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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 12/11/2021

A self-guided walking holiday through the Tweed Valley, launched in autumn 2020 as quarantine restrictions continued to make overseas destinations difficult, has become the best-selling holiday ever in one year for Inntravel, a specialist slow travel company with a 37-year history.

Launched using the topical hook of the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth in 2021, the company was confident that the chance to explore a region that inspired not just Scott but also many others before and after would be popular.

 

Neidpath Castle

 

The holiday is a six-night hotel-to-hotel walk, with overnight stays at the Tontine Hotel in Peebles, Caddon View in Innerleithen and Burt’s Hotel or The Townhouse in Melrose. It attracted walkers from all over the UK, the Tweed and the Scottish Borders.

Expertly written route notes ensure that navigation is easy, while hotel-to-hotel luggage transfer, provided by local company BARC Travel, ensures that walks are accessible to all. 

Guests walk from Peebles to Innerleithen and on to Melrose, with a choice of routes – some easy-going, some much harder – between each destination. Along the way, they are encouraged to get under the skin of the area, following the River Tweed to explore key local landmarks such as Neidpath Castle, St Ronan’s Wells, Traquair House, the site of the Roman fort of Trimontium, Melrose Abbey and the Eildon Hills.

There is also, of course, a visit to Abbotsford House – Scott’s home on the banks of the river.

 

Abbotsford House

 

In keeping with Inntravel’s slow travel philosophy, the focus is on a sustainable, immersive form of travel which embraces local food and the use of welcoming, family-run hotels and guesthouses.

Prior to the pandemic, the UK had not been a major area of focus for Inntravel, with most of its walking holidays in destinations such as Spain, Italy and France. However, with overseas travel not possible the Yorkshire-based company began to look closer to home.

We started the River Tweed holiday in the most challenging of situations, with an initial six-week run of trips from September to October 2020. We were so impressed at how all the local accommodation providers and suppliers responded.

In many ways, a good holiday looks after itself and that’s exactly what has happened here with each local business taking care of things in a way that all can be very proud of.

This year, the trip has run from mid-May to the end of October, with numbers surpassing even those of a long-standing guest favourite – a seven-night walking holiday along the Catalan coast.

We have seen a phenomenal response to the River Tweed holiday. This is an under-visited area that has really captured the imagination of our guests. We chose three authentic Borders towns as our overnight bases and then built the trip around the rich literary, cultural and natural history, using the Tweed to help tell the story.

Alison Temple, Product Manager at Inntravel

There are so many reasons to celebrate this kind of holiday coming to the area. With so many strong messages around responsible tourism, slow travel, authenticity and use of local businesses, it’s exactly the kind of experience-led tourism that we like to encourage.

Rich Rowe, Project Officer at the Tweed Valley Tourism BID

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