You’ll find Macdonald Hotels & Resorts in some of the loveliest parts of Scotland, as John Lewisohn recently discovered on a short break in the Scottish Borders with his family.
The Scottish Borders are often overlooked compared to the seemingly more beautiful Highlands or cities like Edinburgh. That’s a shame because this region is beautiful, with many interesting towns, abbeys, monasteries and with a very distinct character.
If you’re heading north, chances are you will be driving through the Borders, and if you’re heading south, after a holiday, you can’t miss the Borders on the way back to England. So my advice is not just to view this characterful bit of Scotland, south of Edinburgh, as somewhere just to get through, instead stop and stay a few days. Your journey is likely to be in need of breaking up anyway, particularly with children on board, and this area has a lot to offer the whole family.
Macdonald Cardrona Hotel is the perfect Peebles base
Peebles is less than an hour south of Edinburgh and only 90 minutes from Glasgow, so it’s a good base to explore much of the Borders. My recommendation is a stay at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa on the banks of the River Tweed: the most famous Salmon fishing river in Scotland, and where guests can take advantage of the hotel’s fishing rights.
There’s virtually no need to get back in the car once you’ve arrived. As right by the hotel, you’ll find world class mountain biking and family walking trails through Glentress Forest or along the Tweed Valley Railway Path.
The hotel itself sits in 200 acre grounds and features an 18m indoor pool, as well as a gym and Elemis spa, 99 very spacious rooms and an excellent family restaurant. However, its golf course deserves particular praise. Designed by the renowned Dave Thomas, it’s both beautiful and testing, and ranks as one of the very best in the Borders, proof of that is in the many tournaments it has hosted.
The hotel offers some great golf packages, so playing this top-class course can also be remarkably good value. You might even be able to sneak in a round or two while the kids are splashing about the pool. Alternatively, you might all just want to take advantage of the huge number of family activities most of which are about 30 minutes’ drive from the hotel.
What to do and see on a family break in the Scottish Borders
For a start you can spy on ospreys in the Glentress Forest at the Tweed Valley Osprey Watch. Older kids will be thrilled to discover there’s a Go Ape in Glentress Forest too. And if you’re up for a bit of mild espionage, the self-guided Peebles Spy Mission Treasure Trail is a great all-rounder.
Head to Traquair House, just a few miles east of Peebles, to explore the maze, woodland and willow tunnels. There’s also a mini adventure playground here, plus workshops and activity sheets to keep under 12s busy.
If you drive 30 minutes east, you’ll come to Galashiels, home to The Great Tapestry of Scotland. This awe-inspiring work, made up of 160 panels and 300 miles of wool, tells the story of Scotland from primordial ooze to the present day. It’s a fascinating experience for the entire family, and nicely educational too.
Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has 10 hotels and 3 self-catering resorts in Scotland alone, you’ll find them in popular places like Aviemore in The Highlands, Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Trossachs. In England, there are Macdonald Hotels everywhere from the Lake District to the New Forest. And the group even offers three self-catering resorts in Spain’s Costa del Sol.
Staff at Cardrona are justifiably proud of both their hotel and the region and will be very happy to suggest their own personal favourite days out close-by. Meriting more than one visit to enjoy all that the area has to offer Cardrona is also excellent value for a family break.
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