Robert Burns in the South of Scotland

Driving Route

Robert Burns in the South of Scotland


Burns is very present in the South of Scotland, he lived in and around Dumfries, and died and was buried in the town.

In his role as an excise man he will have visited many towns across the South but, as his celebrity rose, he dressed as a gentleman and was welcomed at tables across the region to entertain and amuse.

We follow with some of the highlights and more amusing stories about Burns' travels in the South of Scotland. Dumfries is really all about Burns. If you like the idea of following a set route with insights into the poet’s life in Dumfries, there is a handy In the Footsteps of Burns town trail map with downloadable information! It starts from the Tourist information point:

When you reach Dumfries, you will find that all the points of interest are within a short walk of each other and there is plenty of free parking in the town.

285.5mi / 460km
Total climb:
17,482ft / 5,330m
Total descent:
17,712ft / 5,400m
Towns along route:
Duns, Eyemouth, Coldstream, Kelso, Jedburgh, Earlston, Galashiels, Selkirk, Moffat, Lochmaben, Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet, Wigtown
Our best efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of data, however the data and geographic information contained along route lines and on maps should be used for informational purposes only.

What you'll see


Towns & Villages

In Burns' time, Duns would have been a thriving market town and crucially, the location of Berrywell, family home of Robert Ainslie’s family, used as…

Pease Bridge - Cocksburnpath


While this is only the second stop on our tour, Burns had done most of the Borders tour with Robert Ainslie by the time the…

Coldingham Priory - Coldingham

Early Christian, Museums & Exhibitions, Religious Buildings

There has been Christian worship on the site for over a thousand years and the present Priory Church building includes walls dated to around 1200.


Towns & Villages

The historic town lies on the East Coast only 5 miles north of the border with England and welcomed Burns with open arms when he…


Towns & Villages

The Coldstream Bridge over the River Tweed delineates Scotland from England today as it did in Burns’ time. It is the first time Burns would…


Towns & Villages

The large town of Kelso lies near to the meeting point of the River Tweed and the River Teviot. Its bridge drew the eye and…

Floors Castle - Kelso

Visitor Attractions

In Roxburghe, Burns visits the ruins of the castle and notes he has seen the bush said to mark the spot where James II of…


Towns & Villages

Jedburgh was once a valuable market town with an excellent trading position between Scotland and England. It was a natural stop off point for many…

Dryburgh Abbey - St Boswells

Visitor Attractions

Dryburgh Abbey is a remarkably complete medieval ruin by the River Tweed, clearly demonstrating the monastic life. You can still see plaster and paintwork inside…


Towns & Villages

In this market town is an ivy-clad ruin called Rhymer's Tower, a keep which dates back to the early 1200s. It is said to be…

Melrose Abbey - Melrose

Visitor Attractions

One of the four Border Abbeys, the heart of Robert the Bruce is buried in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.


Towns & Villages

This popular market town is world renowned for its textile industry which began its flourish in the 19th century. Robert Burns wrote the poems "Sae…


Towns & Villages

Selkirk is one of the oldest Royal Burghs in Scotland and it is also the setting for one of the amusing anecdotes of Burns’ Border…

Traquair House - Peebles

Visitor Attractions

Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. Visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens, Traquair dates back to 1107. Traquair has welcomed many visitors from all over the…


Towns & Villages

On more than one occasion Burns passed through Moffat, including on his triumphant return to see Jean Armour following his Borders tour in 1787.


Towns & Villages

Lochmaben is an ancient royal burgh with a rich history - Lochmaben Castle once being the home of Robert the Bruce when he was Lord…

Brow Well - Ruthwell

History & Heritage

Brow Well was renowned for the healing properties of its water throughout Dumfriesshire.

Robert Burns Statue - Dumfries

Historic Buildings, Monuments & Statues, Monuments & Statues

Unveiled in 1882 and restored in 2005, this statue of Robert Burns was commissioned by Dumfries town council in 1877.

Theatre Royal Dumfries - Dumfries

Arts & Culture

The oldest theatre in Scotland, Theatre Royal Dumfries is in the heart of the town, first opening its doors in 1792. It has strong associations…

The Globe Inn - Dumfries

Bars & Pubs, Fine Dining, Restaurants

The Globe Inn - Burns' Favourite Howff

Robert Burns House - Dumfries

Visitor Attractions

Visit the house where Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, spent the last years of his life and discover how his family lived in the late…

Jean Armour Statue - Dumfries

History & Heritage

The statue of Jean Armour in Dumfries was erected by the Burns Howff Club opposite St Michael’s Kirk, the site of the Burns Mausoleum, in…

Robert Burns Mausoleum - Dumfries

Historic Buildings, Monuments & Statues, Monuments & Statues

The Robert Burns Mausoleum stands at the eastern end of the churchyard of St Michael's Church.

Robert Burns Centre - Dumfries

Museums & Exhibitions

The Robert Burns Centre tells the story of Robert Burns’ last years spent in the bustling streets and lively atmosphere of Dumfries.

Robert Burns' Ellisland Museum and Farm - Dumfries

Museums & Exhibitions

Recently declared the most authentic of Burns’s homes, Ellisland Farm gives a compelling insight into the early married life of the Ploughman Poet and Jean…

Friars Carse - Auldgirth

History & Heritage

In Burns’ time this modern country house hotel was known as Glenriddell, home to his friend Captain Robert Riddell.

Kenmure Castle - New Galloway


Said to be the birthplace of John Balliol in 1249, the site of Kenmure Castle passed to the Gordons in 1297. It was torched after…


Towns & Villages

The tidal River Dee at Kirkcudbright provides one of the best natural harbours on the Galloway coast. In Burns time the Earls of Selkirk were…

Gatehouse of Fleet

Towns & Villages

Gatehouse, once the tollbooth for Stage coaches, has entrepreneur James Murray to thank for its relative growth in the late 18th early 19th centuries. In…


Towns & Villages

Today known for being Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown was once a thriving market town.