Diary of Events
The events listed here are for your information and enjoyment and are provided in good faith. They may be cancelled or altered by the organiser which is out-with our control. We recommend that you check with the venue/their website for full details.
Border Common Ridings – Summertime
Border Common Ridings and Festivals run throughout the summer each year where towns mark local traditions by ‘riding the boundaries’ on horseback. There is a lot more history to these than might first meet the eye, here is a link that may better help you understand what is going on…..
Scotland Starts Here is a free app that helps visitors explore the region, learn its myths, legends and songs, and find the right itineraries for great experiences.
The Scotland Starts Here app is free to use and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play store.
13th – 15th March 2020 – Borders Art Fair, Kelso
14th March 2020 – Borders Textile Tower House, Hawick Paranormal Investigation
14 Mar 2020 9pm
Borders Textile Towerhouse,
1 Tower Knowe,
Join us for a night of Paranormal Investigation at The Borders Textile Tower House in Hawick with this building being the oldest in the Town the Tower alone is 500 years old.
27th – 29th March 2020 – Reivers Festival, Hawick
Step back in time to the mid sixteenth century when the Borderlands were an area of constant feuding – when loyalties were to kinship rather than king and country and when “Reiving” was a means of survival.
Through music, drama and re-enactments experience what life was really like for the men and women in the Border Marches.
Hawick Reivers Festival aims to help visitors and townsfolk alike Experience, Explore and will endeavour to Explain day to day life in this violent and turbulent period of our history.
Fiercely loyal and independent, hard-working and prepared to fight for what they believed in these men and women of the 1500’s did much to shape the character of the modern day Borderers.
9th- 12th April 2020 – Melrose Rugby 7’s Festival of Rugby
Thursday 9th April
- A Question of Rugby – Join us on Thursday evening in the Melrose Sevens Event Tent to watch rugby stars of past and present battle it out in a fun quiz, when Scotland will take on the Rest of the World team.
Friday 10th April
- U18s tournament
- DJ set in the Gibson Park Bar
Saturday 11th April – the main event
- Inaugural Ned Haig Cup pool games
- 1883 Centenary Cup knockout tournament and final
- Fanzone open until midnight
Sunday 12th April
- Ned Haig Cup pool games and final
- Women’s tournament and final
- Fanzone open until 11pm
- Finale concert – Big Country in concert
Individual event tickets available
25th April 2020 – Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum Paranormal Investigation
Join us at Jedburghs infamous Castle Jail on April 25th 2020 9:30pm until 2:30am.
Jedburghs Jail housed murderers, rapists, thieves and also the drunk. The Castle that was before the jail was in a battle of ownership between The English and the Scottish over many cruel and bloody years.
Jedburgh Jail looks like a grand castle, but inside it’s a different story! The museum is a 4 star visitor attraction and gives visitors a taste of what life was like in a 1820s prison. You can walk through the original cell blocks, see some of inmates and their conditions and follow their stories. Find out why some people thought it was the most comfortable jail in Scotland. The building has also gained a reputation for ghostly sightings!
The Jailer’s house is home to the town museum, telling the story of the Royal Burgh of Jedburgh from ancient times, with exhibitions focusing on traditions, industries and the town’s rich history. Displays trace the stories of some of the town’s famous people – Mary Somerville the mathematician, David Brewster the inventor of the kaleidoscope and James Veitch the astronomer.
Built on the site of old Jedburgh Castle, the building was designed in a castellated style by locally born architect Archibald Elliot – famous for designing Calton Jail in Edinburgh. The Jail also has a ghostly reputation, with paranormal investigations and overnight visits available.
Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum,
16 May 2020 Times vary -Tempest Brewery Co – Springfest
Celebrate the arrival of Spring at the Tempest Brewing Co. The day features fresh brewed beer, street food and local live music. Full details to follow.
3 May 2020 9pm – Hawick Museum Paranormal Investigation
Wilton Lodge Park,
Join us for a night of Paranormal Investigation at Hawick Museum 18th century mansion which became home to the towns museum in 1910 – the oldest museum in the Scottish Borders.
6 Jun 2020 11am-6pm – Victoria Park, Innerleithen
Innerleithen Pipeband Competition
Pipe band contest at Victoria Park, Innerleithen.
Sunday 7th June 2020- Thirlestane Castle, Lauder Festival Of Motoring
BVAC Classic at Thirlestane
A Festival of Motoring Sunday 7th June 2020
With more than 1200 vintage and classic vehicles of all shapes and sizes making the journey to Thirlestane, this is one of the biggest and best car rallies in the whole country. For just a taster look at our ‘Galleries‘ for a snapshot of previous years BVAC Classics. There’s something for everyone at the BVAC Classic.
Vintage, classic and quirky!
‘The best classic car festival in Scotland’
One of the Sunday Times top ten car events
Veteran, Vintage and Classic Cars, Motorcycles, American Cars, Commercial, Agricultural and Military Vehicles will be on show.
A Festival of Fun – a fabulous day out for the whole family with superb attractions, entertainment, live music, shopping, craft village and ‘Taste of the Borders Fair’. All set against the backdrop of magnificent Thirlestane Castle, one of the oldest and finest castles in Scotland.
Sporting Bears Dream Rides
We look forward to welcoming back Sporting Bears in 2020. This is a fantastic opportunity to take a ride in the car of your dreams. The car’s owner will take you on a drive through the Borders countryside, simply for a donation to charity.
Hawick Common Riding – early June 2020 tbc
The Hawick Common-Riding is the first of the Border festivals and celebrates both the capture of an English Flag in 1514 by the youth of Hawick at a place called Hornshole and the ancient custom of riding the marches or boundaries of the common land.
The Cornet for the year is elected at the beginning of May, well in advance of the festival proper, when the Provost’s Council, on the recommendation of the two previous Cornets (called the Right and Left-Hand Men) invites a young man to act as Cornet. The Halberdier, accompanied by the Drum and Fife Band, carries an official letter of invitation to the nominated Cornet. Invitation accepted, the Officer is rewarded with a new “shilling” and asked to carry the Cornet’s letter of acceptance back to the waiting Council. Afterwards the Cornet with his two predecessors walk round the older parts of the town before attending a congratulatory Smoker. From then until the festival is over the Cornet is an honoured figure in Hawick. The first recorded Cornet was in 1703 and other than the World Wars there has been an unbroken line to the present day.
In the weeks preceding the actual Common-Riding, on each Saturday and Tuesday, the Cornet and his supporters are out on their ride-outs in the course of which they visit surrounding villages and farms. The main ride-out, however, usually two weeks before the Common-Riding weekend, is the twenty-four mile ride to Mosspaul and back.
While returning from the rideout on the Saturday before the Common-Riding the principals visit the Hornshole Lest We Forget Memorial to salute the memory of the youth of 1514.
On the Thursday evening of the week preceding the Common-Riding, the first of the Cornet’s Chases takes place up a hill called the Nipknowes on the way to St. Leonards Farm where a local caterer is asked to prepare the customary dish of “curds and cream” in readiness as a refreshment during the actual riding of the marches. This marks the end of the preliminary procedure.
The Common-Riding proper takes place in June on a Friday and Saturday. It had been the invariable practice to hold the riding of the marches on the last Friday in May, but the adoption by this country of the Gregorian Calendar, which removed eleven days from the year, forced the festival into June.
This important week begins on the Sunday with the Kirkin’ o’ the Cornet during a service in the church of which he is a member. This is preceded by the Cornet’s Church Parade in which the principals, together with the followers, walk from the Council Chambers to the church.
In the afternoon the Cornet’s Lass with the Lasses of the two previous Cornets travel to the Hornshole Memorial and lay a wreath.
For full details of this Common Riding which spans several days/weeks click on the link below.
11th – 14th June 2020 **dates confirmed**
Borders Book Festival, Melrose
Selkirk Common Riding – Friday 12th June 2020
An Early start for this event.
A ceremony at the War Memorial at 5.30AM. Ride-Out starts thereafter (6AM)
At least 400 years old and stems back to the time of the “Burleymen”, Burgh Law men who had the task of ensuring no one was encroaching on the town‘s common lands.
In 1513, 80 men from Selkirk followed James IV into battle at Flodden. Only one, Fletcher, survived to return, weary and wounded but bearing a captured English flag which he raised aloft and then cast to the ground. The Flodden legend came to be associated with the Common Riding, with the Royal Standard Bearer as the central figure and the casting of the colours of the main ceremony. The town rises early to follow the band and witness the bussing of the Burgh Flag. The Riding of the Marches lasts about 4½ hours and the riders return to the Market Place for the solemn casting of the colours where various trades and corporations are represented. Celebrations continue onto the next day with horse racing, and professional games.
20th and 21st June 2020
Border Union Championship Dog Show, Kelso
Almost 6,000 dogs compete over two days
Over 200 breeds on display, including many well-known Scottish breeds such as the Golden Retriever, West Highland White Terrier, Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog
The opportunity to see the two breeds native to the Scottish Borders
Dogs competing for a spot at the world famous Crufts dog show, to be held next March.
More than 50 trade stands selling all things ‘doggy’
‘Spectator dogs’ welcome
Almost 6,000 dogs from over 200 breeds will be descending on Springwood Park in Kelso for the popular Border Union Dog Show – one of the largest events of its kind in Scotland as well as in the UK.
The show will see dogs and their owners from all over the British Isles and beyond compete in a bid to qualify for the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts.
The pedigree dogs taking part will be judged on a number of factors in the ring, including temperament and that they are fit, healthy and happy dogs that are good examples of their breed, as they compete for the ultimate ‘Best in Show’ prize.
The show is one of the largest gatherings of dogs in the UK and will see rare native Scottish breeds competing, such as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Smooth Collie, Gordon Setter and Skye Terrier.
These breeds are bred in such small numbers today that they are considered by the Kennel Club to be at risk of disappearing from Scotland’s streets and parks. Alongside these breeds will be some of the more well-known Scottish native breeds such as the Golden Retriever, West Highland White Terrier and Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog.
The show is perfect for families researching the right breed of dog for them, and visitors will be able to meet the dogs themselves as well as talk to experts in each breed about finding a good breeder, what to expect from the breed, and training and care requirements.
The show is one of 37 Group and General Championship Dog Shows licensed by the Kennel Club throughout the year, which enable dogs to qualify for next year’s Crufts.
Melrose Festival Week
Mid June June 2020 dates tbc
- Monday – Rideout leaves the Greenyards 6pm (cavalcade of around 200 horses led by the Melrosian and his officials). 9pm horses return to the Square, Melrose where the Melrosian makes a speech and awards are presented to riders. The Melrose Pipeband plays throughout the evening.
- Tuesday – Melrose Festival Fancy Dress, Gibson park, Melrose. 6pm judging commences followed by a parade round the town centre followed by a disco in Melrose Rugby Club for families. The Melrose Pipeband plays throughout the evening.
- Wednesday – 6.30pm from Gibson Park, Melrose – Melrose Festival Family Bike Ride followed by a family barbecue at Annay Road at 8pm.
- Thursday – 7pm installation of Melrosian and Crowning of Festival Queen at Melrose Abbey (Melrose Parish Church if wet)
- Friday – Fairground rides at The Triangle, Greenyards, Melrose. Melrose Festival Ball – ticketed event.
- Saturday Tour of Ceremonies – leaves Market Square 8.50am arrives back at Melrose Abbey 12pm. 2.30pm Sports in Gibson Park. 7pm Melrose Pipeband play in the Market Square, Melrose.
Instituted in 1938 to commemorate the town‘s history, with the “Melrosian” as the central figure. For viewing the Rideout, it is recommended to be in the Market Square for the start of the ride, which leaves the Greenyards Triangle, and if river levels permit, on either side of the Tweed for the crossing. The Newstead bank is accessed via Millmount Farm and the Gattonside bank from the Chain Bridge.
A rideout, fancy dress parade and community bike ride, among other events, lead up to Thursday‘s ceremony in the picturesque setting of Melrose Abbey, where the Melrosian is installed, the Festival Queen crowned and an oration given by a guest speaker. Saturday sees the Tour of Ceremonies to places of historic interest around the Melrose area. The final ceremony of the Tour takes place at Melrose Abbey, where almost 900 years of history are recalled when the granting of the foundation charter by David I is re-enacted. Children’s Sports and a Festival Dinner conclude the week‘s festivities.
mid June 2020 dates tbc -Peebles Beltane Festival
Beltane signifies the fire of Bell or Baal and originated from the pagan Celtic festival. The festival was in honour of the power which in early summer gave light, warmth and growth. Wednesday evening sees the installation of the Cornet followed by the Riding of the Marches and a ceremony at Neidpath Castle. Following a series of horse races, the mounted procession leaves for the River Tweed and the evening ends with the dancing of the Cornet‘s Reel. After an early morning rideout on Saturday, Festival Day begins with the proclamation of the historic Beltane Fair and the crowning of the Beltane Queen, followed by a grand procession around the town.
Saturday 27th June 2020
Galashiels Braw Lads Gathering
🏁 DATES FOR THE DIARY 2020 🏁
Friday 24th April – Declaration Night
Friday 15th May – Spurs Night
Friday 22nd May – Threepwood
Monday 22nd June – Lindean
Wednesday 24th June – Torwoodlee
Saturday 27th June – Braw Lads’ Day
Established in 1930 to celebrate the town‘s history. Preliminary events precede the main ceremonies on the Saturday which begin with the Braw Lad receiving the Burgh Flag and leading his mounted supporters to the Raid Stane.
Recommended viewpoints for the Riding : 9.00am – Fording the River Tweed at Abbotsford – viewing either at the side of the river or above on the Tweed Bridge. 10.30 am – Old Town Cross at Church Street, Galashiels (non horse event) . 11.30am – Mounted cavalcade make their way around the town. Good viewing point at Scott Street.
The Braw Lad carries the flag over the River Tweed
Here in 1337 Gala lads killed English raiders in a field of wild plums. The ride continues with crossing the Tweed to Abbotsford and returns to the Old Town cross where the creation of Galashiels as a Burgh of Barony in 1599 is recalled. The ceremony of sod and stone (sasine) is enacted and red and white roses mingled on a base of thistles to commemorate the marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor. Sports and gymkhana bring the week‘s festivities to a close.
For timings please see https://returntotheridings.co.uk/galashiels-braw-lads/
4th – 6th July 2020
The Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival
About the Festival.
Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival was first held in 1970, and grew out of the local Accordion and Fiddle Club that met in the Commercial Hotel (now the Liddesdale Hotel). From that initial one day event has grown the most welcoming and family friendly traditional music festival in Scotland!
Over the years there have been a range of competitions, but always based around accordion, fiddle and traditional singing. As fashions change, so has the popularity of various classes, but the core competitions are still going strong, and we love the interest shown in the children’s classes!
Concerts, ceilidhs, sessions, singarounds, and workshops add to the competitions to offer the festival goer plenty of choice, and of course the wonderful Copshaw Common Riding runs parallel to the festival as well – a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed!
Jethart Callants Festival end June – mid July 2020 dates tbc
Inaugurated in 1947 and lasts over two weeks with ceremonial rides to places of historic interest. Various events and ride-outs throughout – see the link below for dates/events.
early-mid July 2020 dates tbc Duns Festival Week
Instituted in 1949 to commemorate the town‘s history and traditions in a week of sports, concerts, rideouts and parades.
In 2018 the Duns Law service will be on Tuesday 3rd July and the Common Riding will be on Saturday 7th July (to be confirmed).
On Monday night the Burgh Flag is handed to the Reiver for safekeeping. The next evening, he leads his mounted followers to the summit of Duns Law for a short service. Here in 1639 General Leslie’s covenanting army encamped to oppose Charles I who was preparing to cross the River Tweed and enforce a form of religion which the Scots found unacceptable. Wednesday is children‘s day in the Public Park. Friday sees the traditional game of “handba”, played between the married men and bachelors of the town. The final ceremonies on the next day include the Riding of the Parish Bounds, athletics and a fancy dress.
The Summer Festival at Duns was set up in the mid twentieth century and is a week long celebration starting on the first Sunday of the month with a wide selection of traditional events including sports, music , dancing and childrens entertainments. On the Tuesday, a cavalcade led by the Reiver make their way to the summit of Duns Law for a service commemorating General Leslie and the Covenanters’ encampment here in opposition to King Charles I in 1639.The traditional Handba game is played on Friday night (see separate article for Duns Ba). On the Saturday, there is a Common Riding boundary marking custom and also fancy dress, concerts and music.
Mid July 2020 dates tbc
Kelso Civic Week
Inaugurated in 1937 and includes a raft race, sports, gymkhana, concerts and rideouts to neighbouring villages.
Kelso Civic Week is a typical series of summer celebrations in the Border tradition dating back to the 1930s and including Common Riding. Common Ridings are a boundary marking custom on horseback. They are mainly held at locations across the Scottish Borders, perhaps because this area suffered from centuries of raiding and reiving between local families and the English, and the locals needed to protect their lands from encroachment. Long after this was necessary, the Ridings survived to become major festivals. The main rideout to Yetholm is on the second Saturday of the festival, but there are other rides including one to Floors Castle and the Whipman’s Ride on the Friday, which is the most traditional of the rideouts and follows the ringing of the Curfew Bell and an Oration. The main protagonist here is the Kelso Laddie with his supporters the Right Hand Man and Left Hand Man- expect a large cavalcade of over 100 equestrians and lots of cheering and flag waving. Other festival highlights include a variety of sporting fixtures, fancy dress, dances, fireworks and a torchlit procession.
24th – 25th July 2020
Border Union Agricultural Show
Springwood Park, Kelso
Traditionally the annual Show is held on the last Friday and Saturday of July each year in Springwood Park, forty-six acres of parkland on the outskirts of Kelso. The Showground is adjacent to the world famous Junction Pool of the rivers Tweed and Teviot with a magnificent view of the Abbey and the unique five arch bridge built in 1802 as a model for the old Waterloo bridge in London.
The Show includes competition for Horses, Ponies,Cattle, Sheep, Donkeys, Goats, Poultry, Rabbits, Shepherds’ Crooks, Horse Shoeing, Young Farmers Stock Judging and Industrial Arts, with over five hundred open classes. There are approximately 200 trade stands including farm machinery, crafts and gifts, motor vehicles, clothing, equestrian goods, food outlets and furniture retailers. There is also the ‘Flavours of the Borders’ Food Fair, a Children’s Fun Fair, Catering and Bars. These are open on both days and there is Main Ring family entertainment on the Saturday afternoon.
End July 2020 dates tbc the National Museum of Flight
National Museum of Flight, East Fortune Airfield, EH39 5LF
On Saturday 27th July 2019 the National Museum of Flight, East Lothian once again plays host to Scotland’s National Airshow 2019.
The air display will feature aircraft old and new, with fantastic formation and single flying from international and UK based teams.
There is a whole day of on the ground activities where you can meet pilots and crews, explore on of Europes best collection of aircraft and take part in aviation-themed and family activities.