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Family days out in the Scottish Borders

The guide to the best places to go and things to do in and around the Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders is a great place for children with an abundance of family-friendly activities and attractions, indoors and outdoors, to keep everyone happy all year round.

An hour south of Edinburgh by road or train, there's no shortage of adventures for all the family. Climb and zip wire through a forest, fly birds of prey or whizz down a hillside on a grass sledge: the choice is yours.

We've picked out some of our favourites to help you make the most of your precious family time. Why not watch this little trailer from Visit Scotland, then dive on into the listings below?

One for all the family. There's a brewery, there's a distillery, there's a lovely restaurant with some seriously tasty baking, there's roller-skating, there's grass sledging, there's ospreys. Seriously, there's a lot going on here. Open all year.

OK, we're cheating a teeny bit because it's a couple of miles over the border into England. But this is a splendid day out. See eagles, hawks, owls and loads of other birds and take part in flying them on the regular displays. The staff take a genuine interest in their work and. They'll do personal experiences too. Great fun. Open all year.

Fast becoming a must-do experience. You can just pet one of these quirky creatures or take it off on a lead for a wall. There's scenery. There's alpacas. It's oddly relaxing. And kids love them. Open all year (weather permitting).

For those who prefer not to wrap the kids in cotton wool, something to get them out and about and off the Xbox. Tree climbing, tomahawk throwing: what's not to like? Drop them off for a day of adventure on one of their school holiday camps or arrange a bespoke experience.

Take a short high speed blast up the coast or a more leisurely coastal exploration. Lots of seabirds and the chance of dolphins too. Great for all ages.

The maze is the big draw for children. If you like them enough, you can shout directions from the terrace to help them find their way out. There's also an adventure playground and some adorable animals.

Family friendly treetop adventures for those with a head for heights. There's a 50 metre high zip wire that runs for 325 metres and a full high ropes course. You can see ospreys at the nearby viewing centre during the summer season. Open all year.

Lots going on here. There's a great adventure playground in the woods, lots of hands on events during the summer season and LandRover safaris up onto the hills of the estate. There'a ruined castle too. Look out for red squirrels - they're making a comeback and there are regular sightings. The full programme is available during the summer season but the grounds are open all year round.

Adventures and tree climbing for anyone aged six or over. It's what it sounds like - you climb a big tree. But there are ropes and safety helmets and anyone can have a go. Lovely views from up there too. Open all year.

Bring out your inner Robin Hood. Archery for children 7+ (though there's some fun activities for younger children too). Events at various castles but can also put together a personalised experience.

Family adventure days throughout the year at Newcastleton. There's a 300 metre zip line, along with gorge walking, climbing, fencing, bouldering, kayaking, swimming and archery.

Outdoor activities in the heart of the countryside west of Peebles, including raft building, zorbing, canoeing, climbing or archery.

And a few nearby extras:

Giant pandas, Scottish wildcats, meerkats, chimpanzees, a penguin parade and the chance to walk underneath a tiger. It's a full day out for all the family. Open all year.

Kids driving you up the wall? Take them somewhere they can climb their own walls. Fully supervised roped adventures for all ages at Ratho to the west of Edinburgh.

Interactive science museum in Edinburgh. Travel back in time to the Big Bang. There's a 360 dome cinema. And a mini-iceberg, which is pretty cool...

The longest remaining stretch of Hadrian's Wall and a cavalry fort, with an entertaining museum with plenty of interactive exhibits aimed at children and an engaging clue-solving quest around the ruins.

Plenty to keep all the family busy at this engaging museum in Carlisle. Experience a raid by the bloodthirsty Border Reivers, dress up as a Roman soldier and fire a Roman weapon.

Puffins aplenty and lots of other sea life to keep all the family happy. Trips vary in length and you can land on some of the islands - depending on weather conditions - or just enjoy a leisurely couple of hours on the water as the super-helpful crew point out the wildlife.

We're always updating the list, so check again soon for our latest discoveries.

Need somewhere to stay?

Too much to choose from? Why not base yourself at the heart of the Borders and make a holiday of it.

The Five Turrets is a glamorous self catering/exclusive-use holiday property near the centre of town, with fairytale castle looks and accommodation for up to eight people in four double bedrooms. There's secure cycle storage on site.

The Five Turrets in Selkirk was named by The Sunday Times as one of the top 25 self catering properties in the UK for 2019.

Check availability here

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