Here's where to find fiery foliage, highland cattle, leaping salmon and much more in the Scottish Borders...
Autumn is the season when Mother Nature really struts her stuff in Scotland, which is why it's a great time to escape on a country break. And from cheeky squirrels to rutting deer, there's plenty of wonderful things to see in the Scottish Borders.
But where should you go for a great family day out? For inspiration, here are five of the best autumn nature spots:
1. Waterside walk at Tweedbank Nature Trail
This short, looping nature trail near Galashiels will take you around Tweedbank Park and Gunknowe Loch. It's an easy walk for children and there is plenty to look out for, including salmon leaping in the River Tweed, squirrels nibbling on pinecones and the vivid leaves of maple tree.
If the little ones want to work off even more energy, there is a play park as well. Just make sure to bring wellies on wet days, as there are a few muddy bits on this route.
2. Fabulous foliage at Dawyck Botanic Garden
Located in the Upper Tweed Valley near Peebles, this stunning botanical garden looks amazing in autumn. Many of the trees are ablaze with fiery colours, including the North American yellow birch.
It's also a great place for a scavenger hunt, as you can ask children to collect conkers, crab apples, acorns, fir cones and maple keys. And don't forget to sniff the large Japanese katsura tree, as it gives off a magical caramel scent in autumn.
3. Wildlife ponds at Wooplaw Woodland
There is plenty to explore in this community woodland between Galashiels and Lauder, including nature trails, a trickling stream and even forest sculptures. The woodland is also known for its lovely bird chorus, and kestrel, buzzards, pheasants, bullfinch and owls might all make an appearance.
One of the highlights of Wooplaw is the wildlife ponds, where you can try to spot frogs, dragonfly larvae and, if you're lucky, a few last newts before they hibernate.
4. Leaping salmon at Philiphaugh
Philiphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre near Selkirk is a place where you can learn you all about these energetic Atlantic fish. Based at the River Ettrick, autumn is the best time to go on the Salmon Spotting Walk, as it's peak leaping season.
The centre also offers a fascinating fish-eye view the river via a live underwater camera, plus video games, interactive displays and even a chance to pretend to be salmon fry. Afterwards, you could stop for a bite to eat at the Waterwheel Restaurant.
5. Highland cows at The Hirsel
The Hirsel Lodge is an A Listed stately home near to Coldstream in Berwickshire. Its beautiful grounds and country park look glorious in autumn, and there are various walks to enjoy.
One walk will take you through Dunglass Wood and past the Hirsel Lake, where you can see many geese, ducks and gulls, as well as gliding swans. You will also pass the impressive old house itself, which will give you a chance to say hello to the herd of Douglas Highland Cattle. There is also a museum and a tearoom for a welcome cuppa at the end of your adventure. Note that there is usually a small charge to enter the estate and if it's wet, you should wear boots on this walk.
Hopefully this has given you a little bit of inspiration for fun family days out in the Scottish Borders in autumn. If you're planning a holiday to this lovely region, then why not have a nosy at our luxury self-catering lodges in Oxton?
You might also like: October in the Scottish Borders.
Airhouses is more than an award-winning holiday escape — it’s an experience you will never forget. Explore woodland walks, hiking trails and the peaceful village of Oxton (plus Edinburgh is less than an hour away). And don’t forget to say hello to our friendly animal family of alpacas, goats, donkeys, pigs, Shetland ponies and more.