Kelso: Scottish Border Town
As I said before, I loved Kelso. It's a quaint little town, and it has more than one bookstore around the town square (it's a real town square, too). I wasn't quite sure all why I was there. It's not very well done in my guide book, and the World 66 Entry was less-than-helpful.
One of the things I found very interesting was the graveyard that's next to the abbey. As I said before, there are many graves placed within the ruins themselves (photos), but this other, larger graveyard has an interesting purpose to it.
Rather than have a large space in the center of town they can't use, and rather than dig up the graveyard, Kelso has turned it into a park. There are lovely old trees towering above your head, and curving paths of stone to walk along. The graves are as preserved as they can be, some repaired and others allowed to fall on their own. It's a very peaceful place, and I loved walking along the shady paths after the abbey. (photos)
But the tourist information board suggested that I check out Floors Castle. It's apparently the largest currently-loved in Estate in the UK, owned by the Duke of Roxburghe. I had never heard of him, but I figured "Hey, castle!" You can never go wrong with a castle, at least not in my mind.
Again... so cute when I'm wrong.
"It's about a mile and a half away!" said the chirpy tourist information person. I figured I could walk that easily, and in fact I did walk that easily. And technically, it is a mile and a half.
To the gate.
I have no idea how long the actual trip to the castle from the gate was. It was very long, and by the end I just wanted to sit and stare at the thing rather than walk around it. It's not really a castle, per se. It's a large house with turrets and the like. Very purty, but not quite what I thought when I first heard of it.
It was amazingly well done, though. Much better and more friendly than Holyrood was. There were many lovely old ladies that were more than happy to answer any questions and make lots of comments about the Duke and his family. There was a lovely view of the 'back yard', complete with sheep, and several amazingly beautiful paintings. One of these paintings was of another ruined Scottish Border Abbey that I intend to see as soon as possible.
It was really quite lovely. I wish I'd had more time to be there, as the grounds looked outstanding, but there was a bus back to Berwick to catch (and grumble about: I didn't realize until I got back to Kelso that I could have taken a bus directly from Edinburgh, rather than taking a train to Berwick and then a bus), and I was in need of not-overpriced food, so I left for the lengthy walk back soon after finishing the tour of the house itself. (photos)
I might recommend Floors if you're interested in that sort of thing, but I really think you can enjoy Kelso just checking out the town and the abbey. But that's my take on things, as I suspect seeing how the other half lives can be quite entertaining.