Town Trail





  1. Old Gala House

    New Gala House, a former home of the Lairds of Gala, was designed by David Bryce (designer of Fettes College in Edinburgh). The house was demolished in 1985 leaving behind the “policies”, a name given to the enclosed grounds of a large house. The Gala Policies now encompass the sites of the Galashiels Academy, St Margaret’s School, the Focus Community Centre, Swimming Pool and Scott Park. The lodge at the entrance to Scott Park was built in 1885, the park being named after the Scott family who gifted it to the town in 1939.
  2. Scott Park and The Policies

    This impressive church building held its first service in November 1881 to the accompaniment of organ music and was built to provide additional room for the expanding congregation of the Parish Church near to the Mercat Cross. The Parish Church closed in 1931 and the congregation combined with St Paul’s.
  3. Old Parish and St Pauls Church

    This impressive church building held its first service in November 1881 to the accompaniment of organ music and was built to provide additional room for the expanding congregation of the Parish Church near to the Mercat Cross. The Parish Church closed in 1931 and the congregation combined with St Paul’s.
  4. Cloth Hall

    The Hall or Cloth Hall was constructed in response to the increase in the quantity and quality of cloth being produced by the textile mills. It was a centre for the trade of cloth. It opened for business in 1792 and was an instant success. Without this building, trade from Gala would not have been as prosperous in subsequent years.
  5. Mercat Cross

    The Mercat Cross was the traditional symbol of a Scottish village or town’s trading status. A cross has occupied this site since 1599.The cross originally stood on a circular base with a flight of steps and a projecting balcony. It was removed in 1820 and returned some time later in its present form. Restored again in 1887 a section of the original shaft can be seen in Old Gala House.
  6. Tea Street

    The cottages in Tea Street built in the late 17th century are the oldest surviving inhabited dwellings in the town and were still thatched until the early 1900s. Near the junction of Tea Street and the lane called School Close there used to stand Hunter’s Ha’, a strong tower with walls two metres (almost seven feet) thick which served as a Royal Hunting Lodge. 
  7. Old Burial Ground

    Once the site of the original parish church which was built in 1617, the Old Burial Ground has many old memorials, the oldest of which dates back to 1679. Within the grounds is the family tomb of Mungo Park, the Borders-born explorer of Africa. 
  8. St Peter’s Church

    In 1851 there was a small Episcopalian Chapel elsewhere in the town. On St Peter’s day, 28th June 1853, the foundation stone was laid for the present church of St Peter’s. The school was built in 1859 with accommodation for 265 scholars. To provide better teaching conditions, a new school building was added in 1938 on Parsonage Road a short distance to the east. 
  9. Gala Aisle

    Built in 1636 by Captain Hugh Scott of Gala, it was a family burial vault.The Aisle was to the side of the main kirk building. When the kirk was demolished in 1813, the side walls of the Aisle were increased by roughly two metres (almost seven feet) and the end closed off with a wall and gothic window. There is a memorial plaque within the Aisle to the Parish Minister, Mark Duncan. In the late 1820s, there was a gruesome trade in dead bodies (known as body snatching) which were supplied to the Medical School in Edinburgh. This was the period of Burke and Hare and the locals were determined that their graveyard would not be robbed. They organised themselves into armed patrols to keep watch over the graves which reportedly remained untouched by thieves.
  10. Bow Butt

    This is where the men of Galashiels used to practice archery and may date from the 15th century. A decree made by King James IV (1488-1513) required that all men of military age were to practice archery in order that they could be called upon in times of conflict. Well before this law was passed, both William Wallace and King Robert I made use of archers from the area during the Wars of Independence.
  11. Burgh Buildings and War Memorial

    This was the site of the house of the Gala Estate’s miller. The original Burgh Building is the two storey block beside the clock tower. The imposing Tower in front of the Burgh Buildings is one of the most outstanding and unique war memorials as it was designed to look like a Borders Tower house (or Keep), whilst the statue in front takes the form of a mounted Border Reiver. Work began in 1924 as the corner stone was laid in the presence of the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VIII. 
  12. Robert Burns Statue

    At the bottom of Lawyers’ Brae, is a bust of Robert Burns which dates from 1912 and is by F.W. Doyle-Jones. 
  13. Memorial to Sir Walter Scott

    Commissioned by the Abbotsford Scott Fellowship in 1932 for the centenary of his death, this bronze bust commemorates his involvement with Galashiels. His home from 1812 -1832, Abbotsford House, lies just across the River Tweed from Gala and is open March to November.
  14. Bank Street Gardens

    Bank Street’s original name was Scott’s Place but became Bank Street in 1825 when the National Bank, now the Royal Bank of Scotland, took premises in the town. The beautiful red sandstone pillars were erected in 1907 by public subscription to show the town’s pride in the land, gifted by the proprietors of the houses in Bank Street, for a redevelopment to form public gardens (allotments). In the 1940s, this land was gifted to Galashiels Town Council to create the wonderful gardens we see today. 
  15. Cornmill Square

    The square in front of the Library and Burgh buildings was the site of the Corn Mill which was removed in 1912. Two of the oldest inns of the town still face onto the square. The central feature to the Square is the fountain and, the mill lade which flows through here and reappears along Paton Street
  16. Market Square

    The Square has had many reincarnations and remodelling. The statute of “Man with Sheep” was presented by the then Laird of Gala Christopher Scott in 1971. More recently and as part of a reconstruction of the square in 2014, lines of the song ‘Kayleigh’ by the rock band Marillion, are carved into the paving stones. The Pavilion Cinema which has been extensively renovated over the years faces Market Square and houses some original projection equipment although not in use these days! 
  17. Church of Our Lady and St Andrew

    This church was completed in 1858 and extended in 1870. Inside the church there is a side altar with a stained glass window which was gifted by the Polish soldiers stationed in Galashiels during the Second World War who worshipped here. The Church is probably the finest decorative Victorian church in the Scottish Borders. 
  18. Galashiels Interchange

    The new Galashiels Transport Interchange was commissioned by Scottish Borders Council to provide facilities for bus and rail passengers when the Borders Railway reopened. The building provides staff accommodation as well as office space at the upper levels. 


5a Bank St, Galashiels, TD1 1EN

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