VISITORS to the regions historic homes will be able to claim a ‘Big House Bag’ as part of a new initiative.

The Big Houses in the Scottish Borders Group, which is made up of 11 of the region’s greatest historic homes and castles, is launching the scheme to encourage visitors to enjoy several properties and extend their time in the area.

A stamp will be issued at each house and once a visitor has collected at least six then they can collect an exclusive Big Houses tote bag as a souvenir of their time in the Borders.

The scheme has been launched to coincide with the release of a new updated illustrative map of the Big Houses in the Scottish Borders.

The new map, designed by Galashiels graphic designer Winnie Stewart and illustrator Diane Lumley, combines illustrations of the grand houses and castles with a custom scale map of the region showing exact locations of each house, road numbers, the Borders railway and stations, cycle and footpaths and other places of interest.

The Big Houses in the Scottish Borders is a non-profit organisation formed in 2012, to enable these visitor attractions to work collaboratively and to share ideas, fundraising opportunities and marketing activity.

Gillian Steele, Chair of the group said: “We know that we have a stunning collection of properties for visitors to experience across the Scottish Borders and we want to encourage people to visit as many as they can and spend more time here in the beautiful Scottish Borders.

“We hope it won’t be long before we are celebrating issuing the first of our unique tote bags.”

Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “This is an exciting project bringing together all of these beautiful buildings in the Scottish Borders.

“The launch of this new initiative is a great example of attractions working together to attract more visitors to delve into the past and discover some of the hidden gems and fascinating stories that the Scottish Borders is famous for.

“I hope visitors from near and far will be encouraged to ‘bag’ this unique souvenir of their trip to the region.”