please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Finding somewhere nice to eat, whether for a quick bite to break up a long journey or while spending the day exploring, can sometimes be a problem, can it not?
You may not be in town for long, and don’t want to be disappointed, so I’m going to tell you about some of our favourite restaurants in Jedburgh, with a healthy dollop of history thrown in, so that you can really enjoy your meal, as well as the surroundings.
Don’t worry, this isn’t everything Jedburgh has to offer and I will be sharing more delights with you over the coming weeks.
The historic market town of Jedburgh in the beautiful Scottish Borders is on the A68, one of the main roads linking England and Scotland, making for an ideal stop-off point or an excellent base from which to explore the area.
As you approach the town from the south, you are greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the magnificent 12th-century abbey, one of four ancient abbeys in the Scottish Borders. Directly opposite this glorious structure, you will find the delightful and aptly named Abbey View Café.
A warm welcome from owners Paul & Kate is guaranteed and you will be greeted with the smell of delicious home baking, fresh soup and light lunches, all made from scratch, as well as proper coffee! Call 01835 268247 to enquire about daily specials.
There is free wi-fi available, however, 800 hundred years after it was first built and 400 years since it was ruined, the abbey’s nave still has the power to impress, so we’re sure your eyes will be glued to the delightful views and not to a screen.
Right next door to the Abbey View Café, you will find The Clock Tower Grill (named after the 16th -century clock tower that sits proudly by the market square), offering a wonderful selection of specials, from fresh calamari and mouth-watering steaks to homemade pizza and delicious pasta.
Open 12-4pm for lunch Wednesday to Saturday and 6-9pm for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, a friendly welcome and great service are assured from Alistair and his team. You can book a table by calling 01835 869788 or visit their Facebook page to see some of their recent creations.
Wandering through the town square, more historical delights await. Take a left up the Castlegate (this road was the site of one of four gates into the ancient town) and at the top of the hill you will find the Castle Jail Museum, the only example of a Howard Reform Prison in Scotland, built on the site of one of Britain’s most haunted castles!
Strolling up the steep hill is an ideal way to build up an appetite, and on the way down, why not pop into the award winning Forrester’s Restaurant at the bottom of the Castlegate? Offering a Tapas dining experience, in addition to grills and burgers and everything in between, perhaps washed down by some Real Ale, we are sure there will be something to tempt you. Have a look at their mouth-watering menu or call 01835 862 380 to book.
And if that isn’t enough, continue through the square and down the Canongate to your right (where one of the other ancient gates was situated), turning left opposite the bus station. Here you will find the beautiful, mediaeval house and gardens, once home toMary Queen of Scots.
Opened as a museum in 1987, on the 400th anniversary of her death, the house is devoted to her life and times, as well as her grizzly execution, as ordered by Queen Elizabeth I. This free-to-enter attraction has an interesting left-handed staircase built for the Kerrs (who were left-handed) to enable them to wield their swords more easily. The gardens, containing ancient pear trees, are an absolute delight and a lovely spot from which to look back at the house and ponder its history.
Continuing along the same road, just a minute’s walk from Mary Queen of Scots’ House, you will find a fine dining experience at The Capon Tree Town House (named after The Capon Tree, one of the last surviving Oaks from Jedburgh’s ancient forest, which is situated on the southern outskirts of town), where you can wine, dine and dream in style. Open Friday – Saturday: 12noon – 1am, Tuesday – Thursday: 12noon – 11pm forgastronomic delights of local fare.
Enjoy freshly ground coffee and a warm baked homemade scone in the morning, then lunch is served from 12noon until 2pm, with a very popular taster menu, featuring past & present signature dishes from chefs Alasdair & Iain.
Complete your day with a splendid dinner in the restaurant, where both chefs are inspired by British & worldwide cuisine and cooking techniques. We are sure your taste buds wont be disappointed! Check out their lunch and dinner menu or give them a call to book at 01835 869 596
And if you simply can’t bear to leave, why not relax in one of their stylish en suite rooms and be thoroughly pampered before you continue on your journey?
Whether you’re in Jedburgh on a stop-off, to break up a long journey, or are here to explore the beautiful Scottish Borders, you’ll be spoilt for choice with so many examples of sumptuous cuisines to choose from.
It doesn’t matter what your taste buds crave, you’ll be sure to find it all here in Jedburgh– with a helping of history thrown in. Enjoy!