What’s on in November

by Sara Barton, 20th October 2023
Monteviot Lights | nr Jedburgh | Credit: Phil Wilkinson
What’s on in November

It doesn’t matter that the days are shorter and the temperatures a little cooler, there is still a multitude of activities to entertain visitors to the South of Scotland. Get a back stage tour of a historic house; learn in detail about the moon; see fantastic portraits from this year’s annual awards – all of it is here waiting for you. And the start of the festive season draws us in with markets and festive crafts. While there is plenty to see indoors, do dress up warm and prepare to be dazzled at the first light show trail dotted through the grounds and gardens at one of our great historic homes. So much to see – what will you choose?

Delve behind the scenes at Paxton House

Every Wednesday throughout November, visitors can take a tour offering a peak behind the scenes at the stunning 18th century Paxton House. This offers an unrivalled opportunity to explore its two nationally recognised collections of furniture, created by the feted furniture maker of the day, Thomas Chippendale and renowned cabinet maker William Trotter.  Add to this the items in Paxton’s world class collection of costumes, including the clothes worn by Patrick Home during his time at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia. In addition explore the Caribbean connections of the occupants and you will have an insightful tour including the social history of the house. This is a superb opportunity to explore while Paxton House is closed to the general public.

Drawing Room
Discover the history of the furniture and costumes such as these in the Drawing Room on the Behind the Scenes tour at Paxton House.

Turn your head to the sky

If the night sky is a passion, you are in for a treat. The Dark Sky Planetarium has launched a series of winter talks, which start this month. Examine in detail the surface of the moon with Dark Sky Ranger Jesse Beaman, as they take a look at the landscape of the moon and highlight various lunar events. Or perhaps your interest will be caught by Professor Andy Lawrence as he discusses the increasing environmental issues of satellite activity which is brightening our night skies. How this effects our viewing and changes our perspective of the stars should make for a fascinating discussion!

The Dark Sky Planetarium is hosting a series of Dark Sky talks throughout the winter.

Scottish Portrait Award tour

If you are headed to Kirkcudbright, do not miss the Scottish Portrait Award exhibit at the Kirkcudbright Galleries, which opened last month but is here until mid-January. The Scottish Portrait Awards has quickly established itself as a barometer of contemporary Scottish art practice, giving visibility to a mix of well-established artists as well as newcomers across a wide variety of styles. This exhibit with more than 80 works acts as an insight into portraiture today in all its diversity. The awards spotlight artists and photographers telling the stories of our time. In selecting works for the exhibition, the judges look for authenticity that resonates with and engages the viewer.  

More than 80 works will be on display at Kirkcudbright Galleries as part of the Scottish Portrait Awards tour.

Pause to remember

The Royal Scots Museum is taking a temporary exhibition to Dalkeith Palace, to promote the continuing relevance of Remembrance Day more than a century after the finish of the First World War. On show will be interactive exhibits, including local soldiers’ stories, of interest to an audience of all ages, particularly those from the local area. Explore Borders heritage and history here and remember those who fought for freedom.

A Remembrance exhibit from the Royal Scots Museum will be on display at Dalkeith Palace in early November.

Festive preparations

This quieter time of year is perfect for getting prepared for the busy festive season. How wonderful to return home knowing some of the Christmas list has been ticked off, or that there is a wreath ready to hang! The Upland Made market offers the ideal opportunity to seek out high quality hand-crafted gifts for friends and loved ones. Or get ahead with your decorating scheme with a Wreath Making masterclass on offer at GG’s Yard. For a superb family evening out, bundle up warm and enter the beautifully lit winter wonderland at Monteviot House and Gardens as they open their inaugural winter trail event, Monteviot Lights, illuminating the natural beauty of the Scottish Borders.

Get into the spirit and make your own wreath at GG’s Yard, Laggan.