Adventures down on the farm

by Sara Barton, 10th May 2024
Adventures down on the farm

Discover the charm of Scotland’s agricultural tapestry this May as you journey through the picturesque farms scattered across the South of Scotland. Did you know that more than 80% of Scotland’s land is used for agriculture, making Scotland’s farmers the real custodians of our breath-taking scenery? The South of Scotland embodies this with rolling moorlands, ancient woodlands, world-class beaches, green fields and iconic rivers. Nestled amongst all this, are the farmer custodians ready to warmly welcome visitors. We’ve joined forces with our friends at Go Rural Scotland to curate an unforgettable holiday itinerary brimming with must-see farm visits, delectable tastes, and delightful stays.

Where to visit?

Do not miss the wonderfully down-to-earth family farm, Jacksons at Jedburgh. Whatever they offer is always in demand from birthday parties for little ones to lamb feeding slots during the spring. These are hands-on, real-life, farm experiences. The Jackson family shows you how their Scottish Borders beef and sheep farm works on a daily basis. The activities follow the farming calendar and book up quickly so don’t wait till you get here to put your name down. 

Join a farm tour at Jacksons of Jedburgh to find out about daily life on a farm.

Have you ever got up close and personal with an alpaca? These friendly South American creatures are quite at home in the Cheviot Hills where Beirhope Alpacas is based. Alpacas love a good walk and are very happy to be taken out for a trek – you’ll get fresh air, stunning views and a stroll you’ll never forget! Meanwhile visitors in Dumfries and Galloway should head to the heart of the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere to find Galloway Alpacas. Book a private trek or join a group walk with the alpacas. These animals are also believed to enhance well being and who wouldn’t feel better after a hug with one of these calm, passive woolly friends?

Head into the hills with alpacas at Beirhope Alpacas or Galloway Alpacas.

Younger children will love checking out which animals are in residence at the Animal Barn at Ernespie Farm Centre plus there is a soft play area and an outdoor play area ideal for children of all ages. The outdoor area has everything from peddle karts, bouncy cushions, a zip wire and a cresta slide. Inside, the soft play area features slides and ball pools keeping the kids occupied and giving adults a chance to grab a coffee in the on-site café.  And not all the animals are in the barns – take a Woodland Walks to find the bees who make the honey for sale in the gift shop.

There are tractor tours through the barn at Ernespie Farm.

And one to tuck into the back of your head for autumn time, is the wonderful pumpkin picking patch at Clackmae Farm. A family dairy, sheep and pumpkin farm, the Williams offer farm tours and seasonal events including a pick your own pumpkin patch and carving workshops.

Where to stay?

What better way to get to know about farming life than embedding yourself there for the week? Learn the rhythms of the day and seasons as you take a farm tour, help collect eggs and understand what goes into producing food for our tables. No matter what level of comfort you seek there is something for everyone. Adventurous types may like to try a cosy pod at Stouslie Snugs, or camp in one of Balnab Farm’s comfortable canvas tents, which have kitchens and plenty of space! Or maybe you fancy a stay in a grown-up treehouse such as the one at Sandystones where all the materials and tradesmen came from a 5-mile radius! And of course there are delightful classic farm stays across the region such as those we’ve rounded up in our Rural Escapes Blog.

Lambing time at Stouslie Snugs, Stouslie Snugs Luxury Farm Glamping
You can watch the lambs frollicking at Stouslie Snugs Luxury Farm Glamping near Hawick.

What to taste

Learn all about cheese making at the Ethical Dairy near Gatehouse of Fleet. You can experience this first hand by enrolling in a cheese making course to discover the process which turns raw milk into a wonderous edible delight! Or see behind the scenes as you take a tour with farmer David Finlay and discover how he became the first commercial dairy in the UK to follow the cow with calf method.

Take the farm tour, or take a class and learn how to make cheese at the Ethical Dairy

A meal you won’t forget in a hurry is on offer at Wilson’s Farm & Kitchen where a real farm to fork experience takes place monthly. Their 25-mile BBQ, as the name suggests, guarantees only meat or seafood sourced from within a 25-mile radius of the farm is cooked on farmer Robert’s The Beast BBQ or in the smoker. Fresh salads, locally made bread and pudding follow the main event, which starts with an optional tour by Robert of the farmyard and garden which produces many of the ingredients for the meal. Running from May until September, guests can enjoy their meal picnic style on the grass or can opt to book a Wee Bothy with a firepit for up to eight people. And in case of bad weather there’s the option to decamp to the Hay Shed or the Stables – seating is communal and there’s a relaxed social feel. Booking essential and BYOB – glasses provided!

Enjoy the conviviality of a meal together with meat and ingredients all locally sourced or grown on Wilson’s Farm.

If you are visiting the Dumfries area, you can stock up for your stay at Kilnford Farm Shop on the outskirts of town. Here you can buy the home reared Galloway beef, black faced lamb and outdoor reared pork produced by Jock Rome, whose family have been on this land for more than 300 years. You can also dine in at the café, grab a quick bite at the Bothy or fill up your basket from the butchery and deli counter, which is packed full of local, Scottish and speciality cheeses as well as homemade pies and Kilnford’s own home-cured meats.

Kilnford Beltie Galloways, Kilnford Farm Retail Ltd.
Kilnford Farm shop opened in 2011 showcasing meats produced on Jock Rome’s farm.

At Peelham Farm in the Scottish Borders, the Walton family focuses on producing Aberdeen Angus cattle organically and pasture-for-life with fattening sheep. They have an on-farm butchery processing meat and charcuterie which can be purchased online and collected from the farm or delivered direct – ideal for self-catering guests. In addition, the farm holds butchery courses once a month from January – October so you can learn how to do it for yourself!

The Homestead Cafe and Farmshop on the Hirsel Estate offers visitors simple lunches, locally roasted coffee and homemade cakes. Beef and lamb come from the estate, as well as game, fruit and vegetables when in season. The jams and chutneys are made by the team and many of the products are available in the farm shop for guests to enjoy at home. The venue can be booked for celebrations and functions and the estate offers a wonderful backdrop for memorable photos.

Build up an appetite with a walk through the Hirsel Estate before a visit to the Homestead Cafe and Farm shop.

Discover more rural adventures across the South of Scotland and beyond with GoRural!