With thirteen fixtures in the season, Kelso is the home of National Hunt Racing and its race-goers are made to feel really welcome. The Racecourse itself offers breathtaking scenery, in a plush, green setting, with all of the hospitality suites overlooking the magnificent course. On race days, the thrill of the race, the atmosphere, and the stunning location offers a unique experience and a truly unforgettable day out. Kelso Races offers the unique charm of a bygone era, coupled with the very best in modern facilities.
The abbey was built in 1128 by the Tironesian monks from France.
Being so close to the English border, it was repeatedly damaged during all the skirmishes with Scotland's big, nasty neighbour which preceded the ill fated Union. The abbey is in ruins now.
If ruined churches are your thing, the Borders is the place to go. I can think of Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Melrose Abbeys without researching the subject!
The website below gives a good history of Kelso Abbey. Along with the others mentioned above, it was built in the time of (Scottish) King David I. All four were destroyed around the same time (in 1545) by (English) King Henry VIII.
Damned shame really, but what can you expect from that lot.
Greenknowe Tower is a handsome tower house on an L plan, built in 1581 and still retaining its iron gate or yett.Formerly the property of the Gordon and Seton families, in later times it came into the ownership of the Pringles of Stichel and the Dalrymple family.
In the care of Historic Scotland -
This is a well preserved and well restored border tower house dating from the 15th century. Situated on Sandyknowe Farm, it is visible for miles around. Formerly the home of the Pringles of Smailholm and later that of the Scotts of Harden, it was well known to Sir Walter Scott who came to Sandyknowe regularly to visit his grandfather.
The tower was surrounded by a barmkin wall, which enclosed the outhouses, chapel and kitchen.
Three storeys in height with a garret and parapet, it now houses an excellent display of dolls which illustrate the stories from Scott’s ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’.
It is quite a difficult walk from the car park, and probably not suitable for those with walking dificulties, It is also very exposed, so warm clothing is recommended evon on a sunny day.
In the care of Historic Scotland
Admission Charge -
Apart from the castle itself, Floors also has magnificent grounds and gardens, which befit such a residence. There are lots of walks, some taking you by the river tweed. there are also formal gardens, and a garden centre where you can buy plants.
From the grounds of Floors castle, you can hust make out the outline of Roxburgh Castle, which stands on the opposite bank of the River Tweed.
Roxburgh Castle, then known as Marchidun, is first recorded as the residence of the Earl of Northumberland in 1107. After David I renamed it, it became a residence for Scottish Kings over the next two hundred years. Within its walls, kings were born and kings were married, and outside its walls, kings died. It was a massive fortress with four towers and at least one church within its walls. With the Wars of Independence, it became an important site. In 1296 it was captured by Edward I. It changed hands frequently, thereafter, until 1460, when it remained in English hands for 100 years. From 1124 until it was finally destroyed in 1550, it had been continuously occupied by either one side or the other.
Floors Castle is the largest inhabited house in Scotland, with a towered central block and symmetrical, Georgian ranges. In 1721 additions were made to an existing tower house to create a plain country house, which was then absorbed in the construction of a magnificent 19th century baronial mansion. In the grounds is a holly tree, which marks the spot where King James II was killed by an exploding cannon, while besieging Roxburgh Castle.
Castle and gardens - Adults £6.00
Grounds abd gardens only £3.00
A rare example of a simple courtyard castle of the 13th century, the ruined curtain walls forming the basis of a folly built in 1794 for the last Earl of Marchmont.
In the care of the Berwickshire Civic Society
Admission Free - Parking nearby
Kelso has a surpise in its town centre, the frech style cobbled market square, which is surrounded by elegant Georgian buildings. Eating establishments abound, and you can also find the Tourist Information Centre here (very helpfull too!)
It's a shame that they have to use it as a car park!
Springwood Park is only a short walk from Kelso town centre, it consists of forty acres of well maintained parkland and is surrounded by woods and the world famous Tweed Junction Pool. There are also spectacular views of Floors Castle and the outline of Kelso with its medieval abbey, churches and stone buildings.
Kelso Abbey is a Scottish abbey built in the 12th century by a community of Tironensian monks (originally from Tiron, near Chartres, in France) who had moved from the nearby Selkirk Abbey. The monks constructed the Abbey on land granted to them by King David I. The construction commenced in 1128, and when completed fifteen years later, in 1143, it was dedicated to The Blessed Virgin and Saint John.
Kelso Abbey soon grew to be one of the wealthiest and grandest in Scotland, with much of its income coming from its vast estates in the Border country. However, the Abbey's close proximity to the border with England led to it suffering damage from cross-border raids. It was first damaged in the Anglo-Scottish wars at the start of the 1300s, but was later repaired by the monks.
The Abbey suffered serious damage during the Earl of Hertford's "Rough Wooing" campaign (the dispute over Mary Queen of Scots) against Scotland between 1544 and 1547, which caused considerable destruction to many of southern Scotland's abbeys, including those at Melrose, Dryburgh and Jedburgh. The Reformation, which took place in Scotland in 1560, meant that Kelso Abbey had no chance to recover and rebuild. After further attacks and damage the Abbey was declared officially derelict in 1587.
Although derelict, the abbey is well worth seeing, and is only a short walk from the town centre.
In the care of Historic Scotland
Just a stop-and-see tip. There are no admission fees, no guides, no tours. It is the ruins of an old abbey in the middle of a town with Floors Castle just around the corner. (See my tip on Floors Castle.)
Other Border Abbeys worth visiting (see my other travel tips) are Dryburgh (in St. Boswells), Jedburgh, Melrose. Kelso is most ruined of them all. All of these abbeys are located close to each other and can be easily seen in a day's trip to the Borders.