Five Fun Winter Activities in the Scottish Borders

  • Winter walks
  • Sledging
  • Wildlife spotting
  • Ice skating
  • Skiiing & tubing

Image by Ethan Hu

Winter in the Scottish Borders isn't just a time for relaxing indoors, nice and cosy though that is. No, it's a time to be out and about, enjoying bracing hikes, scenic snowscapes and a lot more wildlife than you might expect.

So if you're looking for fun activities to try on a winter holiday here, then here are a few good ideas:

1. Head off on a frosty walk
Locals know that in the Borders, picturesque walks aren't just for summer or autumn. So why not sling on a woolly scarf and head to one of our many beautiful sightseeing spots?

For instance, Cardrona Forest, the Pentland Hills and Scott's View all look stunning under a coating of frost. And if it's been snowing, you should make sure to build an Instagram-friendly snowman (just don't forget to pack a carrot for the nose).

Soak up the scenery on a winter strollSoak up the scenery on a winter strollImage by Chris Child

2. Go on a sledging adventure
Once the snow falls, the Borders has plenty of hills and slopes that would make ideal sledging spots. For instance, Born in the Borders visitor centre in Jedburgh actually has an all year round sledging slope (in the summer, you can slide down on the grass).

Bear in mind that it charges a small entry fee and you should also call ahead to make sure that you can get access on the day. Also make sure to stay safe with helmets.

Is anything more fun than sledging?Is anything more fun than sledging?Image by Michal Janek

3. Do some winter wildlife spotting
Red, roe and sika deer are just some of the amazing wildlife that you can spot in the Borders in winter. But to have the most luck, it's all about picking the right areas.

For instance, head to Glentress Forest to see red squirrels darting through trees, the River Tweed for otters playing on the banks, and the moorland area around Leithen Water for owls, golden eagles and ravens. Just remember to pack a camera, binoculars and flask of something hot.

Who knows what you'll discover?Who knows what you'll discover?Image by Carole Houghton

4. Enjoy a bit of ice magic
True, you can glide around an indoor ice rink all year round, but skating just has a little extra charm in winter. Plus it makes a fantastic family day out, ideally followed by a warming hot chocolate.

Border Ice Rink in Kelso has been going strong since 1964 and is open seven days a week, with late opening until 10pm on Mondays to Fridays. However, bear in mind that the rink runs lots of clubs and lessons, so if you're planning a visit, it's best to call ahead to check public entry times.

Take to this ice this winterTake to this ice this winterImage by Kelli McClintock

5. Try out skiing and tubing
Admittedly, the Borders isn't exactly the Cairngorms, so we're going to cheat a little with this one and recommend a brilliant artificial ski slope in nearby Midlothian instead.

The Snowsports Centre at Hillend outside Edinburgh is well worth a visit, as it's actually the longest dry ski slope in the whole of Europe. It even has a chair lift with scenic views of the city and also offers tubing (a fun winter activity with inflatables that kids will love). So who says that you have to head to the Highlands before you can whizz down slopes?

The Borders is exciting all year round, so you'll have plenty to do if you visit in winter. Why not enjoy it all from the cosy comfort of a luxury self-catering lodge?

You might also like: Harestanes Winter Walks.

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