The most complete of the four great medieval abbeys in the Scottish Borders, Jedburgh was founded in the mid-12th century by Augustinian canons; the town that grew up around it played an important role in the historic border struggles between England and Scotland. Repeatedly attacked by invading armies, the abbey was destroyed several times down the centuries before loosing its status during the Protestant Reformation in 1560.
Today the abbey sits in the middle of the town of Jedburgh and is surrounded by herb gardens, a gently dilapidated graveyard, a picnic area and tranquil views over the Jed Water. The nave and bell tower of the abbey church are still standing, built in a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles; visitors can climb the spiral staircase at the west end of the nave for impressive views over its arched avenue of arcades. A visitor center displays artifacts discovered during various restorations; the most important of these are the ivory Jedburgh Comb, dating from the early 12th century, medieval biblical carvings and an eighth-century shrine, thought to be from the Anglo-Saxon monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland.
Today the Borders abbeys (the others are at Dryburgh, Melrose and Kelso) are all connected by a 64.5-mile (103-km) walk that takes in the towns of Hawick and Selkirk. Jedburgh is also within easy reach of Hadrian’s Wall and the museums of Roman Britain.
Abbey Bridge End, Jedburgh. Open daily Apr–Sept 9.30am-5.30pm; Oct–Mar 9.30am–4pm. Admission adults £5.50, seniors & students £4.40, children younger than 18 £3.30. Best accessed by car, Jedburgh is 50 miles (80.5 km) south of Edinburgh on the A68 and 10 miles (16 km) north of the border with England.