Melrose Abbey

Book tickets


Discover a place so beloved by Robert the Bruce, he chose it as the final resting place for his heart. Melrose Abbey is a magnificent ruin on a grand scale, and it was a highly desirable place to be buried.

David I founded Scotland’s first Cistercian monastery in 1136. Being so close to the border, Melrose Abbey suffered at English hands during the Middle Ages. Rebuilt in the 1380s, it was used as an abbey until the Protestant Reformation of 1560. Afterwards, the existing monks were allowed to stay on: the last died in 1590.

What to see and do

  • Admire the graceful architecture of the abbey church, among Britain’s finest church architecture of the late 1300s
  • Take in the charming sculpture – look out for the famous bagpipe-playing Melrose pig
  • Step inside the chapter house, where a heart believed to be that of Robert the Bruce is buried
  • Visit the Commendator’s House Museum to see a rich collection of medieval objects found in the abbey cloister
  • Download a map of the abbey to discover the highlights
  • Take our fun fact-finding quiz or give our wordsearch a try.
  • Tour through the abbey with our audio guide using your own mobile phone or one of our devices - included in ticket price. 
  • Join us every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday to hear more about the connections to Robert the Bruce (2.30pm) and Old Melrose and St Cuthbert (3.30pm). Both talks are approximately 15 minutes and are included in ticket price. Hear how Robert the Bruce became king following the upheaval of Alexander III’s death and the Wars of Independence, and why his heart was buried on site. Find out more about Old Melrose and St Cuthbert and the development of Christianity in Northumbria from the 7th century, including the monastery of Old Melrose and the impact of St Cuthbert, and how the original monastery was the inspiration for the founding of Melrose Abbey.

Opening times

The abbey grounds, cloister and museum are open to visitors.

Due to access restrictions in place as a precautionary measure while we undertake high level masonry inspections, there is currently no visitor access to the abbey church.

29 Mar Apr to 30 Sept:
Daily, 9.30am to 5pm (last entry 4.30pm)

1 Oct to 28 Mar:
Daily, 10am to 4pm (last entry 3.30pm)

Historic Scotland


Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Plan your visit

More than 20 of our sites are now open. Please book your tickets in advance.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

Learning visits

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.