Roulotte Retreat, Scottish Borders © Roulotte Retreat/Helen Abraham
Day and night, the south of Scotland lives and breathes adventure, with acres of incredible forest parks and enchanting coastlines to be discovered. Start off with mountain biking, surfing or woodland wanders, followed by stargazing beneath some of Europe’s darkest skies and drifting off to the sounds of the wilderness.
One of the most memorable ways to experience the breathtakingly beautiful southerly regions of Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders is to book a luxury camping experience and absorb the amazing surroundings in total style and comfort.
Dumfries & Galloway
1. Laggan Outdoor
Sleep inside… a ‘Sea View Snug’
Where? Gatehouse of Fleet
Each of the 10 snugs at Laggan Outdoor have their own individuality, with themed decor and a nickname. With incredible coastal views during the day and exceptionally dark skies to admire when night falls, grab your snuggle buddy and be as cosy as can be inside one of these!
Nearest forest to visit… Kirroughtree Visitor Centre 20 minutes’ drive
This forest offers a mountain biking paradise as part of the with green, blue and red trails and an extreme downhill section. It’s also a haven for dark skies, walking and wildlife.
2. Galloway Activity Centre
Sleep inside…yurts, safari tents or eco-bothies
Where? Loch Ken, Parton, Castle Douglas
Sleep on the shores of Loch Ken with several glamping options at the Galloway Activity Centre. The magical selection of properties includes an eco-friendly bothy powered by solar energy with wood-fired hot tub, or try a hand-crafted tent with cosy vibes and a log burning stove for cooking a delicious loch-side dinner.
Nearest forest to visit… Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre 25 minutes’ drive
Wander along the Red Kite Trail and observe the magnificent birds soaring overhead, or if you prefer to cycle. join a very scenic section of the National Cycle Network Route 7.
3. Solway View Holidays
Sleep inside… a wonderful wigwam
Where? Borgue, Kirkcudbright
Be at home at Solway View inside a wigwam. Each are heated and furnished with comfortable mattresses, a toaster, mini fridge and en-suite bathrooms – all you need to bring is a sleeping bag. When the sun shines, it’s easy to see why this glorious coastline is known locally as the Costa Del Solway!
Nearest forest to visit… Cally Woods 20 minutes’ drive
Go horse riding along the dedicated Cally Horse Route or take the scenic drive past the Cally Palace Hotel and all the way along to Sandgreen beach. In early spring, don’t miss the swathes of snowdrops.
4. Glenwhan Gardens
Sleep inside… a shepherd’s hut
Where? Dunragit, Stranraer
The gorgeous gardens at Glenwhan burst into bloom in the spring, as bright colours sweep across this little corner of Galloway. This wee hut in the gardens is dog-friendly and can be booked all year round, with a patio and BBQ to enjoy, as well as views across to the Mull of Galloway.
Nearest forest to visit… Glentrool Visitor Centre 40 minutes’ drive
Scale Merrick, the highest peak in South Scotland at 843 m or take a gentler walk to the Bruce’s Stone which overlooks Loch Trool. There is another 7stanes mountain biking trail here as well as a lovely café.
5. Barnsoul Caravan Park
Sleep inside… cosy camping pods
Where? Shawhead, Dumfries
Sometimes a standard tent doesn’t quite do the trick. There’s a range of weatherproof apex pods, bothies and lodges available at Barnsoul, the ideal base for anyone exploring beautiful Dumfries & Galloway.
Nearest forest to visit… Mabie Forest 25 minutes’ drive
See if you can spot ospreys at the Lochaber Loch wildlife hide, tear down Mabie’s 7stanes mountain biking route, and kids will love the adventure playground.
6. Brockloch Eco Retreat
Sleep inside… an enchanting treehouse
Where? Kirkpatrick Durham, near Castle Douglas
Make your childhood dreams come true by spending a night or two living like a forest dweller up in the trees, with just red squirrels for company. The Brockloch Eco Retreat features an eco bothy which appeared on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces and a treehouse nestled deep in a bluebell wood with a skylight for star-spotting.
Nearest forest to visit… Dalbeattie Forest 25 minutes’ drive
Watch for dragonflies and damselflies at the Plantain Loch. Follow the Birch Trail to see the wonderful granite sculptures along the way.
7. Roulotte Retreat Caravans
Roulotte Retreat, Scottish Borders © Helen Abraham/Roulotte Retreat
Sleep inside… a French-style roulotte caravan
Where? Eildon Hills, near Melrose
Here, you will find a selection of brightly-coloured, traditional roulotte caravans, perfect for a truly magical couples retreat, 1800s style! Experience a stay in the charming Horseshoe cottage with the option to use the beautiful bowtop gypsy caravan, Ruby, at the same time – these two are set in their own private woodland garden.
Nearest forest to visit… Thornielie Forest 25 minutes’ drive
Spot beautiful butterflies along the Meadow Trail walking route.
8. Glentress Forest Lodges
Glentress Forest Lodges
Sleep inside… a timber-frame forest lodge
Where? Glentress Forest, near Peebles
The Glentress Forest Lodges are handy, budget-friendly glamping options, ideal for catching 40 winks after an invigorating day exploring the forest. These can be found adjacent to the 7stanes mountain biking trails and not far from Go Ape!. They have everything you’ll need, including a drying room, bike storage, heating and a fridge.
Nearest forest to visit… Glentress Forest 5 minutes’ walk
There’s also a Wildlife Room where you can spot rare birds and admire the bee hive, or why not just chill out in the fabulous café?
9. Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping
Sleep inside… safari tents
Where? Denholm, Hawick
Deep in the forest, Ruberslaw’s secluded safari tents are made from canvas, and each have fire bowls and front verandahs (for those late-night life chats). It’s not exactly a full-on Bear Grylls survival experience though, with camping luxuries thrown in such as a fully-equipped camp kitchen, logs, cool box and gas hob. Listen carefully for badgers, owls and other forest friends scuttling around.
Nearest forest to visit… Yair 35 minutes’ drive
Climb up to the Three Brethren, a trio of hilltop cairns dating back to the 16th century.
10. Ettrick Valley Yurts
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Sunrise in the Scottish Borders. @peridot_iris and I did a spot of glamping in the Ettrick Valley over the weekend and stayed in a rather cosy Yurt. We were exploring the beautiful Ettrick Valley with @visitscotland and were treated to some stunning weather and beautiful scenery. This was our morning view today…frosty but amazing! Expect to see some more of the borders over the next few days. Have a great Sunday evening folks #ScotSpirit
Sleep inside… spacious Mongolian yurts
Where? Ettrick Valley, Selkirk
There’s plenty of space for you and the crew, or the family, inside one of the Ettrick Valley Yurts, each standing at 6 m tall and sleeping up to six people. Furnished with bright colours, twinkly lights and fluffy rugs, you’ll be warm and toasty all night long inside this magical space, surrounded by the beautiful Lammermuir hills.
Nearest forest to visit… Craik Forest 40 minutes’ drive
Choose between three amazing walking trails – Burnside, Spruce and Aithouse Burn. Keep an eye out for red squirrels everywhere you go!
11. Upland Shepherd Huts
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Come and stay this weekend in The Gardener’s Hut. Last available chance to stay this year! Beautiful autumn colours, fantastic walks, a cosy wood burning stove, comfy bed, hot shower and a stunning view. Go on you know it makes sense. #autumnbreak #weekendgetaway #hygge #escapetothecountry #awayfromitall #recharge #mindfulness #uplandshepherdhuts #canopyandstars
Sleep inside… a gardener’s hut or a woodman’s hut
Where? Abbey St Bathans
Go for a digital detox deep in the Borders countryside inside a choice of two lovingly decorated shepherd’s huts, built from recycled materials and powered by solar panels, with hot showers and wood burning stoves. With lovely walks nearby and the charming hamlet of Abbey Saint Bathans to explore, these huts are perfect off-the-grid escapes.
Nearest forest to visit… Thornielee Forest 1 hour 15 minutes’ drive
Head out on the other walking trail available within this forest, the Cairn Trail, which rewards with amazing views of the landscape.
12. Borders Glamping
Sleep inside… a cabin in the woods
Walk through this inviting wee door and find a peaceful cabin, perfect for two. Situated around the back of a working sheep farm, the countryside air, black-out curtains and super comfy bed will ensure a deep night’s sleep. Don’t forget to look up through the glass panels to gaze up at the stars, and wake up to the beautiful countryside with coffee and breakfast cooked on the gas hob.
Nearest forest to visit… Newcastleton 20 minutes’ drive
You’ll find yet another wonderful 7stanes mountain biking centre and four scenic walking trails: Ponds, Hanging Tree, Priesthill and Viewpoint.
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