With so much to offer, you won’t be short of things to do during your time on the Scottish Borders, whether you’re here for the afternoon or making a longer holiday of it. Here, however, are five great things to consider doing with your elderly parents in Kelso.
Kelso Abbey was once one of the most magnificent places of worship in Scotland. Built in 1128, the Abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s Reformation and was demolished by the English army in 1550. The ruins were made safe in the early 1800s and soon became a tourist destination, finally passing into the care of the nation after the First World War. Today, you can stroll around the Abbey grounds and ruins all year round, and there’s no entry fee.
While most of the site is relatively flat, those with mobility issues may struggle in inclement weather. If your elderly relatives have a companion care worker who can assist them, they should find the majority of the attraction easy to navigate by wheelchair or using other mobility aids.
Floors Castle is one of the most breathtaking stately homes you’re ever likely to see. As Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, it’s still home to the Dukes of Roxburghe and has been their family seat for 10 generations, since it was built in 1721. Although initially a rather plain Georgian edifice, the house was added to through the centuries and now has an impressive and elaborate façade, while inside, the rooms are elegantly and sumptuously furnished. The gardens are also worth a visit.
The castle runs events throughout the year, and there are two cafés for refreshments. Access is good, although the staff do advise ringing in advance to make arrangements for those who need to use a wheelchair. An indoor lift takes you to the upper and lower floors, but cannot accommodate some larger wheelchairs. A smaller wheelchair which will fit is available for hire, but you might want to reserve it ahead of time.
Dulcie’s care story
Dulcie is one of our longest serving customers. In this video, she and her family talk through their decision to arrange care in the home rather than the care home.
The Teviot Smokery and Water Gardens
A short car ride outside Kelso, you’ll find the Teviot Smokery and Water Gardens, a fantastic little restaurant with gardens, which has become increasingly popular with visitors to the area in recent years. Open from 9-5, seven days a week for breakfasts, afternoon teas and lunches, it also has magnificent water gardens and views of the nearby River Teviot to enjoy too. As well as having a lovely menu featuring cakes, scones and, of course, their own smoked meats, fish and vegetarian options, you can buy hampers, gifts and smoked products to take away with you.
The restaurant is fully accessible for those with mobility problems, although the terraced gardens aren’t ideal for those who are not totally steady on their feet. Nevertheless, the views from the restaurant are stunning, and if your loved one has a live-in care professional who has accompanied them, this can be the perfect place for you all to sit down together and catch up.
Kelso Farmers’ Market
If you’re lucky enough to be in Kelso on the fourth Saturday of the month, you could take in Kelso Farmers’ Market. Award-winning stalls sell everything from fresh local fruit and vegetables, to Aberdeen Angus Beef and other meats, fish, bread, cakes, cheeses and liqueurs. With so much choice, you’re bound to find something to take your fancy, but sitting in a nearby café and soaking up the friendly atmosphere can also be a lovely way to while away some time.
Markets can get crowded, and may be disorientating for people receiving dementia care. They can also be tricky to navigate for those who need to use mobility aids or wheelchairs. Although Kelso’s marketplace is evenly cobbled, you or your loved one’s live-in care companion might want to assess the terrain before the crowds arrive, to check it’s manageable for your elderly relative.
Border Berries, Rutherford Farm
If you head west from Kelso, you’ll find Border Berries, a pick-your-own farm offering strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, red and blackcurrants and fresh peas, as well as a café with outdoor seating in a lovely garden. Even if your elderly parents cannot manage the uneven fields and the constant bending to pick fruit, they could still enjoy the setting and range of freshly made cakes, scones, fruit cordials and ice creams. The St Clements shortbread is particularly good, as are the jams and preserves made from their own fresh fruit.
The café has full wheelchair access, and you’ll find picnic tables outside to use if the weather is nice. The café and pick-your-own are dictated by the seasons, so they’re only open for a couple of months each year. Always check before you set off, to avoid disappointment.
Kelso is one of the loveliest towns in this part of the country and the ideal base for your break in the region. However long you and your loved ones are here for, you’ll find no shortage of things to do as you spend some valuable time together.
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