Our beautiful Borders is finally opening up to visitors again, meaning that you can start planning an exciting summer getaway. But with some lockdown restrictions still in place, where can you head to for sightseeing and activities?
For starters, here are a few suggestions to suit various ages and tastes, from families to outdoor lovers to history buffs (do check individual websites for updates though, as the days and times below can change)...
1. Monkey around at GoApe
Nestled in Glentress Forest with views over the Tweed Valley, this family-friendly adventure attraction lets you explore the woodlands via a treetop rope course. Now it is open for visitors again, with added safety measures in place. Families from different households will be asked to socially distance, but that won't stop you all from having plenty of forest fun.
Suitable for ages 10+, GoApe's thrilling features include high-speed zip wires, free-fall Tarzan swings and daring crossings that take two to three hours to complete. After a spring and summer of kids being cooped up indoors, this is the ideal way for the whole family to let off a bit steam.
Opening days and times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
2. Explore the gardens of Abbotsford
This stunning country house, famous for being the former home of Sir Walter Scott, is undergoing a phased re-opening. Although the house itself is still closed for visitors, you can still stroll around the gardens, enjoy a cup of tea in the lovely Ochiltree cafe (dogs are welcome on the balcony), pick up souvenirs in the shop and even browse the exhibition.
The grounds of Abbotsford are wonderful to explore and there are a number of walking trails too, including the Borders Abbey Way and Tweedbank.
Opening days and times: Wednesday to Sunday,10am to 4pm.
3. Have a swinging time at Eyemouth Golf Club
There are quite a few golf courses in the Scottish Borders to choose from, but Eyemouth Golf Club is considered the best in the region. A multi-award-winning green, it boasts a truly jaw-dropping location on the Berwickshire coast.
Located on top of Gunsgreen Hill, you can enjoy views of the pretty fishing town of Eyemouth. The course's sixth hole drops right down into the ocean and is one of the most photographed in Scotland.
Opening days and times: Open seven days at various times. Note that you will need to wear a mask to enter the golf shop.
4. Wave your cares away with a day at the beach
If you're keen to keep practicing social distancing but still want to enjoy the great outdoors, then the beaches of the Borders would be a fantastic option (especially for families and dog owners).
Pease Bay is flanked by sandstone cliffs and has a lovely sandy beach. It is also only a short stroll away from Pease Dean Wildlife Reserve, which has paths leading through ancient woodland.
Another great beach spot is the seaside town of Eyemouth, where you can enjoy a delicious Italian ice cream by the harbour, then take a clifftop walk to the charming fishing village of St. Abbs (famous for its massive seabird population).
Days and times: No restrictions, but if you're looking to socially distance then it's best avoid busy weekends.
5. Or just shop until you drop...
With the majority of stores now opening their doors again across the Borders, why not treat yourself to a bit of a shopping spree? As long as you remember to wear a mask and check the social distancing instructions of individual shops, you're all set to go.
A few of the best spots include the Hirsel Arts & Craft Centre at Coldstream, where you can browse for beautiful handmade goods like ceramics and glassware; the Johnstons of Elgin visitor centre at Hawick, which sells quality fabrics and fashions; and the Born in the Borders shop and cafe at Jedburgh, which specialises in local produce such as fine wines, beers, cakes, ice cream and even its very own botanical craft gin. Plus don't forget Cocoa Black Chocolate Boutique in Peebles and Fish & Fine Foods in Duns.
Plus it's worth mentioning that we have our own lovely Farm Shop at Airhouses. You can pick up handmade ready meals from Cook of Morningside, ice cream from Eyemouth, butter from Kelso, and even wool from our alpacas and llama. Our how about choosing a local souvenir like a scented candle or Hannah Longmuir stationery?
Days and times: Dependant on the store — please check individual websites.
There's lots more to see and do in the Scottish Borders this summer. So why not enjoy a well-deserved change of scene on an Airhouses luxury lodge break?
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5 Self Catering "5 Star" Luxury Lodges each with their own Hot Tub in Scotland, close to Edinburgh in the Scottish Borders offering you peace, tranquillity and a place to escape to in the heart of beautiful Scotland.