A NEW bus is hoping to open up the Borders to tourists from this weekend.

City Sightseeing Scottish Borders will begin its journeys around the region on Saturday.

Stops along the way will include Abbotsford House, Tweedbank, Melrose, St Boswells, Dryburgh Abbey, the Wallace Statue and Scotts View.

Part of City Sightseeing Worldwide, and operated by Borders Buses, the hop-on and hop-off tour will allow visitors the opportunity to explore the many historical attractions and stunning views.

Sharon Morrison, commercial manager at Borders Buses, told us “We are thrilled to be launching our City Sightseeing Scottish Borders open top bus tour.

"The Scottish Borders is a beautiful part of the country and its history, which will be clearly visible from our open top bus, makes it such an exciting place for both UK and overseas visitors.

"Travelling on an open top tour bus is not just a wonderful way to travel it also brings the Scottish Borders fantastic story to life.

"We have worked closely with the main attractions and local businesses to ensure we deliver a truly memorable tour, which captures all that is wonderful in the area.

"With frequent bus and rail connections, Galashiels Transport Interchange provides the perfect starting place for both local people and visitors alike.”

The first tour leaves Galashiels Transport Interchange - stance 2 - at 10am on Saturday.

And it will continue touring the region every weekend until Sunday, September 24.

The tours, which last around 90 minutes, will operate every Saturday and Sunday at two hourly intervals between 10am and 4pm and 10:20am and 4:20pm, respectively.

Kate Pearson, Scottish Borders Council’s economic development officer for tourism, said: “We are delighted Borders Buses is offering this new hop-on hop-off open top bus service which will take visitors across the Borders in style to some of our most iconic tourist attractions.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of tourists visiting the Borders, and this offering should encourage even more to come and enjoy our scenic area.

“It will also link into the extensive Borders Buses network and Borders Railway with pick-ups at Galashiels Transport Interchange and Tweedbank Station, ensuring as many people as possible get access to this exciting new service.”

Tickets, which are available from the driver or online cost £8 for adults, £6 concessions/children and £23 for a family, can be used on a hop-on hop-off basis.

Manuela Calchini, Regional Partnerships Director for the South of Scotland, said: “The introduction of Border Buses hop-on hop-off bus tour offers the ideal opportunity for passengers to experience the beautiful landscapes, as well as encourage visitors to enjoy some of the best tourist attractions and local businesses along the route.

“The new service demonstrates a real commitment to further enhancing the tourism offering in the Scottish Borders and will be a welcome addition to those visitors travelling to the region this summer.”

A website - www.citysightseeingscottishborders.co.uk - providing information about key attractions, walks and places to eat will accompany the new tours.

Rosamund de la Hey, owner at The Mainstreet Trading Company, told us: “There will be a very warm welcome at The Mainstreet Trading Company for visitors enjoying the sights of the beautiful Borders countryside on a City Sightseeing Scottish Borders open top tour.”