Day 1: Arrive Melrose
Melrose is easily reached from Edinburgh or Berwick upon Tweed— each with mainline railway stations. There are frequent buses from Edinburgh (approx 1hrs 45mins) and Berwick (approx 1hr 20mins). For those arriving by car, there are numerous parking areas.
Melrose sits at the foot of the Eildon Hills—a sacred site for the early Celts and full of magic. The impressive Melrose Abbey is the final resting place of Sir Walter Scott and the burial site of the heart of Robert the Bruce.
Day 2: Melrose to Kelso
If you are hiring a bike, it will be delivered to your accommodation shortly after breakfast.
Your first day in the saddle is a gentle one and leaves enough time to visit Melrose Abbey if you didn’t manage to see it the day before. You then have two options to get to the nearby Dryburgh Abbey. The easier route follows the Tweed Valley Cycleway by the side of the river, going via ‘Scott's View ‘ of the Eildon Hills. Alternatively you can cycle the short hill to ‘The Rhymers Stone’, a site rich in folklore before dropping back down to Dryburgh.
On leaving the abbey follow the Tweed Valley Cycleway for 4 miles before turning off onto a minor road, past Floors Castle, which demands a visit. Shortly after the castle you’ll enter the attractive market town of Kelso, your stop for the night.
Overnight : Kelso
Kelso Abbey—the largest abbey in the Borders: established in the 12th century, completed in the 13th century, the venue for the crowning of two Kings and suffering many attempts to destroy it in the 16th century, the spectacular northern facade still stands. The attractive cobbled market square is reminiscent of European counterparts and the town boasts several good restaurants and pubs.
Day 3: Kelso to Jedburgh
After breakfast you head south, following the Teviot river past the remains of Roxbugh Castle crossing the Teviot at Kalemouth Bridge. Teviot Water Gardens offer a great excuse to stop for some refreshments. A couple of gradual ascents reward you with views of the Cheviot Hills to the south east. The days cycling ends with a descent through woodland into Jedburgh.
Mary Queen of Scots stayed here, the town was a favourite of William Wordsworth and was visited on more than one occasion by Queen Victoria - Jedburgh has a wealth of history to explore. Jedburgh Abbey deserves a visit, as one of most impressive Borders Abbeys it has hidden a wealth of treasures until recent excavations unearthed them.
Day 4: Jedburgh to Melrose
Today you complete the circuit. The route from Jedburgh takes you alongside Jed Water, up gentle gradients to Mounthooly, with a refreshment stop if you need it. Heading through Nisbet, past the Waterloo Monument and Monteviot house Gardens you’ll reach Ancrum —a good place to stock up on provisions should you wish to picnic later on.
At Bewlie you have two choices—a direct route along a track fording the Ale Water (a footbridge is open) or bypassing this, a slight diversion of about 2.5 miles. Crossing the main road you climb to Bowdenfoot Reservoir. Enjoy the views towards the Eildon hills in the west before a twisting descent through woods brings you back to Melrose.
Once your bike is collected you are free to appreciate your efforts with a final night in Melrose, some fresh local food and perhaps a congratulatory drink.
Day 5: Onward travel
When breakfast is over you can either head home or explore more of the Borders.
The route is fully waymarked with signs for ‘Route 4’ and ‘Four Abbeys Cycleway’. Navigation is easy but please look out for signs at junctions and be sure to follow the correct path as there are other cycleways in the area.
Additional Nights and Extensions
Many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the route to sample more of the area and attractions available in the Borders.
You may wish to request an extra night at Melrose and cycle the 2 miles to Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott—preserved as he left it in the early 1800’s. You could easily spend a day here and in the gardens.
Jedburgh, with its Museum, Castle Jail, the house where Mary Queen of Scots stayed, and the Abbeys visitor centre is another town where you can extend your visit.
At the end of your holiday you may consider a night or two in the nearby Royal Burgh of Peebles. This beautiful town by the banks of the Tweed, with its independent shops, cafes and restaurants is somewhere to explore or simply relax and recharge your batteries.
If you wish to reduce the number of nights we can tailor your trip to suit your requirements.
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose 3-5 star, en suite Guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to cyclists, have secure bike storage, offer traditional hospitality and delicious local food.
This independent cycling holiday is also available to solo cyclists. We can arrange for single occupancy and single baggage transfer for a supplement.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included, leaving you free to choose from the many award winning restaurants along your route. Most of your accommodations are more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request. This should be booked on arrival.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.
A bike in good condition is essential. We would recommend a hybrid or a mountain bike with semi slick tyres. Your information pack has a detailed equipment suggestion list.
We can arrange bicycles for your cycling holiday. Hire includes helmet, lock and repair kit.
Getting to/from Melrose
Melrose is easily reached from either Edinburgh, or Berwick upon Tweed, both with mainline railway stations. There are frequent buses from Edinburgh (approx 1hrs 45 mins) and Berwick (approx 1hr 20 mins).
A good source of reference for travel details is the travel line website www.traveline.org.uk
If you are travelling by air the closest airports are Newcastle and Edinburgh. Newcastle also offers a number of good ferry links with Holland, Norway and Sweden.
Trains from Newcastle to Berwick are frequent and the journey takes around 45 minutes.
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us or perhaps visit our cycling forum for more advice from our clients and team.
How fit do I need to be?
Although the average daily distances are not that long there are a couple of hills that will be encountered. These are not steep or long sections and there are plenty of opportunities to stop, take a breather and enjoy the views
How busy are the roads?
Most of the roads are quiet country and single track roads although some short main road sections are unavoidable. The Borders Region enjoys less traffic than other areas, making it ideal for cycling.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Borders Region is becoming more and more popular with walkers and cyclists. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need a helmet, normal cycling clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers and some warmer cycling clothes, a full detailed kit list will be included in your info pack. If you are hiring a bike your helmet will be included
When is the best time of year?
This cycling holiday is best enjoyed between mid March and mid October. Springtime weather can be changeable but fills valleys and woods with fresh growth, July and August bring long, lazy days and in September/October, although occasional wetter, you get to enjoy the tints and hues of Autumn. As long as you are properly equipped and clothed this tour can be enjoyed at almost any time of year.
What happens if I can’t cycle a stage?
We use a dedicated local service to transfer your baggage and they can normally move you, your bike and baggage to the next stop in case of emergency. Local buses can also sometimes take bikes.
The holiday is available between March and October. Select Book for option prices and to make a provisional booking. We will confirm availability as soon as we receive your booking and deposit.
||Four Abbeys Cycleway
||5 days & 4 Nights
Bed and breakfast accommodation in ensuite rooms
- Door to door baggage transfer.
- A detailed info pack, route notes and map
- Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem
Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
- Entrance fees (where applicable)
- Travel Insurance
- Transport should you need to skip a stage