Soothe body and soul in the South of Scotland 

by Sara Barton, 16th February 2023
SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Spa | Kelso, Scottish Borders
Soothe body and soul in the South of Scotland 

As people focus on their mental wellbeing and physical health, holidays are often the best time to start a self-care routine or indulge in some relaxing me-time. The South of Scotland offers an abundance of choice for those searching for activities to help them wind down, recharge and refocus. Read on to be inspired by the natural beauty of the region and the options for releasing the stresses of everyday life – your wellbeing starts here.

Switch off at a spa

Ease away the cares of the world with a retreat to a spa – whether you go for the day or a short break there is plenty of choice. Certain to be top of anyone’s list is the newly opened spa at Schloss Roxburghe near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Uniquely, there is a heated outdoor infinity edge pool, both indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, an additional plunge pool, treatment rooms and an embedded Finnish dry sauna. And the spa is open to non-residents. Or there is firm favourite Stobo Castle, a wonderful overnight experience with massages and facials worked in around meals and a relaxed casual atmosphere. Head to Peebles Hydro where spa experts PURE spa are in charge – from a Fresh Start package to a luxury spa day for two, you will have plenty of choice. In the heart of Dumfries, the Cairndale Hotel & Spa offers a retreat with gymnasium, hot spa bath, sauna, steam room and swimming pool. And don’t worry, a spa experience does not have to come at vast expense. Easterbrook pool and spa at The Crichton allows you to choose your accommodation locally and pay to access the facilities as you wish.

A relaxing massage is an excellent way to unwind.

Soak away your stresses

Enjoy a long luxurious soak in your very own hot tub with a self-catering option. There is plenty of choice giving you all the flexibility to focus on you. Fancy curling up in front of a wood stove with a good book? How about a log cabin and a wood-fired tub on the Corncockle Estate? Or what about views of the Solway Firth and a private chef to cater to your culinary needs? Moorside Farm boasts a hot tub, stunning views and owner Scott is a Michelin-trained chef! What could be more relaxing than a wonderful starry sky as you let the warm waters wash away your worries? Try Alpnhaus at Singdean, which also offers breakfast. Its remote location means it has an unparalleled view of the beautiful night sky. Hot tubs, night skies and ocean views are also on offer if you rent one of the larger lodges at Whitecairn Caravans Holiday Park which has views over Luce Bay.

Attend to your well being with a soak in a hot tub at Corncockle Estate.
Hot tub and your own log cabin await at the Corncockle Estate, near Lockerbie.

Pedal yourself to wellness

For some wellness is all about staying active and letting the mind rest. So head off on a cycle tour through the south of Scotland. From quiet country lanes to challenging hill climbs, mountain biking trails through the 7Stanes to the increasingly popular gravel tracks, the region offers plenty of choice for your cycling needs. Try a three-day Galloway Gravel tour with Trailbrakes Biking Holidays or book the Gravel for Mortals and Gods experience with Galloway Cycling Holidays to experience why so many riders are getting excited about the region’s gravel routes. Or hone your mountain biking skills – from finding the flow to mastering drops – with a workshop courtesy of Trailskills MTB guiding and coaching. And don’t forget the kids need taking care of too – Ridelines offers Kids Camps throughout the year as well as skills courses and guided trails for all ages.

Tackle the Gravel for Mortals by Galloway Cycling Holidays as a way of tackling your well being this year.
Galloway is fast becoming THE destination for those want to hone and challenge their Gravel riding skills.

Tranquility while you paddle

Getting on to the water can be a perfect way to feel in sync with nature. From canoeing on the River Tweed with Biggar Adventure to spending some time paddle boarding on St Mary’s Loch with locally-based Kayak and SUP Hire there are many options. Take in the rolling hills around you as you drift along. Further west, Loch Ken awaits with a wide variety of water wellness therapy activities, courtesy of the Galloway Activity Centre. Head out on paddle boards, kayaks and more and feel your stresses melt away.

Wonder on the water - Stand up Paddleboarding at Galloway Activity Centre - a great way to tackle your mental health and physical well being.
Leave your worries on the water – paddle standing up or sitting down, the choice is yours.

Walk away your worries

The South of Scotland has superb walking opportunities for those who want to take life at a slower pace. Set yourself the challenge of a multi-day route such as the Southern Upland Way, the Whithorn Way or St Cuthbert’s Way. Or tackle the Merrick, the highest peak in the South of Scotland. Prefer a walk along the gorgeous coastline? Try the Berwickshire Coastal Path on the east coast or the Mull of Galloway circular on the south west – both provide stunning scenery and wonderful encounters with wildlife. Just want to wander along a beach searching for shells? Rockcliffe and its neighbours along the Solway Coast were named in the UK’s top 50 by the Sunday Times in 2022 and Coldingham Sands in the Borders has golden sand and specialised beach wheelchairs so everyone can visit.

Explore the hills and glens, moors and mountains and coastal paths of the South of Scotland.

Gaze at the galaxy

Shift your perspective by looking up and taking in the wonders above. The South of Scotland has some of the best dark skies in the UK. Within the International Dark Sky Park in the Galloway Forest Park you can take guided star gazing tours with Matthew, the Dark Sky Ranger or Elizabeth Tindall – ask about her Star Picnic! In Moffat, there’s a community observatory and it’s the UK’s first Dark Skies town with town lighting designed to minimise light pollution. For a daytime cosmic experience, marvel at the wonders of Crawick Multiverse. This former open cast coal face has become a divine landscape with distinctive land formations created by the late Charles Jencks.

Gaze up at the Milky Way to get perspective - a great way to tackle your well being and mental health in 2023.
Gaze up at the stars in the amazing Dark Sky Park, Galloway Forest Park.

Shift your perspective

Sometimes admiring someone else’s perspective and creations can give you the mental stimulus you need to tackle your own wellbeing. Take a tour like the Kirkcudbright Art Tour and learn about the artists who made this town their home and the legacy they left behind. Or visit the Borders Art Fair– perhaps you’ll find a forever memory of your escape to the South of Scotland. Get up close and personal during Spring Fling in Dumfries and Galloway. Artists throw open their studios so you can visit, take tours and gain insight into their creative processes.

Out 'n' About, KAT
Take an art tour to learn about Kirkcudbright’s artistic past and present.

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