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.
Throughout July & August
Enjoy Picking your own fresh berries
BORDER BERRIES, RUTHERFORD FARM, KELSO, TD5 8NP
EDINBURGH ROYAL MILITARY TATTOO
Fri, 2 Aug 2019 – Sat, 24 Aug 2019
From its early days, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been an international favourite.
Performers from over 48 countries have taken part in the Tattoo, and around 30 per cent of the 220,000 audience each year are from overseas.
Each year’s Tattoo is very much a ‘global gathering’ – showcasing the talents of musicians and performers from every corner of the globe.
In addition to this, the Tattoo has been televised in more than 40 countries. An annual television audience of 100 million watches the coverage worldwide.
The international flavour of the Tattoo has been deliberately developed as a key element in its capacity to entertain a huge, cosmopolitan audience.
The Tattoo’s unique ability to bring together thousands of people for this annual celebration of music and entertainment continues and the public’s appetite for pomp and ceremony shows no sign of diminishing.
To find out whats on visit :
Edinburgh International Festival
Every August, the Edinburgh International Festival transforms one of the world’s most beautiful cities, presenting three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts.
Edinburgh’s six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.
To find out whats on visit :
Edinburgh Fringe Festival –
What makes it special?
- Totally open-access, the Fringe is proud to include in their programme anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them.
- Audiences can enjoy theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
- It’s a magnet for creative producers, the industry and the media making it the biggest and most dynamic international arts market in the world.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Saturday 10th August – Monday 26th August 2019
Visiting the Festival – plan ahead and book you tickets
Set in a specially created tented village in the heart of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Book Festival offers something for just about every age and interest, bringing readers and writers together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion.
The Book Festival welcomes around 1000 authors in over 900 events for adults and children each year including novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers, sportsmen, illustrators, comic creators, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists, economists, Nobel and Booker prize-winners and many more besides.
The 2019 Book Festival will take place from 10-26 August.
Full details of the programme, including authors, themes and events with BSL interpretation and captioning will be available here from mid-June.
Entry to the Book Festival Village is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome! There is much to enjoy during a visit to the Book Festival, it’s not only about the events. The Festival’s home, the beautiful, leafy Charlotte Square Gardens (at the west end of George Street, a minute’s walk away from Princes Street), is a wonderful space in which to sit, talk, think, play and be entertained. Our tented village is expanding out to George Street this year with two new venues and seating areas so there are even more opportunities to relax and be entertained. You can see a favourite author, join in a workshop or debate, enjoy a cuppa in the café, a beer or a wee dram in the Spiegeltent, or simply park yourself on the grass (with or without a book) and soak up the atmosphere.
The festival run two independent bookshops in Charlotte Square Gardens – one for adults and one especially for children. They stock thousands of titles by visiting authors plus a wide array of contemporary literature, with all proceeds going directly back into the Book Festival. This year, we also have a pop-up Booksales Hut on George Street, stocking a small selection of titles.
There are plenty of refreshments on site with three cafés offering a variety of fairtrade hot and cold drinks, light snacks, yummy cakes and ice-cream plus a fully-licensed bar.
And there is a mini-festival called Unbound – it takes place in the Spiegeltent from 9pm until 11pm and offers authors the opportunity to try new approaches. You can expect a mix of literature, music, a good glass or two of the fine stuff and a few surprises. It is absolutely free, so come along one evening with some friends and soak up the atmosphere. The full programme will be announced in July.
Remember, entry to the Book Festival Village is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome!
Sunday 25th August 2019 – Massed Pipe Band & Family Fun Day. Floors Castle, Kelso
Now a well-established tradition, the Massed Pipe Bands Day was initiated by the present Duke’s father who recognised in the spectacular setting of the Castle, the most evocative backdrop for an event of this nature.
A fantastic day out for all the family featuring Pipe Bands from across the Scottish Borders and Lothians and a fantastic display of Highland Dancing by Graham Highland School of Dance.
Watch spectacular Pipe Bands from across the Scottish Borders perform – it really is a sight to behold! There will also be children’s entertainment, catering & refreshments, emergency services demonstrations and much more.
The Courtyard Café will be open all day for you to enjoy delicious homemade paninis, soups, hot & cold drinks and ice-cream! Or, why not take a stroll over to the Terrace Café for a delicious dine-in lunch made from the finest seasonal local produce. We will also be serving our famous afternoon teas – the perfect Sunday afternoon treat to enjoy with family and friends.
Event admission of £10 per adult, £5 per child includes access to Gardens and Grounds.
7th – 14th September 2019
Scottish Borders Walking Festival
The Scottish Borders Walking Festival first took place in West Linton in 1995 and since then has moved around the area on an annual basis. It is the longest established walking festival in Scotland.
The festival is overseen by Scottish Borders Council and organised each year by different Borders’ communities. It normally takes place in the first week of September, with 3 to 5 walks per day of varying lengths, and includes a programme of evening entertainment.
Booking for the 2019 Festival will go live at Midnight 31st March 2019. Here’s a sneak preview :
- 28 Guided Countryside Walks – led by our wonderful Countryside Rangers and local walking enthusiasts.
- Daily Free and Easy Strolls with special interest themes.
- Social events every evening, including presentations on local culture, history and photography, a pub quiz, a play about 19th century Selkirk medic (and walker) Dr John Muir and of course a ceilidh!
- Selkirk Farmers Market and the Yarrow Country Show
- And a fabulous Festival First Night Welcome in Selkirk’s grand Victoria Halls with guest presenter Cameron McNeish from the BBC’s “Adventure Show”.
6th – 8th September 2019
Kelso Folk Festival – Various Venues throughout Kelso
So why do so many of visitors come back every year?
Is it for the fantastic food and drink? Delectable delights and tasty treats from our wonderful street food vendors and amazing artisan producers. To polish up their culinary skills with our free Chef Demos? Or, to get stuck in with the Bake-Off stars on our free, interactive Bake Stage? Or maybe, it’s our cocktail of niche bars, with their tempting tipples, ready to enjoy?
Perhaps it’s for the memorable moments, soaking up the atmosphere, chilling to some fabulous live music, sampling the Cake-Off creations, being entertained by the (slightly crazy) Men v Food warriors, all the while enjoying the stunning surroundings of some of the country’s most beautiful stately homes? Oh and yes, we do make sure their children are blissfully amused, and the dog can come too!
Guided foraging walks, chef demos, cookery classes and numerous food vendors at various locations across the UK.
Nestled at the heart of the diverse Roxburghe Estate in the beautiful Scottish Borders is the outstanding Floors Castle. We are delighted to be back for our 2nd year at Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle.
Floors Castle is one of Scotland’s most historic houses and, included in your food festival ticket, the gardens and grounds are open to our visitors and are a delight to explore. Combining one of the finest Victorian kitchen gardens in the spectacular Walled Garden with the formal Millennium Garden, the gardens at Floors are a showpiece of seasonal interest and inspired new creations. You can also entertain the little ones on the adventure playground, located within the walled gardens and enjoy beautiful woodland and riverside walks throughout both the formal and informal gardens, all for free and if you would like to see inside the castle itself, you can upgrade on the day for just £5!
Why not book for a festive stay at Kirkton Cottage!
June 2020-date tbc Thirlestane Castle, Lauder Historic Motoring Extravaganza
Over 600 cars, motorcycles, military, agricultural and commercial vehicles are expected in the “Open” concours classes together with some 500 vehicles gathered around fifty “Club” stands. Live music, good food, an opportunity to shop and a range of displays and family friendly activities will make it an unforgetable festival for all who attend. We are once again expecting to welcome the Sporting Bears MotorClub who will be putting on Dream Rides in a range of classic and modern sports cars.
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.
Selkirk Common Riding – mid June 2020 dates tbc
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.
11th – 14th June 2020 **dates confirmed**
Borders Book Festival, Melrose
Mid June 2020 dates tbc
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
Click here for the website : http://www.returntotheridings.co.uk/melrose.html
- 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.
June 2020 dates tbc –
Galashiels Braw Lads Gathering
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.
July 2020 dates tbc
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.
End July 2020 dates tbc
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.