South West Scotland
Turn west from the Borders into Dumfries & Galloway and you're soon breathing fresh ocean air and taking in the incredible views across the Irish Sea towards the Isle of Man. The area is rich in history: it was here, in 1307, that Robert the Bruce launched his campaign to free Scotland.
The area is a mecca for golfers, cyclists, walkers, and sea and game anglers. You'll also find some real hidden gems here: a colourful Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the east of the region and Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town in the west, a feast for the eye in Kirkcudbright Artists' Town and a real treat for the tastebuds in nearby Castle Douglas Food Town.
Heading north you enter the rich green pastures of Ayrshire, a county which is as rich in literary heritage as it is in beautiful scenery. Robert Burns is the most famous of its historical residents, and his Heritage Park is a must-see for visitors. Ayrshire is also one of Scotland's best golfing destinations, with three Open Championship courses and dozens of other fine links courses dotted along its coastline.
The spectacular granite mountains, ancient stone circles and the sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde act as a magnet for walkers, cyclists, fishermen and sailing enthusiasts alike. The Isle of Arran is known as 'Scotland in miniature'.offers a delightful spectrum of Scottish scenery and wildlife.
South East Scotland
The unique Scottish experience starts the moment you cross over into The Borders from England: the accents and the beer change, and you find yourself in 1,800 square miles of spectacular countryside and woodland. The Borders is rich in golf courses - no fewer than twenty-one - and, with the River Tweed flowing through it, also provides some of Scotland's best fishing.
The Borders, as a region, was historically a place of conflict with Border disputes stretching back to Roman times. The Romans built the famous Roman Wall to keep out the Scots but that didn't stop the almost constant warfare between England and Scotland which persisted for centuries. The Borderers took to Reivering, raiding English villages for sheep and cattle, as far south as Yorkshire, for survival. And the English raided right back leaving the Border regions to the mercy of banditry for many years. James the 1st, the first King of England and Scotland, rounded up the Border Reivers and deported or executed them in the 1600's, solving the problem once and for all. Yet some of the most famous families in the World are descended from Reivers including the Kennedy's and the Armstrong's.
The Reivers still colour the Borders region and created a people with a unique sense of freedom, natural intelligence and a love of horses. Many of the towns and villages in the Borders still have a Common Riding in the summer months when the people ride out on horseback and celebrate their heritage.
Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, was born in the Borders and you can visit his house today, just outside Galashiels. Nestled beneath the Eildon Hills, it's easy to see why artists and writers have been inspired by the beautiful countryside, softer than the Highlands with lower hills and broader valleys. With no cities and numerous picturesque villages, visiting the Borders is like stepping into a world of the past where fairies still tip toe through the dells.