Lauder is situated beside what was in Roman times a main route north from England - Dere Street. The route came from Trimontium, modern Newstead, near Melrose, following the valleys to pass over the Lammermuirs at their west end at Soutra. As a major access to the north, Lauder has through history been a place of importance.
The town developed in a pattern which was typical of a Scottish Burgh, a pattern which has hardly changed to this day. Land for housing was divided into long narrow plots known as "burgage plots" on which houses were built and there was sufficient ground behind for the growing of food and the keeping of livestock. Wells were dug in these "backlands", and the "midden" was also housed there. A lane often ran at the foot of the backlands giving access, without going through the house. From this lane there might be access to the "townlands" - common land on which the townspeople had the right to graze animals. Lauder is very unusual in that it still has its "burgage acres" or "townlands", in the keeping of the people.
Lauder Common Riding takes place on the first Saturday in August, the date of Common Riding Day was formerly that of Ascension Day, but with the many Town Festivals throughout the summer, fixing the date ensured that other Festival Principals could attend the Lauder Common Riding, and that Lauder could be represented, in return, at all the other towns' events.
The idea of a Cornet, came into being in 1911, when, to commemorate the Coronation of King George V, Lauder decided to have a ceremonial, similar in principle, to the Selkirk Common Riding. The ceremonial aspects have remained from 1911 to this day with a programme of events throughout the week. Unchanged are: The Annual Election of the Cornet; The Kirking of the Cornet; and The "Night afore the Morn" Concert. There have been, at various times, horse racing, foot racing, a gymkhana, dances etc, all as part of the celebrations. From 1931, the Cornet has been required to name a Cornet's Lass to partner him at the various functions, both within his own week of celebrations and at the other Border Festival Weeks.
Lauder is also home to Thirlestane Castle, one of the seven great houses of Scotland. The castle has it's origins in the 13th century and was rebuilt as the Maitland family home in 1590 and greatly enhanced by the Duke of Lauderdale in the 1670's .
There is also a golf course, one of the very few nine hole courses left in the Scottish Borders, situated on gently sloping parkland providing a real challenge to your game of golf combined with stunning views of the Lauderdale district.
The Southern Upland Way passes through Lauder and there is a good selection of hotels if you decide to stop for a break on your way.