Sitting at the heart of one of the most distinctive and diverse cultural regions in the country, Galashiels is a creative hub with a range of festivals and events celebrating its rich heritage.
Its Braw Lads’ Gathering, similar to other ‘Common Ridings’ across the Scottish Borders, can be traced back to the 13th and 14th centuries when the townspeople would ride their boundaries to protect their common lands and prevent encroachment by neighbouring landlords.
Today, the ‘Braw Lads’ Gathering’ brings the people of Galashiels together in celebration every June, commemorating local legend, history and tradition.
Old Gala House, unexplored, perhaps even unknown by many, is a beautiful building dating back to the 16th century. Frequently visited by Sir Walter Scott during his lifetime, the impressive venue now boasts a museum and gallery, regularly exhibiting the work of local artists.
Soon, the Great Tapestry of Scotland – a community arts project that involved over 1000 stitchers, illustrating 12,000 years of Scottish history – will open its doors, making Galashiels its permanent home.
This historic town is also future-focused. Hosting a sell-out Degree and Fashion Show annually, students at Heriot-Watt School of Textiles & Design showcase their talent through exhibitions and on the catwalk, highlighting the vision and innovation within this creative heartland.
The Volunteer Hall, a regular venue for concerts and plays, is the home of Gala Opera and Pantomime, while the MacArts Centre, a state-of-the-art theatre, music and arts venue, hosts a diverse programme of entertainment. The town also boasts a popular family-run cinema.