Splendid summer staycations for you and your family
The summer holidays are fast approaching, bringing with them ample opportunity for adventure and magical memory-making in Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and East Lothian.
Whether it’s a seaside stroll beside fairy tale castles or finding fluffy new friends high in the hills, our beautiful region offers fun for tots, teens and everyone in between. Prepare to blow away the cobwebs, experience Swallows and Amazons style adventures and fully embrace your downtime together. Allow us to share some of our favourite activities.
If you have a family of animal lovers, you’re in for a treat in the Tweed Valley as they discover the joys of alpaca trekking with our four-legged and fluffy friends at Velvet Hall Alpacas. These regal creatures make for perfect mooching companions – take the lead and meander across the hilltops, stopping only to pose for some incredibly unique holiday photographs! Alpaca treks can be tailored from one-hour sessions to half day experiences for the whole family.
Fun at Ford & Etal
All ages will delight at the Heatherslaw Light Railway, a 15” gauge steam train running from Heatherslaw to Etal, pulled by 'Bunty' or 'Lady Augusta'. This 6.4km excursion which runs along the bank of the River Till and gives stunning views of the Northumberland countryside. Next, experience 700 years of milling history at Heatherslaw Mill, a fascinating working museum where children will relish the opportunity to dress up in Victorian clothes, learn how to operate the hoist, grind their own flour and try their hand at bread making. Don’t forget to take away some freshly milled flour to practice your newly discovered bread making skills in your C&C holiday home!
Set off for the seaside
Consistently named as one of the best beaches in the UK, pack up your fishing nets and bodyboards and get your fix of fresh sea air with a stroll along Bamburgh beachfront. Complete with a beautiful castle backdrop, dunes to get lost in, and a huge, sandy open space to stretch your legs, it’s a great spot for outdoorsy fun with the family. Perfect for picnics, rock-pooling, beach cricket and family games - be sure not to miss the village's annual sandcastle/sculpture competition on Wednesday 7th August!
Go wild in the woods
Take your team to Bowhill House for a magical day out set deep in the heart of the Scottish Borders, beside winding glens, heathery hills and ancient royal forests. They have a 'summer of fun' ahead with a different activity on daily in July and August. Explore the adventure playground with its zip-wires, tunnel slides and rope bridges or head along to one of the Ranger Clubs where den building, pond dipping, woodland art and bush craft sessions, wildlife and bird surveying and constructing houses for birds, bats and hedgehogs are order of the day. (Pictured in banner at top of page.)
Take to the water
Kielder Water and Forest Park brings you everything we know and love about Northumberland’s natural landscape - on a grand scale. Get the gang together, pack up a picnic and walk, jog or cycle around the biggest man-made lake in northern Europe. Set over 250 square miles, it’s the perfect base to explore the great outdoors. Waterside activities include a ride on the Osprey ferry, water sports and fishing boats. Nature trails include the red squirrel hide and the Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre.
Archerfield Walled Garden has fairies at the bottom of its garden - and offers a fantastic experience for families getting to know the delights of East Lothian. Take some time out for a whimsical Willow Walk or enchanting Fairy Trail - where you’ll drift off into a magical mood, finding fairytale homes hidden in the trees. Don’t forget to end your visit with a trip to the Garden Café, where local, seasonal goodies are a real treat for all.
If you’ve got budding bookworms or Harry Potter fanatics to entertain during your stay, take them for a ‘Chamber of Secrets’ adventure at Alnwick Castle, where scenes from the first two movies in the Harry Potter series were filmed. Magical activities on offer at this enchanting location include Broomstick Training – where resident wizard professors use their unique skills to teach the latest 'Hogwarts' pupils the basics of mastering the art of broomstick movements. A dragon quest, historical tours, mediaeval craft-making and have-a-go archery are just some of the activities on offer each day.