How to spend summer in the Scottish Borders
We all know that Scotland is synonymous with golf. It’s blessed with more golf courses per head than any other country.
Then there’s the fishing. Scotland’s famous the world over for its salmon and trout fishing as well as the plentiful coarse fishing in Scottish rivers.
Onto cycling – with over 2,000 miles of dedicated cycle routes to explore, many traffic-free, it’s a dream for the two-wheelers.
In fact, there are few better places for a short break for outdoorsy types, drawn to its vast and beautiful landscapes. But for the days when you’re looking for something a bit different to do or, dare we say it, when the weather doesn’t play ball, here’s our round up of new activities to try and sights to see when you’re staying at Ednam House.
A Walk on the Wild Side
25 mins by car
Alpaca trekking in the Cheviot Hills? If you’re pooch-free (alpacas are terrified of dogs) then this may be the kind of walk with ‘four-leggeds’ you didn’t even know you wanted! The scenery, with views of the south of Scotland, is nothing short of stunning, and you can choose between short walks, longer treks or simple meet-a-paca visits. You’ll meet and feed your alpaca and then hit the trails with your new furry friend in tow. The team at Beirhope Farm are a super friendly bunch, on hand to answer all your alpaca questions. It’s a unique and hugely memorable way to get out in the beautiful countryside – and you’ll have already burned off enough energy to reward yourself with an ice cream at the end!
Riptide Rib Tides St Abbs
50 mins by car
Exhilarating fast-blast or leisurely cruise: witness all the nooks and crannies of the stunning coastline of East Scotland from the sea. St Abb’s Head, formed by active volcanoes, provides an ideal habitat for all manner of native wildlife best viewed up close from aboard the 10m Humber rib. This type of rib is known to be the driest, safest, and most stable ride of any comparable boat, but if everyone aboard is keen, you’ll have a chance to ride full throttle over the waves – scream if you want to go faster! Rest assured, you’ll be in the safe care of your experienced skippers – and quite often in the company of pods of dolphins and an abundance of birdlife. Contact Riptide to book.
Chain Bridge Honey Farm
30 mins by car
Make a beeline to Berwick-upon-Tweed and the Chain Bridge Honey Farm Visitor Centre for a truly fascinating insight into the lifecycle of the honeybee and the practice of beekeeping. Set on a working honey farm (supplying our Ednam kitchen) the visitor centre is packed with informative displays that offer a bee-hind the scenes look into life in the hive through the seasons. Learn about the journey of honey from flower to jar, view the bees in the observation hive from safe behind a glass screen, wander through the beekeeper’s garden and finish with a browse in the on-site shop and a tempting treat in the café, housed in a vintage double-decker bus.
Great Tapestry of Scotland Gallery & Visitor Centre Galashiels
30 mins by car
You don’t need to be a tapestry buff to appreciate this textile triumph and it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area. The vision of much-loved author Alexander McCall-Smith and one of the world’s largest community arts projects, the Great Tapestry of Scotland was hand-stitched by a team of 1,000 people from across Scotland and tells the story of Scotland’s history, heritage, and culture from pre-history to the present day. Everything that is part of Scottish culture is symbolised. Consisting of more than 300 miles of wools and 160 linen panels – said to be enough to lay the entire length of the country, it’s a quite astonishing artistic creation now permanently housed in the heart of Scotland’s textile town, Galashiels. Allow a couple of hours to explore the exhibition and combine with a trip to the café and gift shop to round off the visit.
Go to Jail!
20 mins by car
A mere 20 minutes from Kelso, Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum is the picture of an archetypal grand castle from the outside but inside tells a different story. You’ll be transported back to 1820s prison life, discovering the tales of inmates held here, the range of crimes that required incarceration and conditions ‘inside’ through interactive displays. This is particularly chilling when you’re standing in the actual prison cells! From the jail itself, head to the jail governor’s house which doubles up as Jedburgh’s town museum with features on the abbey, the history of the local area and stories of Jedburgh’s most notable figures including Mary Somerville, Sir David Brewster and James Veitch. Entry is free and it’s a great way to while away a few hours.
The Perfect Pit Stop
30 mins by car
The Jim Clark Motorsport Museum may be small in scale but is an incredible homage to this legend of motorsport. With immaculate interactive displays, an impressive trophy section, film footage and mini documentaries about the life of the man himself it’s a fascinating tribute to Scotland’s greatest race-car driver and a childhood hero of many. While the cars look positively flimsy by today’s modern standards, the museum itself is high quality and you’ll have a very warm welcome! With a very small entry fee that allows free return within a year of purchase, it won’t disappoint.
15 mins by car
Famous for the Coldstream Guards, the oldest continuously serving regiment in the British Army, well known for its high-profile ceremonial duties, the town of Coldstream boasts a rich military history. The museum, adjacent to their historical headquarters in the Market Square, is certainly worthy of a visit with permanent displays featuring artefacts on loan from the Coldstream Guards and accounts of the regiment from the 17th century to the present day as well as information about the town. Alongside the museum you’ll also find local arts and crafts, the obligatory shop and a café. Free entry and plenty of parking.
5 mins by car
Built for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe in 1721, and today the ancestral home to the 11th Duke of Roxburghe and his family, this is Scotland’s largest inhabited castle. And the chances are high that you’ll spot it from your bedroom window when you stay at Ednam House. Visit to see the impressive collection of fine art, porcelain, newly restored tapestries and grand rooms. With a variety of woodland and riverside walks, acres of gardens, a well-stocked delicatessen and gift shop there’s something for everyone at Floors Castle.
50 mins by car
Just a few miles off the Northumberland coast, Lindisfarne Island is a must-see destination. Although cut off twice a day from the rest of the world by fast-moving tides, you can drive, walk or cycle over the dramatic causeway to Holy Island (after checking the safe crossing times). The epicentre of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times, the Lindisfarne Priory is one of the region’s most revered treasures and the island remains a place of pilgrimage today. Although dogs aren’t allowed in the 16th century Lindisfarne Castle itself, staff will watch them while you browse the rooms and artefacts. You can walk all the way around the castle, spend time in the Lindisfarne Museum and potter around the pretty village. The Lindisfarne Nature Reserve is home to rare plants and an exciting array of wildlife. You’ll often see seals hauled up on the sand as well as puffins and dolphins.