What’s On this June

by Sara Barton, 29th May 2024
Borders Book Festival | Melrose
What’s On this June

This month is fizzing with events across the South of Scotland from the annual equestrian festivals across the region to the 21st Borders Book Festival. There are grand houses to tour and explore, music festivals galore and vintage car and bike festivals and so much more! Here is our summary of what not to miss but be sure to check out all of the events happening throughout June.

June sees the start of annual celebrations surveying the boundaries of towns throughout the South of Scotland.  This tradition, done on horseback, has been taking place for centuries. The festivals surrounding these ride outs commemorate the local history with music, song, parades and concerts culminating in the whole town celebrating. Steeped in tradition, these are some of the biggest and oldest equestrian festivals in the world. The festivities start, as is tradition, in Hawick. This is followed by Lockerbie, Kirk Yetholm, Selkirk, Dumfries’ Guid Nychburris, Melrose, Peebles, and the Braw Lads gathering at Galashiels.

Common ridings in the Scottish Borders
Enjoy the spectacle of the Common Ridings across the South of Scotland this June.

This annual literature festival returns for its 21st year featuring well-known names as well as new emerging voices across the spectrum of the literary world. This year’s headline acts include Scotland’s own comedian Janey Godley discussing her acclaimed memoirs. Well-informed Westminster insider and broadcaster Robert Peston and former MP Alan Johnson will be discussing their new novels; while BBC stalwarts Clive Myrie and recently retired Rory Cellan-Jones are sharing anecdotes from their memoirs. David Nicholls, of One Day fame, will be celebrating his latest novel, You Are Here. There will be a celebration of the centenary of Scotsman Eric Liddell’s historic 400m Olympic win in Paris as well as the Children’s Book Festival over the weekend.

The Borders Book Festival includes a weekend Children’s festival.

Head to our grand houses and castles

Thirlestane Castle is offering a series of tours focusing on different aspects of the house’s collections this summer – Art & Architecture, Military, and the Maitland Family history which all culminate with a light lunch. Or perhaps you’d prefer a general overview tour with afternoon tea for a relaxed day out. At Neidpath Castle, the Tweed Valley Blogger will take you on an enchanting journey through the history of this stunning fortress. Garden aficionados will delight in a private garden tour with the assistant head gardener of Floors Castle – the main attractions are the peonies and the Tapestry Garden. Afterwards there is time for fizz and canapés and time to get some tips from the expert. Gilnockie Tower is offering a tour midway through its Father’s Day whisky tasting which sounds like an excellent gift for your male relatives! Paxton House is hosting an antiques fair with more than 80 reputable dealers offering a wide variety of stock. Book in for a house tour on the same day and take inspiration from the incredible collections on display – perhaps you’ll be inspired to go in search of your own heirloom of tomorrow at the antiques fair afterwards

Neidpath Castle
Join the Tweed Valley Blogger for a deep dive into the history of Neidpath Castle.

Joy on wheels

At the beginning of the month is the annual BVAC festival at Thirlestane Castle. There is plenty for the whole family to see and do as collectors bring their shining vintage cars for display, boasting and general camaraderie set against the stunning backdrop of the castle, which is open for tours for the day. Or opt for two wheels and head to the TweedLove Bike Festival in Peebles where three days of cycling take over the town. There are events, stands, and this year the LoveTouro open road race on the last day.

TweedLove Bike Festival takes place in the middle of June for three days.

Hear the music

Who can resist the title of George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain! And just wait until you hear the music! This all-singing, all-plucking orchestra has no drums, pianos, backing tracks or banjos -only the astonishing revelation of the rich palette of orchestration afforded by ukuleles and singing and a repertoire from ABBA to Tchaikovsky via Nirvana and Lady Gaga!  In Gatehouse of Fleet is a free three-day Midsummer Music Festival making music accessible to all over the summer solstice weekend. Or perhaps your tastes lean more towards the Jazz Funk Soul Festival being held in Newton Stewart at the end of the month. Whatever you choose we hope you have a harmonious time.

Expect a versatile repetoire from the Ukulele orchestra of Great Britain!