A magnet for those who love playing outdoors, Peebles provides a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area, with a range of activities to suit every possible interest
Monday: Arrive at the Tontine Hotel on Peebles’ historic High Street, and check into your room (prices from just £40 per person per night). Well known locally for its excellent food you shake off the journey and enjoy afternoon tea (with a glass of bubbly of course!) in the Callants Lounge while planning your week.
A visit to some of the fantastic independent shops in the High Street is followed by an early evening stroll along the Tweed. More peckish than particularly hungry, drop in to the cozy County Inn, which won this year’s National Fish and Chip award and offers a wide-ranging menu at reasonable prices.
Located at the top of the High Street, do also see what’s on at the Eastgate Theatre which has a busy programme of live performances every week. There are adult dance classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings or, for those slightly less energetic, the evening event on Monday 25 August is ‘Knee Deep in Claret’ – an exploration of Scotland’s sometimes surprising relationship with wine (accompanied by a free glass of course). The talk is part of a brilliant programme of events during this year’s Peebles Arts Festival (22-31 August). Then it’s back to the hotel to rest up ahead of a busy week.
Tuesday: Relaxed and refreshed, you are now ready for a day of activity. Head to the nearby Scottish Mountain Bike Centre at Glentress and meet with Ridelines mountain bike tutor Andy for a half-day course at one of the world’s premier mountain bike destinations. With riding skills polished, fuel up at the Glentress Peel café before choosing from a vast range of graded trails (from green to black) to put your new skills into practice. Although renowned for its mountain biking trails, don’t forget that Glentress is also home to some fantastic walking routes – ask at the Peel Centre for details.
Dinner is at the Tontine Hotel, where you can kick back with a cocktail or two while choosing from a menu full of dishes made using only the finest locally-sourced produce.
Wednesday: It’s back to Glentress to learn how to fly ... sort of. Go Ape Glentress is an ingenious (and challenging!) aerial assault courses that has attracted thousands of people young and old since it opened a couple of summers ago. Taking roughly two to three hours to complete, the course sees people negotiate a wildly imaginative collection of zip wires, tricky walkways, rope bridges, Tarzan swings and cargo nets, all high up in the trees. It’s perfect for adventurous families (minimum age: 10 years old).
For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, Peebles and the Borders offer some of the best golfing opportunities in the country. The Tontine Hotel has a close relationship with several local courses, including West Linton, Innerleithen and Peebles. Sarah, the hotel’s specialist golf planner, will help plan a round to suit your individual requirements and budget. But if golf isn’t your thing, how about a spot of fishing? The Tweed is one of the best salmon rivers in Scotland, with late summer a perfect opportunity to catch a whopper. Fishing guide Fish Wild caters for all levels of experience, offering tuition and local knowledge that will have your line screaming from your reel.
After a day out in the trees, on the fairway or along the river, why not treat yourself to a meal at Osso close to the Eastgate Theatre on the High Street? With its refined, contemporary style and regularly changing menu, every trip to this Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant is an experience to savour.
Thursday: Begin the wind down from your busy week with a day at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, where you can enjoy a few lengths in the 18m pool before a spot of pampering at the spa (with treatments starting at just £30 per person). There is also a fantastic pool and spa at Peebles Hydro. Recently taken over by the owners of the outstanding Crieff Hydro complex in Perthshire, there are big plans for adding all sorts of exciting activities and events at this local Peebles institution.
Thursday is music night in the Tweed Valley with the Folk Club performing an informal jam session in either the Neidpath Inn in Peebles or the Traquair Arms Hotel in Innerleithen (alternate Thursdays). Tuck in to dinner at the MacDonald Cardrona or whichever pub is hosting the Folk Club then sit back and enjoy the music with a pint of Bear Ale brewed only a stone’s throw away at Traquair House Brewery. There is also a host of music available during the Peebles Arts Festival, from busking to drumming workshops and performances by French musician Marco Bardetorte who is visiting from Peebles’ twin town of Hendaye.
Friday: Check out of your hotel in the morning and head over to Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest continuously inhabited house. Enjoy a fascinating tour of the High Drawing Room, Library and Museum, before braving the garden maze (harder than you think!). If you manage to escape the maze by lunchtime, delay your trip home for a bite to eat in the restaurant next to the walled garden – a perfect way to round off a fantastic week of activities in and around Peebles.