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Nestled in the heart of the Scottish Borders is a buzzing little town called Kelso. Although it is surrounding by the countryside, there is plenty to see and do here as its community is always up to something. Our complete guide to Kelso explores the top things to do and hotels in kelso.

Your Complete Guide to Kelso

The welcoming and enthusiastic nature of the locals here make it an excellent holiday destination for those that want to explore the best that Scotland has to offer.

Discover more about the activities and events that happen in Kelso throughout the year and the best places to stay in this Scottish market town.

main street things to do

Things to do in Kelso

If you enjoy the finer things in life, then a weekend break in Kelso is something that you would enjoy. From farmers markets to folk music nights you can experience so much during a short time here.

We have created a full list of things for you to do when you visit Kelso.

Kelso Abbey

Slap on the edge of Kelso, the old abbey is a shadow of its former glory being cannoned during the Rough Wooing during the 1500s. However, the is but still a fantastic example of medieval, Romanesque architecture.

Kelso Abbey was built in 1128

Admission is free!

Floors Castle and Gardens

Floors castle

Floors Castle, built in 1721 is Scotland’s largest inhabited castle. The castle is currently inhabited by the 10th Duke of Roxburghe and his family. However, you can still visit the castle at specific opening times.

The castle offers a traditional Victorian walled garden and glasshouses, superb walks, the Millenium garden and much more.

A walk around the gardens alone is well worth the visit!

Farmers Market

farmers market

Who doesn’t love wandering around the stalls of a farmer’s market? It’s great nibbling away at all the goods on offer and taking home fresh produce from local providers.

Kelso locals and vibrant tourists attend the market at Kelso Square on the fourth Saturday of the from 9.30am till 1.30pm.

A range of foods are on offer at the event – something for everyone Alcohol is also sold along with, soaps and body care products, knitted and hand-crafted items, garden plants.

Kelso Racecourse

Racecourse things to do kelso

We bet you will love our next choice!

Known as Britain’s Friendliest Racecourse, you can enjoy a great day out at this venue in Klothos National Hunt Racecourse hosts racing from September through until May.

If you are wondering the best way to get here, Kelso Racecourse sells a ‘Track 2 Track’ pack, which gives visitors return transport from Tweedbank Station to the racecourse, ensuring that they have stress free day and can enjoy the course’s hospitality to the fullest – we told you it was friendly!

Smailholm Tower

Smailholm tower things to do kelso

5 miles outside of Kelso, Smailholm Tower is a peel tower atop a rocky outcrop of Lady Hill with expansive views over the immediate countryside.

You can tour the inside of the tower but the real value is in the walk and views.

Kelso Folk & Live Music Club

Live music things to do kelso

The beauty of visiting a small Scottish town is that you will get a chance to see something a little bit unique.

The town’s Folk & Live Music Club perform on a Friday at The Oak Room, Cross Keys Hotel. On the night the club will jam to both traditional and contemporary music while guests can watch and enjoy in comfortable lounge settings.

New performers and audience members are always made welcome and entrance is free.

Beirhope Alpacas

Alpacas things to do kelso

What’s more chilled out than hanging around with Alpacas in the foothills of the Cheviot Hills?

This family-run smallholding invites guests to come along and enjoy the stunning scenery around Kelso in the company of their furry friends.

Apparently, the Bierhope Alpacas “love to be fussed over” – where can we book?

Kelso Cycling Routes

cycling things to do kelso

Leaving Innerleithen

Kelso is a wonderful place to explore by bike.

Routes that run through the town include the Scottish Borders with The Borderloop, The Tweed Cycle Route, The 4 Abbeys Cycleway and The Coast and Castles.

Hotels in Kelso

Kelso is well known for its wide range of luxury hotels. Visitors travel here to enjoy Scottish hospitality and to relax in one of the loveliest parts of the Scottish borders.

We have listed our top picks for accommodation in Kelso below.

Hotels in Kelso Star Pick – Cross Keys Hotel

hotels in kelso

The Cross Keys Hotel is in a building that dates to 1769. You will find this hotel in Kelso situated in the heart of the town as its town centre’s cobbled square and the 12th-century Kelso Abbey.

This is a popular choice with tourists the location is not only perfect, but the hotel’s large and spacious rooms are extremely desirable.

The Townhouse Kelso

hotels in kelso

One of the luxury hotels in Kelso The Townhouse is rated highly by its guests. Once you arrive at this stunning Georgian house hotel you will be completely charmed by its sophisticated bedrooms and bathroom suits.

This is a great location if you want if you are travelling to the town for an event at Kelso Racecourse as it is less than two miles away.

Ednam House Hotel

hotels in kelso

This pet-friendly hotel in Kelso is set by the riverside. The mansion dates to the 1760s and is full of traditional décor and charm.

While you stay at Ednam House Hotel enjoy a first-class culinary experience from the hotel’s AA rosette-awarded restaurant – the Riverside. It serves “the best produce from the fields, rivers, and shores of the Scottish Borders”, You will not be disappointed!

Queens Head Hotel

hotels in kelso

The Queens Head Hotel in Kelso offers guests to the town excellent value for money.

If you want to socialise and get to know the locals during your trip to Kelso, this inn in Kelso I the perfect place for you. This former winner of Best Bar None’s “Best Hotel Award” is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy whisky or two after exploring this glorious part of Scotland.

The Old Priory Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast Kelso

This family-run B&B in the beautiful town of Kelso. It has a worldwide fan base as it has been named ‘Pick of the Town’ for the past 9 years by Lonely Planet and Rough Guide.

Guests at the Old Priory are made to feel at home by the hosts here and can enjoy the comfortable rooms at this cosy B&B in Kelso.

Self-catering Kelso

Are you looking for a self-catering base in Kelso? The town has several apartments and cottages that are available in the centre of the town.  We have selected our top option for you.

Hendersyde Holiday Cottages

accomodation in kelso

Hendersyde Holiday Cottages is our top pick for group travellers and families that want to enjoy a self-catering experience in Kelso.

These farm cottages are not just traditional and cosy, they have everything guests need to live in for a weekend or a longer stay. Picture yourself here enjoying a Scottish Sunday roast by the cottage’s open fireplace.

Rated four-star by the Scottish Tourist Board, make sure you are booking up in advance as this location is extremely popular as some guests return here every year!

More Things to do in the Scottish Borders