Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opens the Borders Railway

Milne Graden House, built by Admiral David Milne, is situated on the banks of the River Tweed, between the Lower Lennel and Ladykirk beats.

The Tweed follows the Scottish–English border, and Milne Graden enjoys a wonderful view across the river to England, north Northumberland and onwards south to the Cheviot Hills. In the past, this view included a station, a railway line and a station house, high on the bank of the Northumbrian side.

Years ago, a trustee from Milne Graden Estate told me a charming story of how life used to be when the steam train passed by the house and along the Scottish–English border:

During the Second World War, as a child, this lady lived and played along the banks of the Tweed, and the trains would be a regular reminder of the time of day. The railway ran on the English side of the river. The old station house can still be seen from Littlehaugh fishing shiel in winter, when the trees are bare. It was a delight to learn that guests arriving at Milne Graden had a wonderfully adventurous journey from station to house. This little girl, with her friends and family, would row in a fishing boat across the Tweed, probably just by the salmon fishing pool, Fairy Well, or south of the Cauld across the river via Kippie Island. They would scramble up the bank, collect the visitor (even carrying his small leather case), scramble down the bank, bundle him into the fishing boat, row him across to the Scottish side, scramble up the bank on the other side and lead him finally towards the safety of the house.

Scotland remains a favourite with the Royal Family, and Her Majesty the Queen celebrated another opening at Abbotsford House in 2013, with the new £3 million Abbotsford Conservation and Visitors Building.

Abbotsford House was the home of the great Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. Sightseers can enjoy the breathtaking scenery between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, where the station is conveniently located for those wishing to visit Scott’s home. No choppy boat-crossing of the Tweed involved here!

Abbotsford is only 50–60 minutes away from Milne Graden by car, and there are plenty of great coffee stops along the route, many of which even offer soya milk! The fact that this is such a historic route makes this a worthwhile journey.

Every season, we offer tips for visitors to our holiday cottages, and this one is a must for autumn of this year: a train journey of 31 miles, historical interest for parents and grandparents, and excitement for children.

Today, Her Majesty the Queen, a great-grandmother herself, and First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will take the journey along this historic route on the Borders Railway as a mark of celebration for the official opening. Her Majesty will begin her journey with Prince Philip at Waverley Station, with a final stop at Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders. On this very day, she will also become Britain’s longest-serving monarch.