Although you can’t visit us at the moment, you can still get a flavour of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders’ fantastic offer from the comfort of your sofa. Explore our attractions, get up close to our wildlife, be inspired by our history, and take part in our festivals – and do all of it online.
Whether you’re a culture lover, animal friend or looking for fascinating local stories, experience the two areas through webcams, live streams, podcasts and more. Here is our round-up of some of the best ways to explore Midlothian and the Borders virtually.
Head on a Farm Tour with Jacksons at Jedburgh
Visit Kersheugh, a family-run farm near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. In true farmer style, let the Jackson family take you on live-streamed tours in their landrover, passing through fields of sheep and cows. With lambing and calving season in full swing, you will also get to meet the newborn animals. So, tune in every Thursday for up close looks at the pet lambs, fun farm facts and rolling Borders countryside.
Take in views of the Pentlands with Eastside Cottages
Eastside nestles beautifully in a valley in the Pentland Hills, just south of Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. You may not be able to explore the hills for now, but you can bring these incredible views straight to your home with Eastside’s webcam. The camera sits at Westside, pointing northwards, roughly towards the West Kip, with Balerno and Edinburgh hidden behind the hills. Spot the sheep on the hillsides, or simply sit back and take in the views.
Hear Stories from the Hawick Reivers Festival
The Hawick Reivers Festival returns in 2021, showcasing what life was like for the men and women in the Border Marches. Until then, join genealogist Wendy Tait as she travels through 30 years of archives and research on the festival’s Instagram account. Through lives, short videos, pictures and stories, she tells the fascinating stories of the Border Reivers. Discover important locations, famous and lesser-known reiver families, and start tracing your own lineage back to these turbulent times.
Attend an Online Film Festival with Alchemy Live
Now more than ever, the annual Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival wants to showcase film as a means of generating discussion, strengthening community, and stimulating creativity. So, the festival is moving online, to an exclusively digital platform: Alchemy Live. Tune in to the free live stream and immerse yourself in three days of the very best international experimental film. This year’s programme is a mix of short and feature-length films that is sure to captivate audiences across the world.
Craft the National Mining Museum and Penicuik House
Those familiar with the blocky world of Minecraft might know about the endless possibilities of creating buildings and entire worlds. But with the help of Crafting The Past, you can add to this by exploring some of Scotland’s popular historic sites. Gather your budding archaeologists, builders and historians and head to the National Mining Museum or Penicuik House for a virtual visit.
Join the Wellbeing Lab at Restoration Yard
If you miss the Wellbeing Lab at Restoration Yard, you are in luck. They are bringing yoga to you through Zoom. With a variety of classes available, you can choose from classes including Sunrise Yoga, Mindfulness Meditations and more. They’re easy to access online, and beginner’s courses are available, too. And, for those in search of some extra self-care, Wellbeing Consultant Jen is on hand, offering advice through blog posts and videos. So, sign up. Breathe. Focus. Relax.
Discover Sir Walter Scott and Abbotsford
Scott’s novels have shaped Scotland’s national identity in incredible ways, championing the country’s stories and heroes. But how did he become the best-selling author of his time? Join Scott: The Man Behind the Monument, a free four-week Massive Open Online Course from the University of Aberdeen and Abbotsford, Scott’s home in the Borders, to find out. Dive into the novelist’s inspirations, his outstanding collections, the background of some of his best-loved works, and how literature shapes our heritage.
Follow the Tweed Valley Osprey Project
See incredible wildlife up close with the Tweed Valley Osprey Project’s webcam at Glentress Forest. The project was started to offer attractive breeding sites for these spectacular birds and thus encourage them to return to the area. Clean water, plenty of fish and tall trees are all vital for ospreys, making the Tweed Valley the perfect home. The birds return year after year, and, thanks to the webcam, you can watch live as they raise their family.
Listen to the Scotland Starts Here Podcast
Let the sound and voices of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders take you on an adventure, without leaving your home. With four episodes to choose from, listen to the fascinating stories of local guides, artists, and entrepreneurs. From the bloody history of the Border Reivers to mountain biking adventures, from the textile heritage of the Tweed to delicious craft gin, immerse yourself.
Go on a tour with Historic Environment Scotland
If you are itching to explore, head to the Borders Abbeys and Smailholm Tower – without leaving your couch. Historic Scotland are making their audio guides available online during lockdown. Discover the stories of great Scottish heroes like Robert the Bruce and Sir Walter Scott. Alternatively, explore what it was like to live and worship at glorious Jedburgh Abbey.
Download the Scotland Starts Here App
If you’re looking for even more stories, tune into the audio channels on the Scotland Starts Here app. Discover tours by the guides of Rosslyn Chapel and Abbotsford, and lose yourself in the fairytales and myths of the two areas with expert storytellers. Prefer some music? You will find upbeat ceilidh tunes, Midlothian and Borders artists, as well as a collection of classic local songs that are sure to get you singing along.