Celebrate the great outdoors this spring with a host of amazing days out that will surprise and delight the whole family.
If you’re craving fresh air and freedom, you can blow away the cobwebs with plenty of fantastic walks which can be combined with a great meal or a visit to one of Midlothian’s many fascinating cultural attractions.
Visit the website now to get inspired at http://locateinmidlothian.co.uk/family-days
Here are some ideas to get you started and help you discover the best spots to explore just an hour’s drive from the city.
Dalkeith Country Park combines beautiful buildings with an incredible landscape – take your time in 1,000 acres of history with well-marked walks for all abilities, plus the park is also home to Fort Douglas Adventure Park and Go Ape for some family fun in the fresh air.
Did you know? The Old Oak Wood has rare species of beetles and lichen living in it
See Rosslyn Chapel with fresh eyes
A new children’s guide has been launched at Rosslyn Chapel to help spark little imaginations, full of child-friendly facts about the medieval chapel and including a trail around the inside of the 15th-century building, pointing out key features.
Did you know? In 1650, Cromwell’s troops attacked Rosslyn Castle and stabled their horses inside the chapel
Make your own clay sculpture – with a twist at the National Mining Museum. Weathering Earth is a participatory art installation, from artist Nicole Manley, which looks to create clay sculptures in relation to climate change. Sessions are free; just head along between 10.30 and 3pm. The sculptures will be put outside to be weathered instead of being fired for a completely different finish.
Did you know? Miners used a tin piece box for their sandwiches to protect them from the rats and mice that lived at the pit bottom
Enjoy panoramic views
Gore Glen Woodland Park is a haven for wildlife and walkers alike, just half an hour from Edinburgh. A great example of an industrial landscape reclaimed by nature, it boasts beautiful woodlands, riverside walks and ponds with path links to Gorebridge and Arniston Estate.
Did you know? You can get free resource boxes from the Ranger Service, full of useful gear for pond dipping or mini beast hunting.
Walk for miles
Vogrie Country Park is open all year round but early summer is the perfect time to make the most of the extensive 11.5 miles of signed countryside paths through beautiful woodlands. Explore then refuel at the bustling Tree Top Cafe in Vogrie House (which has a soft play area for rainy days) or why not take your own picnic?
Did you know? The quiet observer may see stoats, sparrowhawks, bats and buzzards in the changing tapestry of colourful wildflowers at this country park just 12 miles from Edinburgh.
See a blacksmith in action
Farrier Sean Broadfoot can be found at Cousland Smiddy on Saturday mornings as well as during the week creating decorative items at the smiddy forge. This hidden gem is home to an early 18th-century blacksmith’s workshop, Victorian cottage, other partially conserved associated buildings and organic allotments, giving visitors a fascinating glimpse into its heritage – plus there recreational spaces for the kids to enjoy. See www.couslandsmiddy.co.uk for opening dates.
Did you know? There has been a continuously working Smiddy on this site in the village since at least 1703.
Join the gentle giants
For a day out with a difference, try going for a carriage drive around the grounds with two of the beautiful equine giants at Peggyslea Clydesdales, a family-run business near Penicuik. You can pamper a Clydesdale for an afternoon, or take a carriage ride with a glass of bubbly and afternoon tea.
Did you know? Two of these magnificent creatures have taken part in the Horse of the Year Show three times in the ridden class.
Dine among the flowers
Plant lovers will adore the Secret Herb Garden Café & Bistro, nestled in seven acres of pristine farmland at the foot of the Pentland Hills, where you can drink and dine among grapevines, fruit trees and herbs in a beautiful glasshouse. The constantly changing menus are freshly made from the amazing fresh produce grown on-site every day and they even make their own organic products such as gin, teas and honey. Why not pop along for a free Secret Garden Gin tasting? Find out more at www.secretherbgarden.co.uk
Did you know? Their brilliant blog includes lots of brilliant gardening tips from co-founder Hamish, who took a Diploma in Herbology at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.
There’s so much to surprise and delight visitors to Midlothian – discover more at www.locateinmidlothian.co.uk/family-days