As a mother of one, I now find myself scouring the internet for family-friendly activities in my local area, and in the parts of Scotland I hope to visit in the near future. During a recent whistle stop tour of southern Scotland, I asked the ever-so helpful and friendly owner of Hendersyde Holiday Cottages for tips on places to see in the area around Kelso. Amongst other attractions, we enjoyed a trip to Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre and stopped for lunch at the Birdroom Teahouse at Woodside Gardens. Keen to make the most of local knowledge, I asked Sue where she’d recommend we visit during our next (and hopefully longer!) family holiday in the Borders – here are a few of her suggestions.
Jedforest Deer and Farm Park
With walks and ponds, a woodland adventure playground and a host of different animals, the Jedforest Deer and Farm Park is definitely on my list. As you’d guess from the name, the Deer and Farm Park is located in the Jed Valley, near Jedburgh. As well as the favourites you’d expect from a farm park (donkies, ducks, Shetland ponies), there are also rare breeds of cattle, pigs and sheep. Falconry Scotland is based at the park and children will love getting up close with these beautiful birds through the demonstrations and handling sessions.
The Chain Bridge Honey Farm
Described by Sue as ‘a one off with so many quirky ideas in one place… quite unique’, the Chain Bridge Honey Farm is situated 200 yards from the historic Chain Bridge that links Scotland and England across the River Tweed. Browse the shop and its range of natural honey-based products and make sure you stop by the visitor centre, with its fascinating displays and murals with scenes from across the Borders. The double decker café bus is sure to be a highlight for little ones!
Scotland’s oldest inhabited house has lots to keep the whole family entertained, from a hedge maze (make a note to visit next Easter when the under 10’s can hunt for over 6,000 mini eggs in the maze – now that’s an Easter egg hunt!) to craft workshops and a play area. If you’re visiting the Tweed Valley this month, don’t miss the Festive Fayre at Traquair from 23rd to 24th November, including choir singing, craft stalls and children’s shows. With free entry to the house and grounds, you can soak up the festive atmosphere, admire the Victorian decorations and enjoy some mulled wine, of course!
Whithaugh Park – Family Adventure Days
Near Newcastleton, Whitlaugh Park offers a huge range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, from archery and fencing to grass sledging and swimming. You can also hire bikes and explore the nearby 7stanes bike trails. One for when my son is older!
Do you have any tips for when I return to the Borders? I’d love to hear them! Please leave your comments below.