As autumn reaches its peak and the landscape and grounds around Thirlestane Castle transform, what better way to discover the beautiful Scottish Borders than a short break holiday?

Even though the days are shorter and a bit chillier, there is still an abundance of activities and experiences for you to enjoy throughout the South of Scotland. We have created a shortlist of some of the best places to visit during your stay which are still warmly welcoming visitors through the autumn and winter months.

If you have ever dreamt of visiting the Borders, our new short break stays are the perfect way to begin exploring the area. They are available throughout the autumn and winter months across all our luxury castle suites. Whether you are looking for a long weekend or week-long break, you can find our availability and book your stay on our website.


Add-On Experiences at Thirlestane

Our team take great pride in making every stay at Thirlestane truly unforgettable. We have a selection of unique experiences for our accommodation guests to add on to their booking, including luxury breakfast hampers, cocktail deliveries, spa treatments, horse riding adventures, and private castle tours. Discover all of the experiences available to further enhance your luxury castle stay.

We encourage guests to book additional experiences in advance of their arrival to ensure we can provide them during their stay.



Southern Upland Way

During your stay, adventure on foot along the Southern Upland Way which passes through the Castle grounds. This is Scotland’s first and only official coast-to-coast long distance route, taking you from the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea.


Eildon Hills

Enjoy spectacular views across the Scottish Borders from the top of the Eildon Hills, that tower above the quaint market town of Melrose, only a short drive from Thirlestane. You can refuel at one of the delicious bistros located at the foot of the hill, we highly recommend Apples for Jam!


Alpaca Walks

Explore the Cheviot Hills with a unique alpaca walking experience at Beirhope Alpacas near Kelso. Whether it’s Meet-A-Paca, a 1-hour Alpaca stroll or a 2-Hour trek there is something for everyone.


History & Heritage

Abbotsford House

Visit the extraordinary home and gardens of 19th century novelist Sir Walter Scott, situated on the outskirts of Galashiels. Abbotsford House is open every day between 10 am – 5 pm until the 18th of December. Book your tickets here.


Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is an extraordinary exhibit of intricate stitching depicting true stories from 420 million years of Scotland’s history, culture, heritage and innovations. With 160 panels and 140 metres of linen to see it is a must-visit in Galashiels, the tapestry is open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 to 17:00.


Lochcarron of Scotland

Discover the home of the world’s leading manufacturer of tartan with a tour of their authentic weaving textile mill based in Selkirk. Tours are available to be pre-booked between 9:30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Thursday or 9:30 am to 2.00 pm on Fridays.



Experience local Scottish food at its best at the family-run restaurant, The Hoebridge, situated in Gattonside. With seasonal menus, the eatery is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.



Championing the field-to-fork movement, Provender is a haven for contemporary dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Located in Melrose and open from Wednesday through Sunday, it is a delightful place for brunch, lunch or a sophisticated dinner.


Mainstreet Trading (St Boswells)

Stop by the award-winning independent bookshop, café, deli and homeware shop in St Boswells for a bite to eat, to pick up some delicious ingredients or your favourite book to enjoy back at the castle. Mainstreet Trading is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 5.30 pm and on Sundays from 11 to 4.30 pm.


The Black Bull

Situated in the centre of Lauder, The Black Bull serves up delicious lunches, coffees, and evening meals all made from locally sourced Scottish produce. This quaint pub is open for bookings through autumn and winter.


Build up to Christmas (Nov & Dec)

Abbotsford Christmas Market

Get in the Christmas spirit with a visit to Abbotsford’s Christmas Market to shop for unique gifts from local traders. The market will be open on Sat 20th Nov, Sun 21st Nov, Sat 27th Nov and Sun 28th Nov between 10.30 am and 4 pm.


Heartland Market

On the first Saturday of every month from 10 am to 2 pm, head to the Heartland Market in Galashiels to discover the work of independent makers and designers. The market combines art, good food and live music with traders from Galashiels and beyond.


The Faldonside Christmas Market at the Hirsel

Faldonside Farmers Market is teaming up with The Hirsel to put on a wonderful Christmas fair. Take a trip to the Hirsel Estate on Saturday the 10th of December between 11 am – 4 pm to explore the wonderful local artisan produce, craft and food stalls all in aid of the Borders Children’s Charity.