Explore the final resting place of Sir Walter Scott

14 June 2023
Dryburgh Abbey © Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland has announced that all internal areas of Dryburgh Abbey have reopened, allowing visitors to once again explore the tranquil site where Sir Walter Scott is buried.

Dryburgh Abbey was established by Premonstratensian canons from Northumberland in 1150. It was one of six Scottish houses of the order, alongside Whithorn Priory. Today, both the spiritual and domestic houses of the canons remain largely complete.

Sir Walter Scott and Dryburgh Abbey

After the Protestant Reformation in 1560, monastic life ended at Dryburgh Abbey, but the site gained new life in the 1700s. David Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan and chief founder of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, bought the site and created a charming landscape around the ancient abbey. He was laid to rest on the property in 1829. Sir Walter Scott was a close friend of Buchan, and he was also buried here, in the north transept of the abbey.


While some areas of the site have been accessible to visitors since June last year, including the grounds and the abbey nave, visitors will now be able to explore all internal areas of the abbey, including the historic chapter house.

Access restrictions were put in place last year as a safety precaution while Historic Environment Scotland, who manages the site, introduced new measures to manage the impact of climate change on its heritage assets, an issue which is affecting heritage owners globally. Dryburgh Abbey is the latest of a series of sites where access has been reinstated or increased following inspections and necessary repairs to the masonry.

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Craig Mearns, Director for Operations at HES, said: “Dryburgh Abbey has a rich religious history and is perhaps most famously known as the final resting place of one of Scotland’s most famous literary writers. We are delighted to be able to reopen the interiors of the site once again to the public, where they can take in the beautiful architecture, explore the relics of the abbey, and learn about Scottish history as it happened.”

Visit Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh Abbey will be open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm, with last admissions at 5pm. Visitors are encouraged to book before visiting.

Dryburgh Abbey, Dryburgh, St Boswells, Roxburghshire TD6 0RQ; tel: 01835 822381.