Jedburgh Abbey offers some of the most impressive ruins in Scotland.
In the heart of a Borders' town, the 3 levels of arches should not be missed.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with map, tips and photos.
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Why visit Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland?
Sure, Jedburgh Abbey does not have the atmosphere of Melrose Abbey but it is one of the most impressive buildings and one of the top attractions in Scotland.
The ruins of the abbey (founded in the 12th century) are in great condition, and you can still admire the full structure of the church.
Plus it is wonderful for photographers with the series of arches on 3 levels.
Below is a short video to give you an idea of what your visit could look like - enjoy a virtual tour!
More photos after the planning tips
PLANNING TIPS & Map - Jedburgh Abbey Scotland
How to get to Jedburgh Abbey Location
- In the Borders region, South of Edinburgh
- In the heart of Jedburgh, along Road A68
- Edinburgh to Jedburgh Abbey = 1h15 min drive on A68
- 20 min drive South from Melrose Abbey or Dryburgh Abbey - this is one of the great day trips from Edinburgh
- 20 min drive South West from Kelso Abbey
- Below is a map to help you locate Jedburgh Abbey:
The GPS coordinates and location on a practical map are available in both my Travel Guide eBooks. They help you easily plan your Scotland itinerary:
- Jedburgh Abbey opening times: 9:30 to 5:30 from Apr to Sept - 10am to 4pm in Winter (last entry 30min before closure) - Latest info and conditions here
- Price - £6
- Picnic tables inside and outside with views of the Abbey
- Parking area is down the road from the abbey
- Toilets in the entrance building
- Steps to walk around and 34 narrow steps to the platform view
- Museum and costumes for kids
- Plan 30min to 2h to visit depending on your interests
Where to stay nearby?
- You can easily visit the abbey on a day trip from Edinburgh - Check out the best rated accommodations in Edinburgh
- But if you want to stay in a quieter area, the towns of Melrose or Jedburgh are great options - check out the best rated accommodations in Melrose and more in Jedburgh
Museum and entrance
Jedburgh abbey is better set up than all the other abbeys.
As you enter the entrance building you get upstairs in a room where you can:
- read about the history of the Abbey
- admire the miniature version of what it may have looked like in 1510 when the rose window was inserted
- play with costumes (but children only...)
- just sit and admire the ruins (especially if it is raining...)
Jedburgh Abbey History
Here are a few background facts about the Jedburgh Abbey history to help you better understand what you are looking at:
- It is an Augustinian Abbey founded in the 12th century, built close to an important political center
- The apse was rebuilt in the 13th century making the church complete
- A rose window was inserted on the West facade in the 15th century
- Located 16km from the border with England (10miles), it was frequently targeted by the invading armies
- It was abandoned in 1560
- It was built over more than 70 years
- Its architecture is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic
There is a small building behind the church where you can learn more about the history and construction of Jedburgh Abbey:
Exploring the ruins - church, arches, tower
Although most of the buildings fell and disappeared the church remains in very good condition.
You can still admire the whole structure:
On the whole site, you can see well-made explanations with representations of what used to be there:
Doors and Carvings
After admiring the exterior, go inside. Look closer at the doors and their carvings.
Once inside the arches are even more impressive and in very good condition:
As you walk towards the East you pass under the high tower.
Compared to the rest of the Jedburgh Abbey it is very square.
West End, Rosace and 1st level view
As the West end of the church, under the rosace, is another beautiful door.
You can also find the entrance to a staircase taking you to the first level.
The staircase is very narrow but there are only 34 steps and there is a different one to get down, so you don't have to cross anyone.
Do not miss this entrance as you will get a magnificent view of the building and a great perspective on the arches.
Look at the size of people to realize the sheer size of the building:
Artefacts and tombs
Excavations have unearthed artefacts: an ivory comb, a shrine from the 8th century, a merelles board and carved stones.
You can learn more in the entrance museum.
The church is also home to
- a 12th century tomb cover that may be from John Capellanus, Bishop of Glasgow
- and the tomb of William Schomberg.
Other highlights of South Scotland to consider visiting:
- The fascinating triangular castle of Caerlaverock - read article
- The charming ruins of Sweetheart Abbey - read article
- The ancient site of Cairnholy - read article
- The Borders Abbeys including Melrose Abbey and this one Jedburgh Abbey
- The inspiring Scott's View - read article
- And the impressive forts, East of Edinburgh: Dirleton Castle and Tantallon Castle
Planning a trip to Scotland? Check out my guide to help you plan your road trip:
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Want to see more of SCOTLAND?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Scotland Destination Guide.
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