34 Places to visit with kids in the Scottish Borders
Updated: Apr 25
We often get asked by members of our family or friends, from back in the North East, what there is to do in the Scottish Borders. I have heard people saying there is nothing to do in the Borders, but boy are they wrong! The Scottish Borders undoubtedly has some amazing scenery, but it is also packed with history and fun things to do with kids. I have put together a list of some of our favourite things to do in the Scottish Borders, which will hopefully give you a better idea of what’s on offer in the pretty region. Abbotsford House ‘Located in the heart of the beautiful Borders countryside, Abbotsford was built by Sir Walter Scott in the 19th century as a family home, work space and private museum and his interests can be seen in the amazing gothic architecture and interiors jam-packed with fascinating curios, artefacts, books and stories galore’ Bowhill House and Gardens‘ Deep in the heart of the Scottish Borders, beside winding glens and heathery hills, an enchanting country estate awaits you. And at its centre is a magnificent country home reflected in a loch with rooftops framed by rich forestry’ Born In The Borders‘Born in the Borders is an extraordinary new visitor centre located next to the Scottish Borders Brewery.Set on the banks of the River Teviot, it brings together the best of everything that is grown, made, spun, produced, cooked and created in the area’ Cocoa Black Chocolate and Pastry School The chocolate Pastry School is easy to find in the centre of Peebles, in standalone premises on the right of the Parish Church at the end of the High Street. The school is right above the Cocoa Black Boutique, with its own side entrance. Greenside Car Park is right behind the building, you can also often park on the street’ Coldstream MuseumPermanent displays relating to the Coldstream Guards and the town of Coldstream, featuring artefacts on loan from the Coldstream Guards, the Provost’s Robes and Chain of Office. There is a changing exhibition programme in the Courtyard Gallery. Crafty workshops – Jedburgh Craft workshops and classes; try your hand at engraving a glass, glass foiling, glass slumping, making glass jewellery, henna art and pottery glazing. Dryburgh Abbey Wander around this remarkably complete medieval ruin by the River Tweed to grasp the appeal of monastic life. You can still see plaster and paintwork inside the chapter house dating from when it was built. Dawyck Botanical GardensLocated in the hills of the Scottish Borders, 65-acre Dawyck enjoys an almost continental climate comprising warm dry summers followed by cold, snowy winters. Plants from the mountainous regions of Europe, China, Nepal, Japan and North America thrive here. Eyemouth Museum Eyemouth Museum is based in the centre of the town and documents the fishing and social heritage of Eyemouth, brought to life in its exhibits and through stories from local people. Eyemouth Arcades & Bowling at J&L Leisure There’s plenty of fun for everyone at Beachcomber Amusements, the family-friendly amusement arcade and mini ten pin bowling centre located in the unspoilt seaside town of Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. Floors Castle Floors Castle is not only a Duke’s family home, but also the heart of the diverse Roxburghe Estates in a beautiful part of the Scottish Borders. With woodland and riverside walks, formal and informal gardens and lots of lovely places to walk the dog, or to sit and watch the world go by. Gunsgreen House Visit The Museum at g.g.h which is located in the bottom two floors of gunsgreen house. come and see the amazing ‘tea chute’- the only one of its kind, where smuggled tea was hidden from prying eyes. Glentress Visit Glentress for walking, mountain biking, tree-top fun and magnificent views of the Tweed Valley. It’s a 7stanes mountain biking centre, with award-winning world-class trails. Geocaching Join the world’s largest treasure hunting community!Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor adventure that is happening all the time, all around the world. To play, participants use the Geocaching app and/or a GPS device to navigate to cleverly hidden containers called geocaches. There are millions of geocaches in 190 countries waiting to be discovered—there are probably even some near you right now. Halliwells museum Visit Halliwell’s House Museum & Gallery in Selkirk for a truly unique and atmospheric experience. Situated in the narrow, cobbled Halliwell’s Close which boasts its own 400 year old history, you’ll find this unusual 18th century building which is home to one of the twelve Live Borders Museums & Galleries. Hawick Museum Hawick Museum’s parkland location and fascinating displays reflect the endeavour of the town and its people. The objects and fine works of art collected are not just about Hawick but a window on the world. The permanent displays allow many of our wonderful artefacts to be shown. The Jimmie Guthrie and Steve Hislop exhibitions make us a motorcyclists’ Mecca. Harestanes Situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders, Harestanes is a unique rural setting to unwind or an ideal base to explore the Teviot Valley.Whether taking in the scenery on one of our walks, savouring a home baked treat in our café, indulging in a little retail therapy or running around our play park – Harestanes offers something for everyone. Hermitage Castle Discover a history filled with intrigue, murder, torture and treason. This awesome, eerie ruin has plenty of tales to tell, thanks to its role as “the guardhouse of the bloodiest valley in Britain”. Hirsel Estate Gorgeous walks with a tea room and various little shops, complete with a childrens play area and a mini museum.
Hurly Burly Located in peaceful surroundings 1 mile from Duns, hurly-burly is the ideal place for children to play and adults to relax with a coffee and chat with friends.hurly-burly has two main play areas to cater for children of all ages. Under-5s have their own separate area with a climbing ramp and slide for the more mobile, and an area with soft play equipment for the younger ones. Children between 5 and 12 can use the large four-storey frame which incorporates slides, cargo nets, rollers, swings, mouse holes, a climbing zone and a target area. There is also a large ball-play area for basketball and football. Jedburgh Castle & Jail There is something for everyone from archaeology to art, hosiery to history, jumpers to jailbirds and mini beasts to Mary Queen of Scots.
Jedburgh Abbey Explore one of four great abbeys established in the Scottish Borders in the 1100s. Built over more than 70 years, Jedburgh is striking for its unusual mix of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. Kailzie Gardens In their seasons, including the display of Snowdrops, Daffodils and sheets of Bluebells, the Gardens provide a rich variety of colour and charm for both the keen gardener, and for the visitor simply wanting to enjoy a beautiful garden in peaceful surroundings.Apart from the gardens, principal attractions for a day out include live viewing of the Tweed Valley Ospreys .
Liddesdale Heritage Centre Liddesdale, was once a valley of border raids and warfare when the sword and lance, and even the steel bonnet, were in use most days. Now it is a quiet land, where birds, wild orchids and red squirrels flourish among remote farms and woodlands. Paxton House Enjoy exploring our 80 acres of grounds, gardens, riverside and woodland, either by yourself or on one of our exciting trails, have fun in our adventure play park complete with zip wire, create your very own hideout in our den building area, indulge in a delicious lunch or afternoon tea in the Stables Tearoom, treat yourself in the Regency Gift Shop, learn more about Paxton House and its rich history on a house tour, take a look in our Hayloft Gallery at our collection of local exhibiting artists or enjoy a scenic boat trip down the River Tweed. Why not stay here too, either in our caravan site, self catering apartments or luxury glamping units. Roxburghe Shooting School The Roxburghe Shooting School is nestled in the grounds of one of Scotland’s finest country house hotels; The Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course. It occupies a peaceful location set within 500 acres of wooded parkland, beside the River Teviot and close to the market town of Kelso. Children’s classes available. Robert smail Printing Works Try your hand at being an apprentice Compositor in the Caseroom.See how newspapers, tickets, posters and letterheads were printed before the digital age. Explore Robert Smail’s office, scarcely altered since 1866.Admire the waterwheel that once powered the printing works.Discover a working letterpress printers. St Abbs Head Get close-up views of the feathered residents at this ‘seabird city’ from spectacular cliff-top vantage points.Be awed by the dramatic cliffs overlooking crystal-clear waters.Head inland to the Mire Loch in search of swans, ducks, damselflies and butterflies.Discover more about the wildlife, geology and history of St Abb’s Head at the Nature Centre. Spy Mission Trail Every Trail is self-guided. There are no restrictions (aside from daylight) as to when you can do them. They are not there to meet you, so you can do them whenever you like, with whoever you like.Each Trail is an A5 booklet of 8 pages. They have three themes; Murder Mystery, Treasure Hunt and Spy Mission. A Trail will be one of those three themes – it is random as to which – the Trail Writer will have decided this!
Swimming Pools Swimming is lots of fun for people of all ages and children especially love getting in the water and enjoying themselves. With so many great locations across the Borders to choose from.
Tweeddale Museum It houses a museum and gallery which present a lively programme of exhibitions throughout the year. The Chambers Room houses the extraordinary plasterwork friezes commissioned by William Chambers and exhibitions on the history of Peebles and the surrounding area. Traquair House Welcome to Traquair, Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. Visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens Traquair dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. The Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary The Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary. Located at the 80 acre estate – The Holmes, St.Boswells, near Melrose, in The Scottish Borders – the animals fortunate in having been re-homed here, are accommodated in small groups in well-fenced and watered paddocks of permanent pasture, each with a field shelter. Velvet Hall Alpacas Alpaca Trekking in the Scottish Borders An opportunity to walk with an Alpaca in the beautiful Tweed Valley countryside. There you have just a few ideas for you to go and explore the Scottish Borders.Let me know your favourite place to visit in the Borders.