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Peebles 55°39′N 3°11′W (Gaelic: Na Pùballan) is a burgh in the committee area of Tweeddale, in the Scottish Borders, lying on the River Tweed. Initially a market town, Peebles played a role in the woollen industry of the Scottish Borders up until the 1960s. Although one woollen mill remains operational in the town, the industrial compositions of Peebles has changed and Peebles is now home to many people who commute to work in Edinburgh as well as being a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer. Notable buildings in the town include Peebles Old Parish Church and Neidpath Castle. Other local attractions include a museum and the Kailzie Gardens.

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    • More +
      03.12.2004 20:34
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      A very picturesque town surrounded by the hills

      Peebles is set to the northern most part of the Scottish Borders and has a population of around 8,000 people. It can be found in the south east of Scotland and is the largest town in the Borders before reaching Edinburgh directly north. There are always many tourists who come from all around the world to visit Peebles and the High Street is regularly packed with people even during the week. I’ve lived there all my life and enjoy it for the fact it’s quiet and has some fantastic views that cannot be said for most city areas but is near enough to benefit from Scotland’s capital.

      There is excellent infrastructure available to the big cities - 23 miles to Edinburgh and 40 to Glasgow. Buses to Edinburgh run every hour/half hour where you can then either catch the train or another bus to Glasgow. A bus to Edinburgh will cost 3.50GBP for a single and 6.30GBP for a return ticket. Even as a child it was good because I was always able to get around easily and see a lot of the area. Peebles does seem quite a small town but it does mean that other than road, it is easy to walk around and see the main town or the countryside. It’s healthier than city life so children have a lot of places to play and there are facilities such as numerous parks for outdoor sport.

      The town is divided by the River Tweed separating north from south. Set in a valley it is nearly always possible to see a hill from most directions but again this is one of its charms. The centre of the town can be busy with cars or people but look at all hill and it doesn’t seem so busy. The Parish Church has to be one of the main focal points of the town. It seems to be in every picture and towers over the town but at the same time has the practical job of showing the town what time it is. From 7am this clock chimes but best of all brings in the New Year (except the millennium for some reason!). The Church is also at the heart of the town’s main festival which is held every June (3rd Saturday of the month), the Beltane. No matter if you’re a local or a visitor this is one festival that has to be seen. The children dress up and from the three main primary schools; a Queen is chosen to be crowned on that Saturday at the Church. It’s a week long festival so no matter what day it is, there is usually something to be seen. I’d recommend the Friday night because the town shows a huge sense of community during the fancy dress parade – everyone seems to come out to cheer (usually around 7pm).

      Outdoor Activities:

      There are a whole range of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed either within the town or around it. There is an 18 hole golf course to the west of the town which has some great views. It is set above Haylodge Park and apparently it is considered one of the best for its quality turf and greens which do look immaculate each time I have been. As I mentioned before, Wednesday night of the Beltane festival hosts the March Riders and the golf course provides horse racing competitions. Just keep the kids out the bunkers (they are not sandpits!).

      Cycling is another great pastime of many locals and visitors because there are quite a few side roads away from the main traffic to enjoy and challenge yourself over. The one I like best is at Glentress although I do prefer walking there – it’s situated a few miles out of the town but even if starting in Peebles it is possible to go right down into the Borders on the 90 mile course of the Tweed Cycleway. It’s great at any time of the year – during spring the leaves of the trees are just coming out, summer they are luscious green and autumn they change to lovely shades of yellow and fiery red. I’d also highly recommend the Viaduct or the Swear for walking. The Viaduct is a walk I normally take through Haylodge Park but is parallel to Glasgow Road. Half a mile out of the town the first thing to be seen is Neidpath Castle and continuing takes you over the old Railway Bridge. It is a little challenging and not suitable for the older generation or prams etc because there are a lot of rocks to climb over. I only really liked going when the raspberries were out and of course when the sun is shining but it is a great riverside walk. The Swear has one of the best views because it captures the whole of the town from the south west and best to take binoculars – it’s strange to be so far away but if looking closely it has a view right along the High Street and out towards the Hydro Hotel nestled in the hills to the north eat.

      Horse Riding is another popular activity which is provided by the Hydro stables. It is in the hills so away from the main road meaning it’s safer and again there are fantastic views to be seen. Tennis courts are also provided near by which people can play on at any time. There are five courts, 2 of which are floodlit. I play on the courts quite a lot with friends and rarely lose any balls (I’m still not that good at it) but there are also indoor courts found at the Gytes Sports centre… there’s Astroturf for football, the main hall inside is large and has many purposes - suitable for badminton, basketball, yoga/keep fit classes, they hold regular rollerskating parties for kids, bouncy castle (younger kids – a lot of fun though!). There is also a gym there but I always find it best to book first to save disappointment of finding the hall busy.

      Fishing is huge in Scotland and the Tweed provides an excellent source for salmon or trout fishing. With thousands of fish and almost a hundred miles of river it is a very popular attraction for visitors and there is usually a man (or woman) to be spotted anywhere along the river trying to catch something. There are restrictions though and you do need a licence but all information on that can be found at the tourist information. It didn’t stop me during the summer with my fishing net (it’s an achievement catching a tiddler!).

      Not quite an outdoor activity but within the leisure category is the Swimming Pool. It’s not really that exciting as it is just a large rectangle with shallow and deep ends (and a small kids pool) but they do have fun hour which involves a huge inflatable slide. They are a little mean and squirt people with cold water but that’s more of an incentive to actually get to the top and over the other side away from it!

      Places to visit:

      This may be a small town but there is a huge amount of history and there are mainly buildings that need to be seen if visiting as a tourist. Even a local gets all the school trips to visit the different areas. Neidpath Castle as I’ve said before can be found around half a mile out of the town on Glasgow Road. As a walker I’d recommend walking through the park rather than along the road because it can be quite busy and as it is out of the town it does mean the traffic is fast flowing. I’ve only been inside the Castle once but there are tours available (or rather a guide) and souvenirs to be bought. Passing it in later life it does seem to be getting smaller unless it’s me getting bigger but because it’s surrounded by greenery it is very picturesque.

      The Cross Keys Hotel has a great restaurant to its left (Kings Orchard) but the main hotel has a ghostly presence in the form of Meg. I’ve never met her yet. The hotel can be found on the Northgate which is just off the High Street. On the High Street itself though is the Mercat Cross found in the centre of the road at the south side of the street. This marks that Peebles was a market town although now it is generally used as an island for crossing the road (saves me getting run over) and also is the place that begins the Beltane Festival in June.

      The Cross Kirk is a small and in ruins but I like it. It’s in the middle of a built up area but kept in pristine condition. The small grassy area is fenced in but a plaque gives details on the Kirk and a gravel path leads into it. It’s quite eerie at night but during the day when the sun is shining, because the Kirk has no roof it shines right down and it is possible to walk through the middle as well as around the stone building. One of the Beltane ceremonies is held here and it has always seemed a peaceful place to visit. There is also St. Andrew’s Kirk which I always imagined as Rapunzel’s tower. It’s found at the local cemetery but there are loads of old gravestones and it’s quite amazing to see the sorts of stones there are.

      Other places include the many hotels – they each have history such as the Tontine or the County, the bridges which cross the River Tweed – Tweed Bridge, Fotheringham Bridge, Priorsford Bridge, the War Memorial found at the Chambers Institute as well as the Hydro Hotel - seen as one of the best in the town but I love the history of it (I did work experience there so read it then).

      The Eastgate Theatre is still relatively new to the town opening in 2004 but with tickets selling out pretty quickly it shows it is a welcome edition to the town. Films are shown (including foreign language ones), theatre and musical productions as well as many more. There is a great café adjoined to it which is always a great place to stop for a coffee too even if there is nothing on.

      February : Peebles Poultry Show
      June : Beltane Festival
      August : Peebles Agricultural Show
      August : Peebles Art Festival
      September : Peebles Highland Games

      Accommodation

      I’ve looked around prices of hotels etc. to stay at in Edinburgh and was amazed at the difference. Prices there can range up to £3,000 a night compared to the top hotels here charging only £75 a night (£156 for Stobo Health Spa though). Prices begin at £10 a night and there are several caravan parks in the area, bed and breakfasts, inns, and self catering properties (over £100).

      Shops

      For teens, Edinburgh is the place to go. Peebles is quite traditional so caters for middle aged + people but for practicability such as food shopping there are two supermarkets… just a shame they are both Somerfield. There are a few smaller shops like the Co-op which stays open later than other places, sweet shops, banks, quite a few pubs, a small Boots, but for the bargain hunters there are 7 Charity shops!

      Places to eat:

      There are loads! I’d highly recommend the Kings Orchard restaurant for a good quality meal (meat, fish etc.), Franco’s the Italian restaurant for a fantastic pizza, the Indian restaurant, Halycon also gained a very good write up or if you just want a great quality Scottish meal – get a chippy! There are two places to get one and both are pretty good! Meals from all these places can range from around £15 per person down to around £1 for the chips so it is very affordable to get fed here.

      The people are quite friendly here. If you get lost or looking for directions (I do from time to time!) just ask and someone can point you in the right direction. It may be a small place but I love living here – this isn’t the Highlands or a place you’d normally see in the films but the scenery is still breathtaking. The summer is the best time to visit not only for better weather but the town comes alive with celebrations. It’s a very popular town shown by the number of people that come to visit so even as a local there is something to do. I’d highly recommend it – I know people love it for the views but there is so much more to see and do.

      More info on history and accommodation etc. can be found at www.peebles.info

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      • More +
        13.03.2001 20:58
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        I thought I would share some knowledge I have of one of the most beautiful towns in the Borders, Peebles. When one enters Peebles you cannot be anything else but be captured by its beauty. Entering Peebles by any road be that Glasgow or Edinburgh you will find that the scenery is outstanding. Peebles just seems to nestle itself in the surrounding hills quite magnificently. Upon entering the town one quickly notices that the River Tweed should be the focal point of any visit. A walk along the tweed on a sunny day will refresh the parts other places can't reach! The high street in Peebles has a good variety of shops and coffee stops, with some good delis and one of the best butchers in Scotland (Forsyths) There is also a wonderful wine shop called Vilenuves where the staff are most helpful. There are several pubs, which do bar lunches, and about the best of these is the Neidpath Inn, also worth a mention is The Bridge. One of my favourite restaurants is the Sunflower who whilst not cheap do some lovely food and its all got that homemade taste. Worth a visit also is the famous Peebles Hydro where afternoon tea is available for the more civilised among us! Peebles has a very helpful and informative tourist information shop, where B+Bs advertise their accommodation. There is also a Swimming Pool and a well-equipped leisure Centre called the Gytes. If you fancy a sporting event there is normally a local rugby or football match on a Saturday afternoon. There is also a local golf course. Peebles is only an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh, parking is easy and for a day out or even a quite weekend away I would highly recommend it.

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