Celebrate Spring in the South of Scotland

by Sara Barton, 22nd March 2023
Traquair House| Innerleithen | Scottish Borders
Celebrate Spring in the South of Scotland

Whether you are coming to celebrate words and books or Easter holidays, ancient traditions or modern events there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family happy this Spring in the South of Scotland. As Easter and school holidays fall early this year, there are some special experiences on offer for you to enjoy as a family at various attractions. This year also marks the 20th anniversary since the enactment of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, often called Right to Roam and there are plenty of great coastal paths and longer walking routes just awaiting your discovery. Your spring celebrations Start Here!

Time travel

Where: Hawick & Gilnockie Tower

Travel back to the 16th century with two weekends offering visitors a glimpse of life in the time of the Reivers and raiders of the Borders country. At the end of March, the Hawick Reivers Festival commemorates the rich story, culture and tradition of the Border Reivers. The weekend includes activities both in and outdoors, including re-enactments, concerts, lectures, craft displays, drama, a 16th century market and Reivers encampment and a torchlight procession and fireworks display. Meanwhile in mid-April the Teviotdale Steel Bonnets will be in residence at Gilnockie Tower.

Join the Hawick Reivers Festival to discover the traditions of the Borders’ past.

Celebrate the written word

Where: Dumfries & Abbotsford

For the first weekend in April, the Big DoG and Hooked are teaming up to provide a bumper weekend of children’s and young people’s books, storytelling and other activities. Taking place at Moat Brae in Dumfries, it will feature some of the nation’s favourite children’s and young adults’ authors. Paralympian swimmer Ellie Robinson, who recently published her first book Gold Medal Mysteries is joined by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, whose book the Beast and the Bethany was named by David Walliams as one of his top Christmas reads. Another speaker is Alex Foulkes, author of the Rules for Vampires series. And Aardman Animations will be running a model-making workshop, so there’s plenty on to keep everyone entertained.

BigDog tshirt on child
Celebrate the written word at the Big DoG festival at Moat Brae.

There is a word celebration of a different kind taking place at Abbotsford from 1st April. Sir Walter Scott’s fantastic collection of rare books on witchcraft (on display in the house) has inspired this new story trail, Witch Corner. There will be a new wild-wood glen full of Walter Scott’s favourite stories and their mischievous creatures, with twelve story stops, show-stopping sculptures and interactive content for all in a woodland trail full of supernatural surprises.

Witch Corner at Abbotsford is a new trail for children and adults alike.

Easter activities galore

Where: Various

Who doesn’t love a good Easter Egg Hunt? Or colourful spring crafts? There are a host of activities on offer at Dalkeith Country Park from Cookie decorating to Springtime storytime, Duck races to a Golden Easter Egg Hunt – plenty to keep children of all ages entertained. Meanwhile Traquair House is gearing up for its annual Eggs-travaganza hunt through its famous maze and grounds. At three of the Borders Abbeys there is an Easter mystery to solve – the eggs have gone missing! Help find the culprit at Melrose Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey or Dryburgh Abbey! Or you can opt for an altogether different type of Easter activity and join the alpacas at Beirhope Alpacas.

Across in Dumfries & Galloway at Drumlanrig Castle, the Adventure Playground will be open and there are Easter activities on Easter Sunday. Follow the Easter Trail or get crafty making your own Easter basket.

Find the culprit in the case of the missing eggs at Melrose, Dryburgh and Jedburgh Abbeys this Easter.

Celebrate culture

Where: Peebles & Whithorn

For the second year, the Scottish International Festival of Cinema will be held at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles. The festival is the brainchild of movie director Stephen Savage & executive producer Trinity Houston who run the highly successful ‘The Idyllwild Festival of Cinema’ in California. A meeting of minds with actress/producer Mhairi Calvey brought about the idea for a sister festival in Scotland! This year’s films include The Party, Tomorrow and The Can among many others. Don’t miss this great chance to see wonderful films. And if it is live theatre you are searching for, head to the Swallow Theatre near Whithorn – Scotland’s smallest theatre. Their spring season launches with Cecil Beaton’s Diaries followed by Hotel Elsinore.

Cecil Beaton’s Diaries kicks off the season at the Swallow Theatre near Whithorn.

On your bike!

Where: Various

This year is a fantastic year for cycling across the south of Scotland with venues hosting the UCI World Cycling and ParaCycling Championships, a brand new Gravel cycling competition and the launch of the brand new Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast cycle route. So loads to see but also plenty of cycle routes for you to experience. Why not book the kids in for some sessions to brush up on their Mountain Bike skills with Trailskills during the Easter holidays? There are three different locations across Dumfries & Galloway with sessions split for younger and older kids. Or take on a cycle challenge in the brand new Rocks and Wheels Cycle Challenge in Dalbeattie! And if you are all about watching and soaking up atmosphere, head over to Peebles at the end of April for the family-friendly Tweedlove Festival – a celebration of all things on two wheels!

Mountain bike skills lessons are on offer at three locations in Dumfries & Galloway for different age groups.

Rugby sevens

Where: Melrose

Celebrate a historical 140th anniversary with the Melrose Sevens! Head to the Home of Rugby Sevens for a weekend of events: This year there will be qualifying games on the Friday for next year’s competition and matches for the under-18s. The traditional men’s match for the 1883 Centenary Cup will be accompanied this year by a women’s tournament for a brand new cup. With so many rich traditions being enhanced and built on at this legendary club and event, it’s an event not to miss.

Melrose Sevens celebrates 140 years this April with new woman’s tournament.