I have never met the Queen – although I did once share a lift with her late mother – but I’m sure she has short legs. She must have – to sit on the new Scottish Borders train.

I boarded at Edinburgh’s Waverley station and took the scenic journey down to Tweedbank. Stunning countryside, but I wish I had more leg room.

I was relieved to alight and continue my exploration of the Scottish Borders by coach – a comfortable way to travel. Sit back, stretch your legs and enjoy the views.

And what views they are.

Talk about visiting Scotland and most people head to the West Coast or to the Highlands. But the Borders have a lot to offer.

And going by coach is a great way to travel.

“You join as strangers and leave as friends,” our convivial guide told us.

And he was right. My wife and I enjoyed the company of our fellow passengers. One was a former potato buyer for a large crisps manufacturer, another a private caterer who had just done a large society wedding.

Fascinating people. And we had fascinating places to see on this short four-day trip.

First stop was Bowhill, the ancestral home of the Duke of Buccleauch – the largest landowner in Scotland. So vast are his estates, it is said you can walk from the east coast across to the west on his land.

Bowhill House, built in 1708, houses one of the world’s greatest art collections. In the dining room are works by Canaletto, Gainsborough, and Reynolds. A huge collection of portrait miniatures includes work by Hans Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard and Samuel Cooper. Sir Walter Scott was a frequent visitor.

Leaving the house behind, it was back on the coach and heading off to Peebles for a stay at the Hydro Hotel where I enjoyed the most comfortable night’s sleep I have ever had in a king-sized four-poster bed.

I suppose our pre-dinner visit to the hotel’s unique Gin Palace contributed to my relaxed state.

Gin manager Gordon (what else would he be called?) introduced us to the largest collection of gins from around the world, all housed in a mini greenhouse-type structure, near the dining room. Haggis truffles washed down by Japanese gin.

What a combination!

Next day, after a hearty cooked breakfast, it was back on the bus and off to explore the Dawyck Botanic Gardens, one of the world’s finest arboreta. It’s a tree huggers paradise– except some of the trees – like the Douglas Firs – are so massive you need a group hug to encircle their girth.

After a light lunch it was off to another stately home, this time Dumfries House, former home of the Duke of Monmouth.

Set in 2,000 acres, the house was saved from falling into disrepair after the owners were hit by massive death duties – by Prince Charles.

The house is an on-going restoration project and has become a passion of the Prince.

A few days before we arrived he had been staying there.

It contains an unrivalled collection of Thomas Chippendale furniture–more than 50 pieces – including a bookcase estimated to be worth £20million. It has a collection of elbowchairs worth than £1million each. No wonder you can’t sit on them!

Not only is this a beautiful house, it is also a working project, where youngsters can engage in learning experiences that promote confidence, personal development and offer training in real-life skills.

One youngster told how the Prince’s Trust has changed his life. He went from being a self-confessed layabout, always getting into trouble, into being a personal butler to the Prince during royal visits to the house.

The following day the coach took us down to the ferry for the short crossing to the Isle of Arran – not the one famous for it’s sweaters, that’s in Ireland – but to the one where golden eagles soar above the whisky distillery.

But before we got to taste the island malt, we stopped at BrodickCastle. Previously the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, Robert the Bruce once dined there. Now visitors can enjoy tea and shortbread in the cafeteria.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the castle and its grounds were a sporting estate for the dukes of Hamilton, and the castle walls are adorned with stag heads – hundreds of them!

After a quick stop for lunch it was on to the Arran distillery to learn how whisky ismade, and sample some of the products.

I don’t know whether or not it was the 12-year-old malt that was to blame, but back on the coach, everyone seemed in fine voice, singing, whistling or humming television theme tunes from the Fifties and Sixties.

The last day on our tour was spent at the village of New Lanark on the banks of the Clyde, which grew up around the mills built by RichardArkwright and David Dale between 1788 and 1826. Dale’s son-in-law Robert Owen made the village world-famous with his innovative ideas on social reform – the Jeremy Corbyn of his day.

Believing in a more humane capitalism, he built the first co-operative store, a school for the pauper children whoworked there and an institute for the formation of character where the workers were encouraged to improve themselves through education.

In 1968 the last mill closed bringing to an end 200 years of cotton manufacture. However, in 1974, a restoration programme began and New Lanark has become a thriving community again as a World Heritage Site tourist attraction.

A Disney-style ride takes visitors back though time with holograms of the people who lived and worked there.

Coach tours tend to attract travellers of a certain age, but there were a couple of young lads in their late twenties who said theywould definitely sign up for another coaching holiday.

I would too. Being ferried about in comfort to interesting places. Being able to enjoy the spectacular countryside of the Scottish Borders without having to worry about drink-driving, and meeting new people and making new friends, what’s not to like?

I don’t suppose I will ever bump into Her Majesty, which is a shame, because she will probably never know what she’s missing.