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Things to do in the Scottish Borders: Food and Drink Tours and Courses

Updated: Jul 2

When you think of the Scottish Borders, your mind might conjure images of rolling hills, historic towns, and lush countryside. While the region is indeed as picturesque as it sounds, hidden amongst these hills and glens are thriving craft-breweries, distilleries and even a world-renowned chocolate school. Join us on a journey through some of the finest food and drink tours and courses in the Scottish Borders.

1881 Distillery and Gin School, Peebles

Craft Your Own Gin Adventure

For those looking for local Scottish gin, Peebles is home to the 1881 Distillery and Gin School. This award-winning establishment offers both distillery tours and courses where you can make your own gin. Start your visit with a refreshing gin and tonic before diving into their three-hour gin distiller class. Here, you'll have the opportunity to craft your very own 70cl bottle of gin under expert guidance. If you're more interested in the process than the product, take a tour of the distillery and gain insight into the art of gin production. Find out More.

The Borders Distillery, Hawick

Whisky in the Heart of the Borders

No trip to Scotland would be complete without trying a drop of whisky - so why not see how it’s made? The Borders Distillery in Hawick was the first Scotch Whisky Distillery to open in the Borders in 1837, and is now located in an award-winning conversion of the former Edwardian electrical works on the riverside. It’s a year-round working distillery, giving you the chance to witness the whisky-making process in action. Your guided tour, led by expert distillers, will take you through every step, from local barley to the creation of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Kerr's Gin, and Puffing Billy Steam Vodka. Find out More.

Cocoa Black Chocolate & Pastry School, Peebles

A course for every chocolate-lover to try

Calling all chocolate lovers and aspiring pastry chefs! The Cocoa Black Chocolate & Pastry School, run by the UK World Chocolate Master and UK Confectioner of the Year, Ruth Hinks, is a haven for those seeking to explore the world of chocolate and pastry. The Chocolate School attracts aspiring chocolatiers from far and wide, by offering a wide range of classes suitable for all levels of experience. Learn how to work with the finest ingredients and equipment as you make your own truffles, pralines, tarts, chocolate caramels and patisseries under expert guidance. It's a sweet journey into the heart of culinary craftsmanship. Find out More.

Tempest Brew Co, Galashiels

Tempest Brewery Tours

Nestled in the heart of Galashiels, Tempest Brew Co is where innovation meets craft beer enthusiasm. They’re a mighty group of beer lovers and aficionados who create exceptional brews worth their rating as one of the top 100 breweries in the world (ratebeer). Their brewery tours are designed for a maximum of 10 people, offering an immersive and personalised experience from start to finish, with a beer on arrival and reserved table at their lively Taproom afterwards. A must-do when you’re in the area! Find out More.

Traquair House Brewery

Brewing Tradition Beneath Historic Roofs

Nestled within the walls of the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland, Traquair House Brewery is a living testament to centuries of brewing heritage. This hidden gem, dating back to the early 1700s, originally served the house and its estate as a domestic brewery. While it fell into disuse in the early 1800s, it was never dismantled and gradually became a forgotten relic, filled with family heirlooms and memories.

The story takes an exciting turn when Peter Maxwell Stuart rediscovered the brewery in the early 1960s. In 1965, he embarked on a brewing experiment using the original equipment and fermenting ales in the same oak tuns that had aged for over two centuries. The brewery's rich history is now brought to life through tours, where you can witness the very place where this brewing legacy was reborn.

They offer 30-minute tours on request, subject to availability, with the chance to try three of their exceptional ales. For tour bookings and inquiries, contact them at

We hope this has whet your appetite for your next visit to the Scottish Borders! Whether you're drawn to the aromatic world of gin, craft beers, the magic of whisky production, or the artistry of chocolate and pastries, there's something for everyone, and all a stone’s throw from Bowden House B&B. Book your stay now.


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