Ad: Visit Scotland
Hello, welcome back to the blog! The summer solstice has literally just flown past and we are hurtling into what I hope are the best days of summer. My garden is finally flourishing after a very cool spring, and coming into its own with lots of colour and the first harvests from the kitchen garden. However, today isn’t about my garden, because we went out! Out Out!
Today’s post took me out of my comfort zone quite literally. After being home for the past year, the thought of leaving the sanctuary and safety of my home and garden felt hugely overwhelming, as I’m sure many can relate. When Visit Scotland approached me to be part of their #HameTownTourist campaign I jumped at the opportunity. What better way for my family and I to dip our toes back in the water so to speak then to start off close to home, and rediscover some of the local tourist gems right on our doorstep.
So with plans made and tickets booked, I loaded up my gang along with picnic blankets, sunscreen, sanitiser and masks, and we set off on our first day trip to our all time favourite Scottish Borders destination, Floors Castle. We make a point of visiting every year at different times, as there is always something to see both indoors and out.
We spend most of our time at Floors wandering the walled garden, as estate gardens go it is the ultimate for me, and continues to be a huge font of inspiration for my own garden. The tapestry garden is particularly beautiful with repeated planting and sinuous lawn paths; and of course the kitchen garden with step over apple trees, and perfect rows of staple vegetables destined for use in the estate kitchens and on site eateries. The sustainability programs implemented by the estate throughout the years are not only admirable but fascinating to learn the inner workings of when operated at such a large scale. Their sustainable infrastructure includes acres of wind turbines, to biomass heating, along with a sound garden to plate approach. After each visit, I’m inspired to keep going with my little veg patch to see just how self sufficient I can become at home.
The rest of our time at Floors is usually spent eating. We are big foodies! I recommend taking an empty picnic basket and stocking up on the tasty freshly made sandwiches, scones and drinks from the castle deli to enjoy on the front or back lawn, Bridgerton style of course…
Before taking a tour of the castle and discovering all about the rich history of the Roxburghshire family. Duchess May seemed to have a particular sparkle what with her obsession with large scale intricate tapestries. She was known for renovating entire rooms and removing anything too ornate that would take the shine away from her beloved collection. The tour guides are excellent, when you go ask about the actress and courtesan whose portraits hangs in the breakfast room.
Before we left we paid a visit to the gift shop and picked up some preserves made in the castle kitchens and a new posy jug for my collection. T’was another excellent day at Floors! This year they celebrate 300 years of Floors castle, with fun events all throughout the remainder of the year including Covid compliant open air theatre performances. My favourite time to visit is in July when the gardens at their most floriferous. The photos above are a mixture from our last three visits over the years to this magical spot.
Our second day trip took us on another garden inspired day trip. This time even closer to home to Dawyck Botanical gardens. We again loaded up with ice cream from the best ice cream maker around, Taylors of Biggar who’ve set up an ice cream truck near the entrance, before setting off to see what we could see.
At Floors, I aim to float around in a dress and pretend a meeting with the Duke is imminent. At Dawyck, I meander in jeans and walking boots, taking in the soothing sounds of the river, birdsong and bees. If you are in need of a nature escape, then Dawyck is a must visit.
If you make the trip in early June, you’ll witness the breathtaking display of Himalayan poppies or meconopsis; tis’ a real life fairy garden.
With magical views, soaring Californian redwoods, an alley of rhododendrons and azaleas, and fun art installations along the way, Dawyck is the ideal way to spend a slow Sunday.
Food is always high on the agenda on our family days out. After our visit to the Dawyck we stopped in at our local pub on the way home which has just reopened and merged with the local restaurant.
If you’re out and about and looking for a relaxed bite to eat. I throughly recommend the Old Bakehouse at the Gordon Arms in West Linton. The food is fab and the locals are friendly. For a dressier affair, high tea at the Peebles Hydro is fun and good value for money. a new eatery on my must visit list is the Underdog Food Truck, which you’ll find parked out and about in the bustling market town of Peebles. The reviews are amazing and the seasonal menus even more so.
I hope this post has inspired you to dip your toes back in the water, and make the most of what’s local to you this summer. I’m sure the many business out there small or otherwise would appreciate the support.
Don’t forget to check destination websites before planning your next trip, as timed ticketing systems maybe in operation to be covid compliant. Plan ahead, stay safe and most of all enjoy yourself, we all deserve it. Here’s to summer. x
Scotland Starts Here. #RespectProtectEnjoy #OnlyinScotland #VisitScotland #HameTownTourist