Five indoor attractions to visit for half-term

by Sara Barton, 30th September 2021
Thirlestane Castle | Lauder
Five indoor attractions to visit for half-term

It is always good to have a few rainy day options up your sleeve when plannning your half-term activities. Luckily the South of Scotland has a great selection of museums, galleries and attractions sure to appeal if the weather just isn’t right for an outdoor activity! Discover the recent past, or travel to space. Take a ride in a F1 cockpit simulator or seek out ghosts in a former jail. Whatever you choose we’re sure you’ll enjoy your day out!

Where: Dumfries

Even on a wet day, you’ll get a panoramic view from the Camera Obscura located in the Dumfries Museum. Originally an astronomical instrument, it was installed in 1836 when the windmill was converted into an observatory. In the museum you can see the first every bicycle! Invented by a Dumfriesshire blacksmith, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, his “pedal cycle” or “velocipede” is on display along with other fascinating objects from the past.

Climb to the top of the Dumfries Museum camera obscura for a spectacular view

Where: Duns

If you or the family are wowed by the speed of Formula 1, then a visit to the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum is a must. In the 1960s Jim Clark won the World Championships twice and The TImes once named him the greatest Formula One driver of all time. The museum, which opened in 2019, celebrates his versatile achievements. Not only did he dominate Formula 1 but he became the first European in 40 years to win the famous American Indianapolis 500 race in 1965. Gathered in one place you can see videos of his races, his trophies and jump into the cockpit of a simulator to experience what it might be like to travel at speed!

motorsport museum
Discover the incredible life of Jim Clark

Explore your favourite castle

Where: Various locations

There are plenty of castles to explore in southern Scotland. For a rainy day how about the Jedburgh Castle Jail which looks the part but started life as a jail in the 1820s. There’s lots to do for a day out – dressing up in costumes, finding out about life in the jail, and maybe hearing about some ghostly sightings? If it’s only a bit damp, Drumlanrig Castle has lovely estate walks and trails open year round where everyone can work up a good appetite and burn off some excess energy!

Jedburgh Castle and Jail offers a good escape for a rainy day.

Where: Dumfries

Moat Brae inspired the Neverland of Peter Pan for author JM Barrie who lived in Dumfries during his teenage years. This enchanted setting has just re-opened to the public this autumn. The house itself and the Neverland Discovery garden are worth a visit no matter what the weather. And the Lost Boys Bistro serves up light lunches and scones! This is truly a magical place, which is also the National Centre for Children’s Literature, focused on developing children’s love of reading and literature.

Moat Brae house and garden
Let their imaginations run wild at Moat Brae House and Garden in Dumfries Credit: VisitScotland/PRImaging

Where: Hawick

Set in a 500-year old tower, the Borders Textile Towerhouse will give you an insight into the history of Hawick, as well as the woollen industry that made it famous. For more than 200 years the area has been synonymous with knitwear and tweed. The museum displays fashion, artefacts, photographs and film to bring this history to life.

Borders Textile Towerhouse offers insight into the region’s more than 200 years of history in tweed manufacturing

Where: Kirkcudbright

An ideal stop for a rainy day is a bit of star gazing at the Dark Space Planetarium. There is a domed cinema screen to give you an immersive experience whilst taking a trip through the solar system. And interactive exhibits let you get up close with the experiences of astronauts in space. This is definitely one for aspiring cosmonauts.

While you are in Kirkcudbright why not make a day of it by visiting some of the other fantastic attractions the town has to offer. See where artist EA Hornel once lived and worked at Broughton House. Or check out the works of the town’s Artist Colony at Kirkcudbright Galleries.

Dark Space Planetarium
The Dark Space Planetarium is an excellent weather option for a day out in Kirkcudbright.