When we first moved to Jedburgh, it felt like we were on holiday. Learning the places to go and the things to see was part of the fun of moving somewhere new as a family.
We’ve since learnt Jedburgh can be the kind of place people stop off for a break as part of a larger trip, often to Edinburgh. But not only is Jedburgh a place worth visiting in its own right, its position in The Scottish Borders makes it a great location to explore places further afield, such as Kelso, Hawick, Melrose and Galashiels.
Inspired by our early days in Jedburgh, here’s 10 places we visited and would recommend you check out too (there are so many more we could include.) We hope one day that Heron & Willow will make other people’s lists of must see locations!
*Click on the pictures or titles to find out more
An obvious first choice, not just from an historical perspective, but by the fact it dominates the town. One of many Abbeys in the area, all with their own charms, this 12th century ruin is in surprisingly good shape and its history aligns with the changing fortunes of Jedburgh over the years. At the time of writing (though it feels this may be an indefinite situation) it is not possible to enter the main Abbey building, due to repairs being needed. However, this means entry is only £3 for adults and children are free. There is plenty more to see and if the sun is out, there are some picnic tables to make use of.
At the far end of the town is Naked Sourdough, a wonderful little bakery full of artisan style treats. There’s a cosy place to sit in and eat but loaves, croissants, sandwiches and weekly specials are available to takeaway too.
We could easily do a Top 10 of places to eat, so we’ll save that for another time. But as one of the first places we went upon arriving in Jedburgh, Naked Sourdough really impressed us!
Five minutes north of the main town, up the A68, is Harestanes playground, a mecca for young families and children. There’s a large playground area suitable for a mix of ages. Alongside is a gathering of local artist studios and takeaway cafes, including ice-cream from Mary’s Dairy. For those up for a little more adventure, it is a great starting point for lots of local walks around the area, including up to the Waterloo Monument, which offers stunning views of the Borders.
The second of the Town’s triptych of historical tourist sites is the Mary Queen Of Scots House, which also has some peaceful gardens, ideal for a picnic or a quiet moment. The house itself features exhibitions on the monarch’s life, focussing on her time in and around Jedburgh. The museum isn’t huge, but this plays well into it being child friendly. The building itself is quirky and interesting and fun to explore, but those who wish to learn more and soak it up will be happy. Best of all, it is completely free.
Jedburgh has a lovely river running through it, one which is home to at least a couple of Herons, and a willow tree. You may even find the exact point where inspiration hit us for our name! It’s possible to follow the river the length of the town; it’s an easy walk and ideal for young folks on bicycles or scooters.
If you make it far enough, you’ll come to the bottom of Towerburn Woods. This is a nice, peaceful detour that is especially beautiful in spring.
Every town should have its own Chocolate Shop, right? We were delighted to come across this on our first visit. Alongside its regular core range which can be boxed up as gifts, it rotates its stock and themes it around the rest of the year. It really adds to the quaintness of the town.
Although we’ve singled out Jedburgh Chocolate Shop, the High Street as a whole is well worth a wander. Over the last couple of years, new businesses have begun popping up, and successful ones moving to larger properties. There are great shops for gifts, clothing, curios, antiques, a florist, a butcher, a gallery and much more.
As you become accustomed to exploring the Borders and finding more and more ruins of Abbeys, churches and castles, it becomes even more impressive that Jedburgh Castle looks brand new. It sits so high upon the hill in town that it’s difficult to get a good photo of it, even when you are standing next to it.
Inside, the majority of the experience looks at its history as a Jail, with lots of eerie cells to explore. It also contains exhibitions on the wider history of Jedburgh. As with the Mary Queen Of Scots house, there’s a sense of exploration involved which keeps young people entertained. And, it is also free.
Only slightly out of town is Jackson’s At Jedburgh, which is a working farm that has opened its doors to the public. Many farms do this now to supplement their income but Jackson’s hasn’t created a separate ‘tourist’ side to its operation; instead you are very much on a working farm. There is a trail with some activities for young ones and you can sign up for additional experiences, depending on the time of year, such as feeding lambs. It’s a grounded reminder of the history and heritage of Jedburgh and The Borders. Check out their socials to see what they are up to.
During my first year in Jedburgh, I just enjoyed driving around and seeing what I came across. Trying out a more scenic but less direct route to Kelso, I came across Cessford Castle.
What I love about this Castle, and others in the area, is how they just sit in the landscape. In other parts of the world, this would have a gift shop, a cafe, a kids playground etc. Here, there are a couple of signs for information but otherwise it just sits in a field, remarkably intact. And then you spot the little tunnel, fenced off to keep the sheep out. And you open the gate, and go inside. It really felt like discovering something secret and was a really interesting way to see and experience history.
There are many more things to see and do; for those we weren’t able to include, we’ll keep posting lists in the future!
Dean / Heron & Willow