Festival History

Scottish Borders Council began the festival in 2009 to provide an annual programme of events to celebrate regional heritage as part of Scottish Archaeology Month (SAM). Scottish Borders Heritage Festival has grown year on year by providing a platform for local organisations to promote their sites and events during SAM which is held each September.

The festival brings together a wide range of partners who share a passion for the regions heritage from volunteer organisations to government agencies. The success of the festival is a real partnership effort, with all sizes of organisations stepping up to put on special events, including a wide range at unique heritage sites in spectacular settings.

This year, Scottish Borders Council and Live Borders have teamed up to deliver the festival with additional funding through Creative Scotland, EventScotland, Museums & Galleries Scotland and the Fallago Environment Fund and are working with the newly formed Scottish Borders Heritage Forum to promote regional heritage and to deliver education and training elements.

New Highlight Events for 2017

Generous partner funding has allowed us to introduce new elements to this year’s festival.

Our new opening event ‘Lighting the Borders’ has been designated a signature event for Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017. ‘Lighting the Borders’ will illuminate over 25 historic locations with story, song and light from 1–3 September and will include events at Neidpath Castle, Hume Castle, Jedburgh Castle Jail, Newark Castle, Eyemouth Fort, Riddell Tower, Old Parish and St Pauls Church Galashiels and Duns Law. Some of our most iconic, historical buildings will be flooded with blue light to mark this year’s special opening event including Peniel Heugh, Smailholm Tower and Fatlips Castle.

A partnership between the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, pupils from Selkirk and Galashiels primary schools, and three historic houses, Aikwood Tower, Bowhill House and Abbotsford House provides the setting and inspiration for ‘Sounding out the Past’. This site specific creative commission with composer Suzanne Parry and Borders writer Jules Horne will culminate in a public performance at the Victoria Hall, Selkirk on Thursday 7 September by SCO musicians and pupils.

‘Where Teviot Rins’ will be a special performance presented in the Wilton Lodge Park newly refurbished walled garden celebrating the rich life and history of the Teviot River in story and song. Stories are being gathered from historic research and local residents and will bring to life the history of the river Teviot and its people.

‘Illuminating the Past’ will provide the finale events of the festival with two medieval and contemporary music performances by the Scottish Vocal Ensemble at Melrose and Dryburgh Abbeys incorporating the celebrated ‘Hawick Missal Fragment’.


If you are interested in being involved in the Scottish Borders Heritage Festival, either as a heritage group or organisation, tourism business, interested individual or volunteer, please email us at bordersheritagefestival@gmail.com.