Your Essential Guide to Kelso in the Scottish Borders

Kelso Town Centre

Located at the meeting point of the River Tweed and the River Teviot, the historic market town of Kelso is just a 20-minute stroll from Springwood Holiday Park and worth many a visit, be it for a walk to soak up the fascinating architecture, a spot of shopping or to grab a bite to eat.

We’ll run you through everything you need to know before you go.

Get to Know Kelso: Unravelling the Charms of the Architectural Gem

It’s been said that Kelso is the most architecturally attractive of the Border towns. It’s home to the largest market square in Scotland, with a cobbled floor, imposing town hall building and Italianate coaching house giving an almost continental feel.

You’ll stumble across markers of the town’s historic past at every turn. The square served as a marketplace and town hub from the Middle Ages onward. You can still see a marking in the cobbles where the bullring was while the names of the streets belie their ancient pasts: Woodmarket, Horsemarket, Coalmarket, Peat Wynd, Oven Wynd, Mill Wynd and Distillery Lane.

Kelso sprang up around the community of Kelso Abbey, and despite repeated attached from English armies across the centuries, the market town survived and thrived.

Floors Castle: Scotland’s largest inhabited mansion.

Noted Buildings and Structures: Icons of Kelso’s Rich Heritage

Floors Castle

Kelso is famously home to Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited mansion. Its turrets and battlements look down on Junction Pool, a popular salmon fishing spot where the Tweed and Teviot meet. Fishing fanatics might like to pay a visit to the River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum in Kelso Town Hall.

Kelso Abbey

On the edge of the town lies what’s left of Kelso Abbey Founded in the 1100s, it was one of the most spectacular architectural achievements of medieval Scotland. It’s closed to visitors at present while safety inspections take place but it’s still well worth a peek as you go past.

Kelso Bridge

You might not know the name John Rennie, but the man who built the Kelso Bridge went on to build London Bridge! Riots took place in 1854 against paying the bridge tolls – somewhat understandably as the toll remained after the cost of construction had been covered.

Kelso Town Trail

Our tip is to take this circular walk through the town that crosses both the iconic Rennie’s Bridge and the modern Hunter’s Bridge, also passing the ruins of the abbey. The route guide is wonderfully informative too – download it here

Borders Events Centre

Kelso Events: Immersing Yourself in Border Traditions

Experience a slice of border life with one of Kelso’s regular agricultural events ranging from ram and horse sales to the Scottish Championship Dog Show, not forgetting Kelso Races. If you can tie in your stay at Springwood with Kelso Civic Week, the town festival that takes place every summer celebrating the border tradition of Common Riding, you’ll be in for a treat!

Kelso farmer’s market takes place at the square on the fourth Saturday of the month from 9.30 am till 1.30 pm – perfect for stocking up on tasty local products to enjoy back at your caravan.

Or for a taste of Scottish folk music, head to the Oak Room at the Cross Keys Hotel on a Friday night. Here you’ll find Kelso’s Folk & Live Music Club performing a mix of traditional and contemporary music. Entrance is free and new performers are always welcome…

Eat, Drink, and Shop: Indulge in Kelso’s Market Town Delights

Kelso has stayed true to its market town roots, so if you’re looking to buy a gift for a loved one or treat yourself to a memento of your stay in the Scottish Borders, you can spend many an hour mooching around Kelso’s many quirky independent shops. We recommend Kitty and Gus, The Mole House and 20 Storey for unique finds, while Treetop Toys has charming finds for little ones. The Kelso Pottery is also well worth a visit for stoneware inspired by the Borders landscape.

Kelso is also packed with charming pubs and cafes, but if you’d prefer to stock up on tasty goods to prepare back at the ranch then there are plenty of artisanal food shops, delis, and bakeries to tempt you.

Stock up your caravan with some quality local ales and gin from Beercraft, the only independent craft beer and gin merchant in Kelso or pick up some locally-sourced Border meats from Hunters Quality Butcher and Delicatessen. If meat isn’t your thing, pop into Kelso Wholefoods for wholesome vegetarian supplies.

Kelso Farmers Market
Kelso’s monthly Farmers Market is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy all sorts of tasty local produce.

Grab a loaf or some freshly baked cakes from Naked Sourdough (they do great coffee too) or perhaps something decadent from Dessert Diva, the Cookie Kitchen or Becattelli Artisan Gelato. Well, you are on holiday, after all…

Our Holiday Park, Springwood

Nestled close to the charming market town of Kelso, Springwood presents an irresistible opportunity for those seeking their dream holiday home or indulging in a self-catering getaway. Embraced by picturesque ancient estate parkland and enveloped by majestic woodlands along the tranquil banks of the River Teviot, this idyllic destination caters to both owners and holidaymakers, offering a haven where one can truly unwind and escape the pressures of daily routines.