Day 1 Eddleston
Make your own way to the Barony Hotel on the rural outskirts of Eddleston, a tiny, pretty village in Scotland's picturesque Borders. Sit down for a welcome cup of tea or coffee before spending the afternoon settling into your room, exploring the grounds or strolling through the village, as you choose. In the evening, get to know your fellow travellers over a welcome drink and dinner in the hotel's restaurant.Meals included: D
Day 2 Christmas Eve Thirlestane Castle
After breakfast we'll head to Thirlestane Castle for a very special experience, a Scottish drumming and piping workshop. But before we get started, we'll take a private guided tour of the castle's lavish interiors and enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch. Parts of the castle date back to the 16th century, and it's also the ancestral home of the Maitland family, whose aristocratic roots go back hundreds of years – so there will be plenty of fascinating historical tales to uncover along the way. As a fitting end to our day, we will get to grips with some of the oldest musical instruments recorded in history. We'll listen to a traditional piper play full-sized bagpipes and then we'll learn the basics as we practice on chanters - the part of the bagpipe which creates the melody. Our tutor will tell us all about the history of piping and how bagpipes are made, and we'll discover more about the different types of pipes found throughout the world. We'll also watch a skilled Scottish drummer at work and have a go at creating the rhythm ourselves.
After a fun-filled afternoon, we'll return to the hotel and gather as a group for dinner.
Day 3 Christmas Day Eddleston
Relaxation, fun and indulgence are the only things that matter at Christmas, and today all three will be available in abundance. You'll have the day to yourself to spend as you want. Go for a brisk Christmas Day walk through the hotel's lovely grounds or the wider countryside, make use of the hotel's excellent facilities and enjoy unwinding with your fellow travellers. We'll share a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, complete with a glass of prosecco, and this evening we'll get together once more for a light supper.
Day 4 Boxing Day Edinburgh
A stunning destination at any time, Edinburgh looks even more magnificent during the festive season, as you'll see for yourself today when we head to Scotland's capital. Our morning will be spent on a guided tour, taking in iconic historic sites including Edinburgh Castle. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore at leisure. Wander amongst the narrow medieval lanes and secret staircases of the Old Town, or admire the elegant Georgian architecture on display throughout the New Town. The beautiful Christmas market and the city's many quirky independent shops offer lots of opportunity to pick up some unique souvenirs.
Day 5 Eddleston
It's time to bid farewell to the beautiful Borders, so after breakfast you can check out and make your way home.
Meals included: B