What’s on in June in the South of Scotland

by Sara Barton, 16th May 2023
Borders Book Festival | Melrose, Scottish Borders
What’s on in June in the South of Scotland

As spring rolls gently into summer there are plenty of wonderful events taking place across the region. Don’t miss the ever popular Borders Book Festival in Melrose – and perhaps take the time to witness the ancient tradition of the Common Ridings. If you are looking for the ideal Father’s Day out, try the annual classic car show at Thirlestane Castle. Or maybe you want to welcome summer solstice-style at the Crawick Multiverse. These are just a few of the highlights of what is going on – be sure to check our Events page for the latest additions. There is something for everyone this June in the South of Scotland.

Where: Melrose

This four-day extravaganza of more than 100 events will welcome to the Scottish Borders some of the biggest names from the world of literature, entertainment, and politics. Some of the 2023 headliners include broadcaster and writer Sally Magnusson; Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart; award-winning Irish novelist and poet Sebastian Barry; civil rights campaigner and distinguished lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy KC; ex-Labour Leader and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown; Royal Lady-in-Waiting and socialite Baroness Anne Glenconner and rugby legend Will Carling. There will be a programme for children during the weekend and the winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction will be announced on the opening evening. A great event celebrating the written word in the Harmony Gardens in Melrose.

This year’s headline acts include rugby legend Will Carling, former PM Gordon Brown and Baroness Helena Kennedy KC.

Common Riding/Riding of the Marches

Where: Hawick, Selkirk, Dumfries

June sees the start of the Common Ridings, although many of the towns perform ride outs prior to their main event. The Hawick Common-Riding is the first of the Border Common Ridings and celebrates both the capture of an English Flag in 1514 by the youth of Hawick at a place called Hornshole and the ancient custom of riding the marches or boundaries of the common land.

Over in Selkirk, the Common Riding commemorates how, after the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513, from the eighty men that left the town, only one – Fletcher – returned bearing a captured English flag. Legend has it that he raised the flag high above his head before sweeping it low, like a scythe, to indicate that all the other men of Selkirk had been cut down This poignant act is recreated annually at the culmination of their riding.

In Dumfries there are no common lands to protect but a week of summer celebrations ends with the Guid Nychburris Day Ride out as Dumfries celebrates the riding of the Marches, complete with Charter Ceremony, Crowning of the Queen of the South, Parade and Beating Retreat.

Selkirk principles riding up to the Three Brethren , Grant Kinghorn
Selkirk is one of the towns to celebrate its Common Riding this month.

Where: Thirlestane Castle

The annual Borders Vintage Automobile Club Classic, a premier classic car show, set in the beautiful grounds of Thirlestane Castle in the Scottish Borders will make a great Father’s Day out for the whole family this year. This year the event will showcase more than 1,000 wonderful classic cars, fabulous Scottish food, drink, retail and displays. Expect live rally action, kids activities, stunt displays – there will be plenty to watch, making it a wonderful day out for the whole family.

vintage cars at BVAC at Thirlestane Castle
Classic cars will be on display this Father’s Day at Thirlestane Castle.

Where: Kirkcudbright

Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival is back for 2023 with a fantastic selection of bands at a variety of venues. This is a superb celebration of New Orleans, Dixieland and Swing Jazz in picturesque southwest Scotland. On the Saturday morning is the classic decorated brolly parade followed by a free concert in the Parish Church. Over the festival there will be open air events at the Selkirk Arms and the Garret and Jazz Dining at the Auld Alliance and Selkirk Arms on various evenings. Settle down to the likes of the Chicago Teddybears Society Jazz Band or the Glasgow-based Gypsy Jazz Band and enjoy the weekend listening, even perhaps dancing to the sounds of swing!

Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival Brolly Parade
Get into the swing of it at the Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival.

Jim Clark – 60th anniversary celebrations

Where: Duns, various locations

June sees the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Scottish farmer turned racing car driver, Jim Clark winning the Formula 1 World Championships. At Duns Castle estate over the last weekend will be cars that Jim Clark either drove or owned. The weekend also celebrates Lotus and there will also be several Lotus Car Clubs present. The Jim Clark Trust and Museum and Fan Club will have merchandise, art gallery and memorabilia and the museum is bringing the simulator along so your driving skills can be put to the test.

Earlier in the month is the chance to see a new musical about the World Champion racing driver and Berwickshire sheep farmer, Jim Clark.  Torn between his desire to race and his own self-doubt, his parents’ disapproval and his fear of danger, Jim makes an, at times, reluctant entry into the world of motorsport, but a spectacular career awaits as the Scotsman sets motor-racing records, some of which remain unbeaten today. Last season’s shows were sell-out performances so get your tickets now!

Hear the story of local sheep farmer turned Formula 1 World Champion in Jim Clark the Musical.

Where: Crawick Multiverse

Where better to spend the Summer Solstice than at the otherworldly Crawick Multiverse? This land restoration project has transformed a former open cast coal mine into a spectacular artland and is worth a visit at any time of year, but specially so as the summer solstice approaches. This year there will be a week of celebrations co-hosted by The Crawick Multiverse Trust and The Open University in Scotland. As well as these public events, there is a separate programme of activities, aimed at local primary and secondary schools and their teachers, supported by DYW Dumfries and Galloway. The Multiverse will be open daily and there will be multiple ticketed events taking place throughout the week – don’t miss the Midsummer Day’s Picnic!

Summer Solstice Week at Crawick Multiverse
Visit the Multiverse during the day or attend one of the ticketed events during Summer Solstice Week.