Explore one of the Scottish Border’s most exciting towns with our complete guide to Galashiels where we cover the top things to do in Galashiels.
Galashiels is located in the valley of the Gala Water, which lies near to the famous River Tweed.
If are travelling south and would like to get to know the Borders, why not make a stop at this flourishing Scottish town?
History of Galashiels
The town has come along way since it was first recorded in 1124.
Galashiels came into its own in the 19th century. It was one of the main towns for those working in the textile industry. This legacy continues to this day.
The Herriot Watt School of Textiles and Design countryside campus is based here. Herriot Watt delivers one of the best design and production courses for textiles and fashion not just in Scotland but the UK.
Things to do in Galashiels
Tourists visiting have plenty of things to do in Galashiels.
This part of bonnie Scotland is great for families that have kids and for those that would like to see more of the Borders’ beautiful outdoors.
If you’re ready to get started on your next big Scottish adventure this post covers the top things to do in Galashiels.
Braw Lads Gathering
This summer festival is one of the main calendar events for locals.
The Braw Lads Gathering happens across this part of the Scottish Borders in late June every year.
This is an excellent time to visit the town as tourists and riders travel from all over the country to take part in this famous Border’s tradition.
This horse-riding event begins early in the morning when “the braw Lad” receives the celebration’s flag and leads a cavalcade to the Raid Stone.
This historic event also commemorates the marriage of Margaret Tudor to King James IV as the royals became betrothed in the town.
Old Gala House
Old Gala House is set in one of Galashiels most beautiful grounds.
This popular tourist attraction is located near the centre of the town and dates back to 1583.
The grounds were once home to the former Lairds of Galashiels and it is now a wonderful museum and gallery where many tourists to Galashiels go to learn more about the story of the town and its community.
If you are interested in learning more about the town’s textile heritage, this should be a must-see stop on your Galashiels to-do list as the museum brings the town’s history to life.
If you are passionate about Scottish art, the Old Gala House features several exhibition spaces which are open to its visitors. The Clapperton Room within the venue showcases a permanent exhibition which is dedicated to Thomas Clapperton (1879-1962) who was born in the town. Mr Clapperton is most famous for the London Liberty Store frieze and ‘Border Reiver’ war memorial.
Swing into action at one of Galashiels’ popular golf courses. Both courses have a stunning countryside background and both Galashiels Golf Course and Torwoodlee Golf Course welcome new players on to their courses.
If you want to experience some pedal power during your trip to Galashiels, you could join the National Cycle Network Route 1 here and make your way to other popular towns such as Innerleithen and Peebles.
Another famous cycle route is the “The 4 Abbeys”. During this 55 mile ride of the stunning Scottish countryside, you will see four famous abbeys in the Borders: Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, Kelso Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey.
Not got a bike? Not a problem.
You can rent a bike from the cycle hire shop in Galashiels. The local shop also does a delivery service, so you can have it delivered straight to your hotel or apartment!
Scottish Lowland Families
Are you interested in genealogy and would like to trace your Scottish roots?
Scottish Lowland Families offer a research service so that visitors to Galashiels can learn more about their Scottish family history.
This genealogy specialist with over two decades of experience is the perfect contact if you are looking for more information about ancestors from the Scottish Borders, and has a treasure trove of information about the people of Selkirk, Roxburgh, Peebles, Berwick and Dumfries and Galloway.
Many visitors that get in touch with Scottish Lowland Families have already begun their own research into their family tree.
The owner of this local business encourages that you bring this along, in hope that they can continue the search and enhance it with local knowledge and expertise in this area.
Things to do in Galashiels with Children
If you are travelling to Galashiels with children and wondering what activities there are for kids, there are a couple of options for you.
First, there is the Pavilion Cinema which is well loved by the town’s locals.
This spot won the ‘Community Award’ at the 2019 Borders Retail Business Awards.
The cinema shows the freshest Hollywood films, so there will be something on for your kids to enjoy with a pick n’ mix of course.
Mojos Soft Play in Galashiels is another family-friendly pick! Kids will love this fun attraction and adults where they can have fun playing while you relax with a hot cup of coffee and a tasty slice of home baking.
Day trip to Kelso
If you are travelling around the Scottish Borders, make sure you stop off at Kelso.
This stunning Scottish market town is surrounded by glorious countryside and there is a great choice of activities for tourists that visit here.
Kelso is known for its exciting event calendar and welcoming locals, so during your visit here make sure you embrace the town’s culture – you can even visit the UK’s friendliest racecourse here!
The town is a 30-minute drive away from Galashiels and if you are planning on staying the night here you can book in at one of the top hotels in Kelso that My Voyage Scotland has picked out.
Plan your trip and learn more about Kelso at our things to do in Kelso page.