A Full Guide to the Quaint Peebles

For the last month or two, we’ve been releasing numerous guides on the more underrated places to visit in Scotland. These include Perthshire, Fort William, Dundee, and Stirling, but really, all of these locations are still pretty popular. Each gets thousands of tourists every year, so we wanted to go a bit more obscure with this blog and talk about a real unsung hero. 

That being Peebles, which is a small town nestled along the River Tweed. For anyone renting a motorhome in Scotland, this is a perfect, picturesque place that offers an opportunity to experience the country without any of the hustle and bustle you might get in places like Fort William or Dundee. So with that being said, let’s take a look at why it’s so good – other than the fact it’s called Peebles!

Peebles: A History

Located in the Scottish Borders, Peebles has a rich and varied history that echoes back to the Iron Age. This is when early settlements – now hillforts and ancient burial sites – began popping up around the surrounding hills, built upon when the Roman Empire began their occupation of Britain. 

While Peebles was not a significant Roman settlement, the presence of nearby Roman soldiers certainly had an influence on the local population and trade routes, but it didn’t become anything like a ‘town’ until around 1152, when King David I granted it royal burgh status. 

Over the next few years, it became known for its woollen mills and textile production, prospering as a town for trade and commerce – with the River Tweed making it an ideal spot for transporting goods. Today, it remains a bustling market town, retaining much of its historic character and a considerably lively town centre. 

A Day in Peebles

This is what you can expect when you take one of our vehicles to Peebles, but one thing you might not expect to find in a ‘bustling market town’ is how quietly quaint it is. One of the best things about Peebles is its relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, with the riverside setting giving it a tranquil ambience and natural scenery. 

There are plenty of things to do when exploring here too, including lunch by the river – with numerous riverside eateries offering delicious, quintessential Scottish foods, including good old fish n’ chips – a hike over the nearby hills, or exploring around the historic town centre. 

Some of the most famous landmarks are also steeped in history, including the Peebles Old Parish Church – known for its striking tower and mediaeval architecture – and the ruins of Peebles Castle – which was built all the way back in the 12th century.

Other Activities in Peebles

If you’re more of an adventurous person, don’t think that Peebles is all quiet. Just a short drive from the town is Glentress Forest, which is one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in the country. With a range of trails suitable for all skill levels, this is a great place to get the adrenaline pumping and add some excitement while exploring the natural scenery. 

If that’s a little much and you’d rather turn it down a notch, there’s also plenty of fishing to be done on the River Tweed, with common fish including salmon and trout, and there’s one of the oldest Golf clubs in Scotland which is located right next to the town centre. No matter what you’re into, Peebles can provide it to you, with the added benefit of fewer tourists and less business.

For history lovers, there’s also Neidpath Castle, which is a historic fortress perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river. While it’s privately owned, visitors can still admire the exterior and learn about its fascinating history, and if you want, you can turn your visit into a hike, walking up to the Neidpath Viaduct, which offers beautiful panoramic views of the river valley and the castle itself. 

Other brilliant historic spots in and around Peebles include Cross Kirk, Traquair House – Scotland’s oldest inhabited house – and Dawyck Botanic Garden – which is a historic arboretum with a diverse collection of trees, plants and flowers. Only avoidable if you have hay fever! 

Peebles: A Quiet, Scottish Adventure

We’re not saying that Peebles is without tourists, and there may be more non-touristy places in Scotland, but Peebles doesn’t receive the level of attention it deserves. As a town, it offers plenty of activities, cafes, restaurants, and beautiful scenery that encapsulates the beauty of the Scottish Borders. If we were you, we’d definitely add it to the list of places to visit!