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Travel: Everybody's Talking - About The Borders; This area has it all beauty, peace, history, fantastic castles and friendly people, writes JAN PATIENCE.

Byline: JAN PATIENCE

THE rolling countryside of the Borders is one of Scotland's best-kept secrets, but now the world of film and television is set to share its treasures with the rest of the world.

Hollywood has come to Scotland in the shape of Man to Man, a pounds 10million film about a 19th-century anthropologist, set in and around the Borders.

BBC Scotland has also used Borders beauty spots such as Tantallon Castle and Melrose Abbey in its new children's drama, Shoebox Zoo, to be screened this autumn.

Is there more to the area than castles?Yes, but what castles Traquair House, Floors Castle, Neidpath Castle and Duns Castle to name but a few.

Tourist bosses have done a lot of work to promote the area as a short-break destination. With fine hotels, restaurants, walks, gardens, sightseeing, golf and cycling terrain, it certainly has a lot going for it.

Talk me through the historical bits. THE geography of the Borders has provided the area with a turbulent history. Between 1300 and 1603, feuds erupted with alarming frequency between clans and factions.

The Border burghs of Scotland which run along the Tweed River Valley were always the first places to feel the wrath of the invaders.

And they celebrate their existence with an annual summer ritual called the Common Ridings, a survival of the ancient practice of riding a town's boundaries. One of the oldest takes place on the last Friday in July at Langholm, Dumfriesshire.

Which gardens are worth visiting? THE region is brimming over with gorgeous gardens. Check out Abbotsford House near Melrose (01896 752043;) melrose.bordernet. co.uk/abbotsford), Teviot Watergardens in Kelso (01835 850 253; teviotwatergarden. co.uk), Floors Castle Gardens (01573 223 333; floorscastle.com), Harmony Garden in Melrose (01721 722 502; nts.org.uk), Monteviot House Gardens in Jedburgh (01835 830 380), Queen Mary's Gardens in Jedburgh (01896 662 734), Hawick's Walled Gardens (01896 662 734), Bank Street Gardens in Galashiels (01869 662 7340) and Paxton House Gardens and Country Park, (01289 386 291; paxtonhouse.com).

Where can I stay? THE Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, which sits alongside the River Tweed about three miles south of Melrose, is a romantic place.

Its name comes from the neighbouring 12th-century ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, resting place of Sir Walter Scott, who died in 1832.

Prices from pounds 62 per person for B&B. 01835 822 261, dryburgh.co.uk.

Where can I eat? THE Caddy Man, halfway between Jedburgh and Kelso, offers solid country fare with flare. Stuffed with quirky collectables and pictures, it's great value for money.

CAPTION(S):

Magnificent: Abbotsford House, top, and Duns Castle, above, are just some of the amazing places to visit
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 17, 2004
Words:449
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