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9 Wellness Holiday Ideas in South Scotland

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The Three Brethren Cairns, Scottish Borders

The Three Brethren Cairns, Scottish Borders

While we want our holidays to be many things, for many it’s becoming increasingly important that wellness is factored in to our much-valued time off from daily life. However you interpret wellness and wellbeing, your journey to pure zen could lie in South Scotland.

From creative retreats to set your mind free to replenishing activities in verdant natural landscapes, Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders have ample ways for anyone needing a restorative break or mindful escape. These regions are full of enriching experiences and you’ll find the perfect way to rest, recharge, rejuvenate and rebalance.

Walk to contentment…

You can easily find your bliss on a coastal walking trail or in the leafy forests. Take yourself to the wide-open spaces of a nature reserve, such as the glorious coastal headlands of St Abb’s Head on the Berwickshire coast in the east of the Scottish Borders, or Mull of Galloway in the south west. Plus, in the Galloway Forest and Tweed Valley Forest Parks there are tons of waymarked paths, perfect for shorter strolls.

Across the south there are dozens of long distance walking trails, such as the coast-to-coast route the Southern Upland Way, pilgrimage trails such as St Cuthbert’s Way and Whithorn Way, and routes named after local literary heroes, including the Sir Walter Scott Way and John Buchan Way. Nothing like miles upon miles of gorgeous country scenery and a vigorous walking challenge to give you some much needed headspace.

In addition, you could join in with the programme of organised walks at one of South Scotland’s walking festivals such as the Newton Stewart Walking Festival in May or the Scottish Borders Walking Festival in September.

Pedal to inner paradise…

Exploring on two wheels is a fun way to reinvigorate yourself in nature. First time mountain bikers should head to one of the world-class 7stanes mountain bike centres where there are green trails, such as Glentress in the Scottish Borders and Kirroughtree in Dumfries & Galloway. Both these centres have bike hire so no need to bring your own. The south has incredible road cycling opportunities too – find a route through the Scottish Borders, or you might even consider a cycling holiday, such as those offered by Galloway Cycling Holidays.

Or paddle to inner paradise…

Let any worries you may have drift off with the lapping waves as you try gentle on-the-water activities such as canoeing, kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. Galloway Activity Centre on Loch Ken offers both taster sessions, courses or wilderness trips for these relaxing yet rewarding activities that will get you out into nature and give you the chance to learn new skills.

Heal your mind, body and soul…

If good vibes come to you when you are on your yoga mat, then consider a yoga or a similar spiritual or physical practice retreat in South Scotland. Near Langholm, the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Samye Ling offers a huge range of courses, covering yoga, Tai Chi, mindfulness and meditation and more. Yoga days and retreats are also available from Roulotte Retreat, near Melrose, and Galloway Holistic Retreats in Auchencairn. For expectant mothers to be, a pre-baby yoga retreat with Peaceful Pregnancy could be the perfect way to help you relax and prepare for the arrival of your newborn.

Soothe stresses in a spa…

For some of us, feelings of renewal come when sitting in the soothing waters of a spa pool (and yes, there might be a glass of fizz waiting for you when you slip on your fluffy robe!). Located near Peebles, Stobo Castle is known as Scotland’s premier destination spa, where there are plenty of ways to pamper and soothe your body. For a more personal experience, enjoy the boutique micro Garden Spa at Trigony House Hotel, near Thornhill, which has an outdoor wood-fired Swedish hot tub, Finnish sauna cabin and secluded treatment room.

Take in the wonders of the cosmos…

Nothing puts everything in perspective like gazing up at the expansive dark sky to see celestial objects lightyears away. Galloway Forest Park was awarded the status of the UK’s first Dark Sky Park and is also part of a UNESCO Biosphere. It’s here you can see 7,000 shining stars and the Milky Way without the aid of a telescope, and let us tell you, it’s impressive! To make the most of your stargazing experience, book an event or a tailor-made experience with one of the Biosphere Dark Sky Rangers.

Tap into your creative side…

Set your mind free and unleash your inner artist in the south. With the landscapes of the south being so naturally inspiring, it’s no surprise that there are a number of creative retreats and courses on offer. In the Scottish Borders, Allanbank Arts, near Duns, has a range of courses to enhance your skills in creating visual arts, while in Dumfries & Galloway, Rusko Studio near Gatehouse of Fleet offers art holidays in their converted Victorian stables. Or simply bring a sketch pad and pencil or paint box when you visit the south. The town of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries & Galloway has inspired countless artists; will it inspire you?

If you have a passion for the written word, indulge it at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose in June or the Wigtown Book Festival in late September.

For a completely different type of break, immerse yourself in landscapes and nature and have a cultural adventure with a specially designed escape from Quests and Retreats.

Or see art and nature collide…

Plus, there are many ways to experience art in nature. In the Galloway Forest Park, pause for reflection as you discover the Rosnes Benches, or take a stout hill walk to see Andy Goldsworthy’s Striding Arches. Landscape artist Charles Jencks has left his impression on Dumfries & Galloway at Crawick Multiverse near Sanquhar, as well as the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, near Dumfries, which only opens once a year. In the summer months, Mellerstain House plays host to talented sculptors when their artwork is featured in the Borders Sculpture Park.

Have a green getaway…

Shape all parts of your holiday with positivity and make Mother Nature smile when you pick accommodation with great environmentally-friendly credentials. From beautiful lodges and cottages perfect for self-catered longer stays to welcoming B&Bs and hotels which make great options for shorter stopovers, there’s lots of places that are conscious in the effort to reduce their carbon footprint and try to create a balance with nature.

Explore Green Tourism awarded properties in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, or check out these 18 ideas for great places to stay when touring South Scotland.

 

A good wellness-focused break will no doubt involve a digital detox, but once you do get reconnected to your devices, share your snaps with us on social media using #SeeSouthScotland and #ScotlandIsNow.

Or, get more ideas on how to get away from it all on our dedicated South Scotland page.

 

 

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