Lauder, Scottish Borders
Hillhouse Farm Escapes sits in the hills about the Royal Burgh of Lauder, in the north of the Scottish Borders. The location provides walks on the excellent farm tracks, and beyond into the Lammermuir Hills. The wider region has an abundance of outdoor activities, castles and country houses, market towns, independent shops, galleries and boutiques as well as museums and cultural points of interest. Our guests also eat extremely well here – there are suberb local restaurants and independent coffee shops.
Guests staying at Hillhouse Farm Escapes will not be short of things to do. There is a full guide to the local area when you arrive, and below we provide a little taster!
Hillhouse Farm Escapes is within very easy reach of the pretty market towns of the Scottish Borders and East Lothian. These include:
- Royal Burgh of Lauder (5 miles): small town with an exceptional range of independent grocery shops, art gallery, home & clothing store, lovely coffee shop, pub and restaurant. Thirlestane Castle is on the edge of the town, with its fairytale turrets.
- Melrose: on the bank of the River Tweed, and home to the ancient Melrose Abbey. Melrose is a beautiful small town with the Eildon Hills making a dramatic backdrop. The town punches above its weight in terms of shops, restaurants and cafes. The famous Melrose 7s rugby tournament is an annual event and extremely popular.
- North Berwick: seaside town in East Lothian with beaches and striking views across the Firth of Forth including out to the Bass Rock. Fabulous independent shops and foodie options. Nearby there are several world-renowned golf courses too.
country houses, castles & gardens
The Scottish Borders has an incredible number of castles and “big houses“, usually with sprawling and beautifully manicured gardens to explore too. Most of these historic treasures are within 20 to 30 minutes of Hillhouse, and a visit to at least one is a must for your stay. Our favourites include:
- Thirlestane Castle, Lauder: fairytale turrets, pink sandstone, this ancient castle offers private tours and rather special afternoon teas. Gorgeous river and woodland walks too.
- Floors Castle & Gardens, Kelso: one of the most imposing castles in the Scottish Borders (shown in photo) with an enviable position on the bank of the River Tweed. Floors is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and family home of the 11th Duke of Roxburghe.
- Abbotsord, the Home of Sir Walter Scott, Melrose: the story of Sir Walter Scott, Scotland’s literary great, is utterly captivating. His personality shines through his stunning house on the bank of the River Tweed.
- Marchmont House, Greenlaw: recently reinvented as a centre for the arts, private tours of the growing garden sculpture collection and artist exhibitions are highly recommended.
Our holiday cottages are just 30-40 minutes drive from Edinburgh which makes this the ideal location for exploring both Scotland’s capital and its rural landscapes. Edinburgh has so much to explore including some of our favourites.
- Take a wander down the Royal Mile, the street which runs along the crest of the ridge linking Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The latter is where Mary Queen of Scots once lived, and it’s still the official Edinburgh residence of the Queen.
- Art lovers will love the National Art Gallery of Scotland or the Gallery of Modern Art (which is just a few minutes from the West End).
- The Museum of Scotland on Chamber Street is wonderful, as is the Dynamic Earth museum.
- The best shopping can be found on George Street, Multrees Walk and the brand new St James Quarter at the East End of Princes Street.
- For restaurants, we love the New Town, the smart, Georgian part of the city. You will find incredible options to suit all budgets. We are also huge fans of the excellent seafood restaurants down by the docks at Leith.
the berwickshire coast
Hillhouse Farm Escapes is in the Berwickshire district of the Scottish Borders. We are very much inland in the hills here but if you fancy a change there is the most incredible seascape a short drive away on the Berwickshire Coast. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty
- St Abb’s Head Nature Reserve is a must. Walk along the breathtaking coastal headland with dramatic cliffs. St Abb’s Head is famous for its seabird colonies, crystal clear water and fascinating geology.
- The fishing villages of Coldingham, St Abb’s and Eyemouth are well worth a visit. Head to Gunsgreen House to hear about the area’s smuggling heritage, and Eyemouth Fort which has a fascinating and international history.
- We particularly love the beach at Coldingham Sands with its colourful beach huts, clean sand, rockpools and cafe. Another good option is Pease Bay.
- Near Cockburnspath, you can retrace the steps of 18th century farmer and geologist, James Hutton, who made the world’s defining geological discovery at Siccar Point in 1788. “Hutton’s Unconformity” is a particular rock formation which led Hutton to conclude that that earth is unimaginably old. This was a revolutionary perspective at a time most believed it to be just a few thousand years in age.
breweries, distilleries, textiles and museums
Explore the region’s commercial heritage, including it’s famous textiles industry, as well as the breweries and distilleries you can find today.
- Breweries: Tempest Brew Co runs fantastic craft beer “tap sessions” at Tweedbank, and Stewart Brewing has brewery tours which will fascinate.
- Distilleries: Borders Distillery is based in a stunning converted building in Hawick where a creative team have brought whisky-making back to our region. Tours available. Also nearby is the larger Glenkinchie Distillery which offers a range of whisky tours. NB Distillery, producers of NB Gin, has fantastic “Ginspiration Tours” in North Berwick.
- This area is famous for its textiles industry, built around the River Tweed. Knitwear, cashmere, tartan and tweed have been made here in the Scottish Borders since the 1800s. Check-out Made in Hawick and Lochcarron of Scotland, where tartan is made.
- Also nearby you’ll see the National Museum of Flight, National Mining Museum and Jim Clarke Motorsport Museum.
outdoor activities (land)
- Scottish Borders Sporting: clay pigeon shooting, tomahawk throwing and archery – can be done near Kelso or here at Hillhouse.
- Border Berries: pick your own strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and more.
- Jacksons at Jedburgh Farm Visits: a family-friendly outdoor visitor attraction. Meet the animals and experience life on the farm.
- Wilsons Farm & Kitchen: a range of private tours including Farm to Fork, Farm Tractor & Trailor, Breakfast Safari and gourmet local food experiences.
- 7Stanes / Glentress for mountain biking – near Peebles. A mecca for mountain bikers. There are over 50-miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails.
- Beirhope Alpaca Trekking – take an alpaca for a walk in the stunning and remote Cheviot Hills. Lots of routes available, some more hilly than others.
- GoApe at Dalkeith is brand new and has Scotland’s first GoApe course for children (as well as the original TreeTop Challenge which is for teenagers and adults).
- Bird Garden Scotland is just 5 mins away. New visitor centre and play park. Home to flamingos, ducks, geese, swans, kookaburgh, peafowl, peacock and also wallabies!!
outdoor activities (water)
- Stand-up paddle boards and kayak hire: excellent fun and a great way to explore local lochs and rivers. There are several local hire companies.
- Eyemouth Rib Trips: an exhilarating experience on the North Sea, offering a variety of sea adventures.
- Wildlife cruises: In Our Nature offers wildlife cruises from Eyemouth taking in St Abb’s Head.
- Fishing & Coastal Sightseeing: Also based out of Eyemouth, BeeCoolFish.co.uk offers fishing trips and sightseeing trips along the Berwickshire coastline.
- Foxlake Adventures: an outdoor activity centre in East Lothian with water-based assault courses, wakeboarding, ringo rides, a zip trail and segways.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the cottage. It is very spacious and cosy at the same time, and very clean. It was the ideal base to explore the Borders, and the coast isn't far away. Ideal spot for families.David - Berry Hill - October 2020
Lovely cosy annexe. Comfortable and very well equipped. Wonderfully warm on cold days. Excellent information folder. Great location with good walks from the property and close to border towns and sights, such as the ruined abbeys. Edinburgh a short drive away. Our dog loved it too!Andrew - Little House on the Hill - May 2021
Perfect place for a break, we used for a family getaway and will be visiting again in the future. Cannot recommend Jo and the cottages highly enough!James - Little House on the Hill - August 2021
We have just spent 3 nights at this lovely cosy cottage. Full of character. Very clean and well equipped. A perfect base to explore the area. Jo was very attentive and a great host. Nothing was too much trouble. Would highly recommend.Amanda - Little House on the Hill - October 2020
Really enjoyed our stay at this lovely cottage. It was spotlessly clean and had everything we needed for our 3 night stay. Great rural location but close enough to Melrose, Kelso and other border towns for a day trip. Some beautiful scenery in that part of the world. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this cottage for a family break.Claire - Berry Hill - September 2021
Fantastic cottage. Quite remote...you have beautiful walks from the front doorstep and that’s what we wanted. Plus there is a hotel 1 mile down the hill. Absolutely spotless with a really well equipped kitchen. We would definitely come back! Thank you Jo.Nicola - House on the Hill - May 2021