EXCITEMENT is building ahead of the return of a much-anticipated Borders festival.

The Beyond Borders Festival offers attendees a relaxed weekend full of books, debates, music, literary walks and poetry readings.

Held at Traquair House, south of Innerleithen, it will return on August 26-27.

This year’s festival brings together another stellar cast of characters from across the UK and the globe.

Headline acts include The Great British Bake Off star Prue Leith, who will be talking to Jim Naughtie about the show and changing British culture, alongside the original Sloane Ranger, Peter York.

If you like history, Flora Fraser, will by spilling the beans about the life of Flora Macdonald as she discusses her new book, Pretty Young Rebel.

Meanwhile, William Dalrymple will take a deep dive into colonial and commonwealth history with Dr Kojo Koram, author of Uncommon Wealth.

Elsewhere, Hollywood star David Strathairn talks about the remarkable life of Jan Karski, who tried to warn the world about the Holocaust.

If you like politics, you can watch Peebles High School pupils grill Alastair Campbell or Steve Richards talk about his new book Turning Points with Jack McConnell.

Founder of Beyond Borders Mark Muller Stuart said: “My team have brought together another remarkable line-up for a relaxed but thought-provoking weekend of enjoyment which promotes Scottish Borders in the world and the world in the Scottish Borders.

“But this time we have integrated Peebles High School and Scottish universities into our programming with the support of Scottish Borders Council and the Fallago Fund to increase opportunities for young people and add a more youthful dimension to the festival.”

Elsewhere at the festival, the former Head of the Special Boats Squadron, Graham Cundy, lifts the lid on covert British interventions around the world with Magnus Linklater.

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be talking to veteran Northern Ireland peacemaker Monica McWilliams about her autobiography.

Those interested in international affairs can listen to frontline dispatches from Ukraine from Channel 4’s Lindsey Hilsum and BBC’s Lucy Ash.

Meanwhile, Allan Little will talk to celebrated author Alexsandar Hemon about his novel, The World and All That it Holds.

Visitors can relax to the music of Barbara Dixon and other musicians from Europe in the evocative walled garden marquee or take in the special exhibition of the work of Anne Redpath in the high gallery, which features three unseen pieces on loan from her family.

All festivalgoers can visit the house or join a walk in the grounds with local storyteller Mary Kenny or local writer and forager Fi Martynoga and the poet and artist Peter Sacks, as he recounts some of his favourite Scottish Border Ballads.

The Traquair poetry club will also perform some readings.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, said: “There is such a wide and diverse programme of things to do and see that everyone will find something to enjoy.

“The magical grounds of Traquair is the perfect setting where you can also find wonderful local food, clothing, a writer’s tent, and other stalls to explore.”

The full Beyond Borders International Festival Programme and Box Office is available online a bbintfest.com