With Spring slowly awakening the countryside, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders are coming to life with a variety of events, festivals and indulgent offers. From art and history to downhill adventures, plan a day out with our roundup of upcoming, unmissable experiences.
See the Scottish Borders town of Kelso transformed as the Borders Art Fair returns for another year. Over three fabulous days, the event celebrates everything visual arts, with over 70 exhibiting artists, galleries and collectives. From demonstrations and talks by some of the most established professionals in the art world to tours of the magnificent collections of Mellerstain and Marchmont House, the fair’s offer is more varied than ever. Workshops hosted by Allanbank Arts will see visitors of all ages and abilities tapping into their creative side. Younger visitors can live life in full colour with a face painter and art competition. With unique installations from Alchemy Film & Arts Festival and special showcases for aspiring young artists, this truly is an event not to miss.
Immerse yourself in the turbulent and often violent times of the Border Reivers! In the 16th century, life in the Borders was centred around loyalty to kinship and clan, not laws. Feuds between families and with those across the border meant day to day life was difficult, with ‘Reiving’ or cattle theft a crucial means of survival. With a programme of music, drama and re-enactments, the Hawick Reivers Festival takes you to this tumultuous period of Scottish history that has shaped the character of the Scottish Borders significantly.
Grab your mountain bike and head to Glentress to kick off the race season at Vallelujah. Held on some of the UK’s best-loved trails in the Tweed Valley, the first event in TweedLove’s Triple Crown Series will see riders travelling from across the country for two days of riding the – currently still-secret – course. For many, it’s an opportunity to collect their first Triple Crown points, and crucially for some participants, also the chance to qualify for the British National Enduro Series.
Now in its 13th year, this cult running event shows no sign of slowing down. Taking in the hills and countryside around Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, participants can expect a choice of three distances – the Half Stalker, Deer Stalker or Double Stalker. The infamous course is anything but easy, sending runners across rivers, through forests and up steep slopes – in the dark! Yet, this unique experience has seen the Mighty Deerstalker become the UK’s biggest mountain adventure run and a regular fixture in the Borders events calendar. So, grab your head torch and sign up!
Delicious Discoveries and Foodie Escapes
This March, foodie explorers will find good reasons to visit the Scottish Borders and Midlothian for a day – or even a weekend – of tasty treats.
Dine like a king or queen at the award-winning Cringletie: The 2 AA rosette-awarded hotel and restaurant is hosting a gourmet black-tie Champagne Dinner. Special guest Benjamin Fourmon from renowned Champagne house Joseph Perrier will be co-hosting the evening to tell the fascinating story of this historic French cuvée.
At Restoration Yard, The Kitchen sees the return of their popular Steak Night. Book a table for a different take on steak: Buccleuch Beef is known for its unique 28 days maturing process, giving the meat a certain tenderness and outstanding flavour. This evening will see you slicing into the very best cuts only.
Celebrate the Arrival of Spring
As the new season slowly announces itself with blue skies and milder temperatures, make the most of the final weekend of the Scottish Snowdrop Festival. Carpets of the dainty white flower can be spotted at several locations, including Dalkeith Country Park, Dryburgh Abbey and Dawyck Botanic Garden. It’s the perfect excuse for a weekend wander.
Now is also the perfect time for a day out exploring the history and heritage of the two areas. Around Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, attractions, museums and galleries reopen for the season.
Head to the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum and discover the rich motor racing heritage of Duns and the surrounding area. Two-time Formula One champion Jim Clark learned to drive on these very roads, and a stop by the museum will see you planning to trace his tracks in no time.
At Abbotsford, legendary writer Sir Walter Scott created some of his best-known works and his lavishly decorated Scottish Baronial mansion by the River Tweed inspires creatives to this day. Take a walk on the estate to spot snowdrops, herons and on occasion even badgers, then warm up in the onsite café.
Follow the river downstream to another grand design: At the end of the month, Paxton House reopens for the season. The Adam masterpiece impresses with an extensive picture gallery, and the nationally recognised collection of Chippendale furniture is unmatched. Outside, kids will love the special Spring Trail and adventure playground. Kids under 16 go free, making this the perfect family day out!
And of course, there’s year-round fun to be had in many other places: Check out our ideas for even more Family Days Out in Midlothian and the Borders.