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Kelso Abbey, Kelso
(4.2/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web)
Kelso Abbey is a ruined Scottish abbey in Kelso, Scotland. It was founded in the 12th century by a community of Tironensian monks first brought to Scotland in the reign of Alexander I. It occupies ground overlooking the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot waters, the site of what was once the Royal Burgh of Roxburgh and the intended southern centre for the developing Scottish kingdom at that time. Kelso thus became the seat of a pre-eminently powerful abbacy in the heart of the Scottish Borders.In the 14th century, Roxburgh became a focus for periodic attack and occupation by English forces and Kelso's monastic community survived a number of fluctuations in control over the area, restoring the abbey infrastructure after episodes of destruction and ultimately retaining Scottish identity. From 1460 onwards, life for the abbey probably grew more settled, but came once again under attack in the early sixteenth century. By the mid-century, through a turbulent combination of events, the abbey effectively ceased to function and the building fell into ruin.Although the site of Kelso Abbey has not been fully excavated in modern times, evidence suggests that it was a major building with two crossings. The only remains standing today are the west tower crossing and part of the infirmary. The massive design and solid romanesque style of the tower indicate a very large building of formidable, semi-military construction and appearance, evidence of the importance with which Roxburgh was regarded when the abbacy was at the height of its power.
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Plans in Kelso by other users

5 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE January, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Kelso, Ullapool & John O'Groats BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Kelso BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 34 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Scottish Borders BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Worth a walk up to the end of the high street to have a look at the remains of Kelso Abbey. No charge, but there again doesn't demand more than 15 minutes to look around. 
  • It must have been spectacular when complete but is now a shattered ruin and only a fraction of the original building. Some high quality stone carvings still in existence. Free when open. 
  • My granddaughter loved pootling round here..there's not that much to see,but it has an aura about it and you can almost "see" the people who lived here all those years ago..very atmospheric. 
Google
  • The abbey is free to go round. Even though it is next to a road it is peaceful. The abbey also has a war memorial.
  • A lovely abbey. Beautiful and peaceful. A must see.
  • Definitely a must visit when in Kelso. Only takes a few minutes to visit and wander around, and is free. Don't miss the cloisters :)
  • Historical abbey with a magic atmosphere and history... Free entry.
  • Although probably the smallest of the big Borders Abbeys, Kelso Abbey is still a nice place to stop by and to have a taste of Scottish History. Apart from wandering through the impressive ruins, make sure you do not miss the reconstruction to the right... The columns and decoration are gorgeous. And it's free!