South Scotland’s natural larder is simply bursting with quality. In the west, the rolling hills of Dumfries & Galloway are famous for livestock – and the relatively warm climate produces stunning fruit and vegetables. In the east, the Scottish Borders has a long history of farming, fishing and food production – you’ll find everything here from handmade chocolate to traditional cheeses!
It’s no secret that we are all thinking more carefully about the origin of our food and drink. We want our ingredients to be fresh, local and sustainable. South Scotland’s buzzing rural economy means it is very likely that your food has been produced locally. And you’ll be pleased to hear that Scottish businesses are leading the way when it comes to ethical and sustainable produce.
Wherever you travel in Scotland you’ll find sought-after food and drink – but South Scotland definitely has something special. Here are nineteen places to whet your appetite.
The majority of Scotland is now under a temporary lockdown, though some island communities are under level 3 restrictions. Please follow any current restrictions – you might need to save these ideas to try later on a future trip.
Find out what level each area is under and read more about the 5-level Covid-19 restrictions to plan and book ahead when considering a future trip. You can search for businesses that are Good to Go, where they have a Covid-19 risk assessment.
Food & Drink Experiences
South Scotland is full of fun foodie experiences. Take a tour, try a sample, tell your friends!
1. The Borders Distillery, Scottish Borders
This new distillery in Hawick is bringing whisky-making back to the Borders. Visit the beautifully renovated Victorian building and take a guided tour, where you’ll learn how the spirit is crafted from the very people who make it.
2. Rutherfords Micro Pub, Scottish Borders
Welcome to Scotland’s first ‘micropub’! What is a micropub you ask? Well, it’s a small pub that mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation and does without electronic entertainment. If you like the sound of that, Rutherfords might just be the pub for you. CAMRA pub of the year 2018 and Thistle Award winner for Best Pub in the Lothians and Borders 19/20.
3. Cocoa Black, Scottish Borders
Do you like chocolate? Of course you do! Learn how the finest chocolate is made at Cocoa Black in Peebles on a half day course. From petit fours to chocolate truffles, these small and friendly classes provide a great introduction to all things chocolate. Watch Cocoa Black’s Chocolate & Pastry School video for a taste of what you can experience.
4. Border Berries, Scottish Borders
Summertime in South Scotland means berries. Kids will love a trip to Border Berries near Kelso where they can pick these colourful fruits to their hearts’ content. A picnic area and café mean you can make a day of it here. Berry-picking starts around late June until mid-August each year.
5. Traquair House Brewery, Scottish Borders
For over 900 years Traquair House has been witness to Scotland’s fascinating history. This stately home is now a visitor attraction in its own right, with an adjoining brewery. Visit the mini museum and learn about the history of brewing at Traquair, which is arguably the oldest craft brewery in the UK.
6. Bladnoch Distillery, Dumfries & Galloway
Bladnoch Distillery is the oldest privately-owned Scotch distillery in the country. If you enjoy Lowland-style whisky, then a tour around this stunning place will surely get your taste buds tingling. Tours include a tasting from the Bladnoch range.
7. Cream o’ Galloway, Dumfries & Galloway
If you are on holiday with the family in Dumfries & Galloway then Cream o’ Galloway farm is a must-visit. Along with award-winning ice cream and cheese, the farm has a visitor centre with all kinds of fun outdoor activities. Cream o’ Galloway’s cows are amongst the happiest in the UK!
8. Kitchen Coos & Ewes, Dumfries & Galloway
Get up close to Highland cattle and sheep from the safety of a purpose-built trailer at this fun family attraction. Once you have met the animals, try some delicious home baking in the farmhouse kitchen. Visits to Kitchen Coos & Ewes must be booked in advance.
9. Annandale Distillery, Dumfries & Galloway
Enjoy a classic tour at Annandale Distillery and learn about the different whisky eras of this South Scotland favourite. Learn about their unique distillation process before tasting one of their exceptional malts. For more info, check out our Tour Guide Tales video.
10. Station House Cookery School, Dumfries & Galloway
Looking for a unique experience on your trip to the south? Look no further! Station House Cookery School, in the pretty artists’ town of Kirkcudbright, offers a wide range of cookery classes for all ages and tastes. The school focuses on supporting local producers, and ingredients are sourced as ethically as possible.
Restaurants, Cafés and Farm Shops
Whether it’s a light lunch or an evening meal, you’ll find South Scotland is full of top dining options.
11. Provender, Scottish Borders
Care, attention, love and passion: these are the values that make Provender one of the most popular restaurants in the Scottish Borders. Enjoy good times and great food, knowing that your produce has been sourced from local, ethical and sustainable suppliers.
12. The Hoebridge, Scottish Borders
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You’ll find fresh, local produce at The Hoebridge, which is just a short walk from the River Tweed near Melrose. The mouth-watering menu revolves around stunning, seasonal food – complimented by an extensive wine list.
13. Whitmuir the Organic Place, Scottish Borders
This farm shop is building a fantastic reputation for the best organic Scottish food, including the freshest Scottish vegetables and home-grown meats. As an organic farm, Whitmuir is completely committed to the highest standards of animal welfare.
14. The Fleece, Scottish Borders
In the heart of the historic town of Selkirk, The Fleece Bar and Kitchen is a family owned establishment combining classic pub food with more formal dining. The friendly, passionate team here use the very best local produce.
15. Cavens, Dumfries & Galloway
The daily changing menu at Cavens reflects the best in season, whether that be pan-fried scallops or free-range duck. In every meal you will find something picked or gathered on site. This country house hotel is a beautiful place to stay the night, but it also welcomes non-residents for dinner.
16. The Globe Inn, Dumfries & Galloway
Back in the day, The Globe Inn was the favourite drinking spot of Robert Burns – so it has plenty of history! Today you’ll find great beer and tasty food on offer as well as a lively atmosphere. The perfect place to try a plate of haggis, neeps and tatties.
17. Kilnford Farm Shop, Dumfries & Galloway
Buy locally raised meats and other food straight from the farm when you visit Kilnford Farm Shop on the outskirts of Dumfries. The shop also supplies the elegant Farmhouse Kitchen and Café where you’ll find the signature grill menu as well as some tasty veggie options.
18. Blackaddie House Hotel & Restaurant, Dumfries & Galloway
Winner of multiple awards, Blackaddie House is one of South Scotland’s finest restaurants. Guests can enjoy the Fine Dining Five Course Menu or the Gourmet Tasting Menu (which must be booked in advance). Look forward to a special evening.
19. Auldgirth Inn, Dumfries & Galloway
This historic inn was built in the 1500’s as a sanctuary for monks, but these days The Auldgirth Inn is a hotel and pub serving the best from the south west! Locally sourced produce is used to create memorable meals, from Dunscore lamb and pork to west coast landed fish.
Wherever you are in South Scotland you’ll find great food and happy people! A spectacular place to visit at any time of year, you’ll be pleased you chose to see South Scotland.