The mythical town of Selkirk in Scotland is an attractive holiday destination in the Scottish Borders. The region has plentiful attractions, with many more things to do in Selkirk.
Hidden in the Yarrow Valleys of the Scottish Borders, Selkirk has a rich history just waiting to be discovered. This royal and ancient burgh was one of the earliest settlements in this region. Selkirk grew with many notable figures of Scotland like William Wallace and Sir Walter Scott, who are deeply intertwined with one of the oldest royal burghs’ stories.
Things to Do in Selkirk
Selkirk is stocked with unique attractions and things to do, no matter your interest or budget. Its long and intricate history has led to beautiful and unique sights that you can’t experience anywhere else in Scotland.
A trip to Selkirk could have you visiting the beautiful Haining, once home of the Pringle family, or watching the adrenaline-pumping Selkirk Common Riding Festival. There is not only an abundance of historical sites near Selkirk, but multiple places to embrace the Scottish heritage and food of the Borders — anyone interested in trying Selkirk Bannock?
Still want more suggestions before booking your ticket to Selkirk, Scottish Borders? See our guide for the top things to do in Selkirk.
The Home of Sir Walter Scott
One of the premier attractions just outside of Selkirk is Abbotsford, the home of a legendary figure in history.
You can explore the abode of this prominent 19th-century writer who saved the Scottish banknote and rediscovered the country’s Crown Jewels. Abbotsford is a beautiful home filled with luxurious 19th-century furnishings and artefacts, made even more remarkable by the fascinating exhibits that take you through the history of the house and its notable resident.
Outside you can indulge in a stroll through the gorgeous garden grounds, see the visitor centre and gift shop, as well as experience the family fun play trail! There’s so much to do at Abbotsford that makes it such a great attraction to visit.
Halliwell’s House Museum
If you’re entering Selkirk for the first time and want to dive into the history of this royal burgh, then look no further than Halliwell’s House Museum.
As you enter Halliwell’s Close, reaching the House Museum cloaks you into an unforgettable atmosphere, simultaneously mysterious and intriguing. This 18th-century home gives you an unforgettable glance into the everyday lives of those who lived and worked during this time.
Another gorgeous monument near Selkirk is The Haining, the home that once held the Pringle family.
Today, it’s one of the best free attractions in the area, perfect for families touring the countryside on holiday. The buildings that make up The Haining have a traditional design that begs attention, with even more to see around the estate, like the statues of dogs and a beautiful loch.
Philiphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre
On the outskirts of Selkirk sits the Philliphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre, your view into the yearly battle that salmon undertake to reach upriver.
Not only are you treated with a clear panorama overlooking the Ettrick Water, but there’s a visitor centre that lets children enjoy interactive exhibits that inform about the miraculous journey of salmon.
See Golden Eagles at The Eyrie
The golden eagle is one of the most famous creatures in Southern Scotland, and at The Eyrie in Selkirk, you can discover more about these beautiful birds of prey.
Tackling topics like conservation and how to identify golden eagles, there are exhibits aplenty for everyone to interact with and enjoy learning about. The Eyrie is located in the same place as the Salmon Viewing Centre, easily taking up an afternoon of sightseeing.
Mungo Park Monument
The Mungo Park Monument is a great attraction that reminds you of Selkirk’s link to the African continent!
This monument commemorates Mungo Park; a figure is likely more famous in Africa than Selkirk, thanks to being a prominent explorer of the continent. Keen eyes will notice the bronze statues representing Park’s opposition to slavery, his home life in Niger, and the times of peace and war he experienced there.
The southeastern Scottish Borders are home to many excellent art galleries, and the Hainingside Gallery in Selkirk is a cut above.
Home to fine art photography and with a prime town location, it’s a quick stroll away from Halliwell’s House Museum and Selkirk Market Place.
The imagery of M. A. Fitch has been featured in the British Museum of Natural History and other notable sites, all at your fingertips when perusing the gallery.
Bowhill House & Grounds
A beautiful Georgian mansion sits on the horizon from Selkirk, a stunning royal castle that you should undoubtedly consider putting on your list of things to do.
The Bowhill House and Grounds have enough in store to compete for an entire day of your holiday! You can enjoy a guided house tour, stroll along the grounds’ walking trails, and even partake in the tearoom or the adventure playground.
The House has captured photos of traditions and landmarks lost to time and provided an in-depth history of Selkirk village and the Twin Valleys.
Traverse the Borders Abbey Way
Selkirk was the site of the first Borders abbey, a group of Tironensian monks who moved to Kelso Abbey during King David I’s reign.
The Borders Abbey Way links four ruins of abbeys together, looping around between the cities of Selkirk, Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso, and Hawick and covering over 100 kilometres – definitely for the adventurous!
Located south of Selkirk’s high street, the Auld Kirk is a ruined church with an incredible history.
The historic site has various information boards that discuss the significant events that took place here, like when William Wallace was declared guardian of Selkirk in 1298.
Also, check out the information on-site regarding ‘Kirk of the Forest’ that teaches visitors of Auld Kirk about the early religious rituals that took place nearby.
Home to about 500 years of historical love, romance, and charm, the Aikwood Tower is an attraction that any trip to Selkirk is incomplete without.
Not only does this grade A-listed traditional border peel tower offers excellent walking trails and cycling routes, but it is also one of the most romantic accommodations available while visiting Selkirk.
See Ale Water Valley
Just southeast of Selkirk is the stunning Ale Water Valley, home to an array of excellent outdoor activities that cater to both adults and kids.
You can go horse-riding through the beautiful countryside, tee off amidst the rolling vistas of the Scottish Borders, and enjoy fly fishing and clay-pigeon shooting. The Ale Water Valley carves through Border Reivers Country and is a spectacular bit of scenery to travel through as you explore around Selkirk.
Selkirk Common Riding Festival
An annual event in this royal and ancient burgh is the Selkirk Common Riding Festival, which takes place on the second Friday after the first Monday of June.
This festival boasts the largest cavalcade of horses and riders in Scotland. It’s an event that is not to be missed and involves standard bearing, excellent riding events, and plenty of beer and ale! If you’re in Selkirk during the summer, don’t miss this proudly Scottish event.
Woll Golf Course
One of the golf courses in the Ale Water Valley, Woll Golf Course, is a golfer’s delight!
This 18-hole course offers a great blend of challenging and fair play to entertain a golfer of any skill level. The views as you play are breathtaking, and it’s not uncommon to cover the 18 holes over two days.
Bisley at Braidwood
A hidden gem in Selkirk is Bisley at Braidwood, where you can try the sport of clay pigeon shooting using a variety of weapons.
The Braidwood instructors are excellent, accommodate their instructions to your skill level, and ensure your experience at the sports facility is one to remember. You try a mixture of guns, and the complex even allows you to try your hand at virtual reality shooting!
Go Fishing on the River Tweed
The River Tweed attracts anglers from all over the world, and there’s no better spot to fish for salmon and trout in Scotland than along its waters.
You can spend an entire afternoon fishing and chat with the local anglers – interactions like these immerse you into the life and lives of Scotland, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Other Things To Do in Scottish Borders
- Things to do in Coldstream
- Things to do in Galashiels
- Things to do in Hawick
- Things to do in Kelso
- Things to do in Melrose
- Things to do in Peebles