Hop on the Bus to the South of Scotland

by Sara Barton, 12th May 2022
Sustainable Travel Series| Bus travel | Peebles, Scottish Borders
Hop on the Bus to the South of Scotland

Aiming to be more sustainable in our travel habits? One way to rethink your holidays is to change the mode of transport. So leave the car behind and hop on the bus! One of our favourite reasons to take the bus is that they often take the scenic route and here in the South of Scotland that means gorgeous rolling countryside and magnificent coastal views. And it gives you the perfect opportunity to unwind on the way to your destination  – download some Scottish tunes from our App or listen to some of the trails on our audio tours. And once you arrive there is plenty of choice from outdoor activities to quiet pottering in book shops, museums and stately homes. Here are five routes to help you discover the South of Scotland by bus!

Edinburgh – Peebles, Innerleithen & Galashiels

Bus service and line: Borders Buses X62

Journey time: 2 hours 25 minutes

From the heart of Edinburgh you can be away into the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, travelling along the River Tweed with plenty of activities to choose from wherever you alight. There are mountain biking and walking options galore as well as excellent places to eat and drink and plenty of hostelleries for evenings of merriment!

What to see/do:

  1. Go Ape! Peebles offers outdoor arboreal adventures for everyone – swing through the trees of the Glentress Forest.
  2. Just down the road near Innerleithen sits Traquair House, the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland and with an 18th century brewery, enormous Maze, Garden Cafe and plenty of gorgeous gardens to explore.
  3. No visit to the area is complete without a stop off at Abbotsford, home to the great Scottish novelist, Sir Walter Scott.
  4. And a trip to Melrose also means the possibility of visiting Melrose Abbey. This is one of the great Borders abbeys and also where the heart of Robert the Bruce is said to lie.
  5. See Scotland’s history from 420 million years ago to present day at the The Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels. This amazing community art project consists of 160 linen panels each representing a person or event of historical significance.
A man swinging on a tarzan swing., Rachel Keenan
Swing through the forest canopy at Go Ape, in the Glentress Forest near Peebles.

Berwick-on-Tweed – St Abbs

Bus service and line: Border Buses 235

Journey time: 35 minutes

Depart from Berwick-on-Tweed for the gorgeous Berwickshire coast in the Scottish Borders with the possibility of historic house visits, boat trips and/or a stunning hike along the coastal path to finish the journey.

What to see/do:

  1. Follow the Smuggler’s Trail on our Scotland Starts Here App to discover Eyemouth; have fish and chips and ice cream at Giacoppazis
  2. Visit Gunsgreen House, designed by John Adam for the smuggler John Nisbet and ‘adapted’ to suit his illicit activites – see if you can spot the hidden tea chute…
  3. Eyemouth Museum offers fantastic insight into the story of Eyemouth, its people and a great storm that decimated the fishing industry and the town in 1881.
  4. Take a rib trip to see the coast by boat.
  5. Get off the bus and walk to St Abbs on the Berwickshire Coastal Path (6.5km).
If you hop on the bus at Berwick on Tweed it will take you to Eyemouth where you can take a trip on a Rib boat and see the gorgeous coastline from the water.
Get off the bus and onto the water with rib trip from Eyemouth.

Glasgow – Moffat

Bus service and line: Stagecoach 74/X74

Journey time: 1 hr 30 minutes

There is plenty to discover in your escape from the bright city lights to lovely Moffat, where there is wonderful scenery, new distillery tours opening this summer and the reintroduction of golden eagles to the area make it prime territory for ‘twitchers’.

What to see/do:

  1. Walk the Annandale Way which starts in Moffat – read our long distance walks blog for more info.
  2. Devil’s Beef Tub and Greymare’s Tail waterfall are two classic Dumfries and Galloway walks or rent a bike and do the Moffat cycle loop.
  3. Take a tour of the Dark Sky Spirits Distillery which is set to open in summer 2022.
  4. Try to spot Scotland’s national bird, the golden eagle! Moffat is the home of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, rehoming golden eagles from other parts of the country and it has recently been announced there are 33 golden eagles in the region.

Note: The return bus from Dumfries and Moffat will stop on request on the A701 near St Ann’s, making it easy to split the second section of the Annandale way if you choose and want to return back to Glasgow.

Hop on the bus to Moffat and walk the Annandale Way, through the Devil's Beef Tub and try to spot some of the golden eagles that call this home.
From Moffat you can walk the Annandale way, taking in the Devil’s Beef Tub – perhaps you’ll spot a golden eagle while you walk.

Carlisle – Hawick & Selkirk

Busline and service: Borders Buses X95

Journey time 1h 15 min

As you journey north through territory that has been the site of battles and cattle raids, you will look in wonder at the majesty of the landscape that surrounds you. Arriving in Hawick and Selkirk, you will be treated to two market towns with rich histories and thriving futures.

What to see/do:

  1. Take a tour with Famously Hawick – five different businesses offer excellent visitor experiences from cashmere and tweed to whisky.
  2. Come in early May to attend the Alchemy Film Festival, an independent film festival featuring a wide variety of reels.
  3. Find out more about the historical textile past of Hawick at Borders Textiles Tower House.
  4. Sample a wee tipple at the Selkirk Gin distillery, a craft distillery in the heart of the Borders and pay a visit to the wide array of independent local shops and producers.
  5. The Haining is a 1790s grand old house being revamped by a community trust – take a walk around the loch to admire it as it comes back to life.
Walk around the loch at the Haining near Selkirk.

Stranraer – Isle of Whithorn, Whithorn, Wigtown

Busline and service: 416 Stagecoach West Scotland

Journey time: 1h

You need to allow time for moving between towns as there is a single bus each day but you could easily spend a day in each place before hopping on the bus to move on to your next location. You can also follow the bus to its terminus in Newton Stewart. From here there is an express bus service back to Stranraer (X75).

What can I see/do:

  1. Take in the stunning coastal scenery as the bus follows the coast along the Machars Peninsula.
  2. Arrive in time for dinner at the Steam Packet Inn in Isle of Whithorn and, after a good night’s sleep, walk along the coastal path passing Burrowhead to St Ninian’s Cave.
  3. Head for Whithorn and visit the Whithorn Trust which includes the Whithorn Priory, Whithorn Museum and the replica Iron Age Round House
  4. Finally, don’t miss Wigtown and visit the multitude of bookshops in Scotland’s National Book Town.
  5. Be sure to get up early and walk along Wigtown’s old harbour front, see the bird hide and watch the sun rise over the Galloway Hills.
Start in Stranraer and hop on the bus to get to Whithorn where you can visit this replica of an Iron Age Roundhouse.
Visit the Iron Age Roundhouse replica at the Whithorn Trust.