Massed Pipes Day – Floors Castle

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The Massed Pipes day is an annual event held in August at Floors Castle, Kelso, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe.

We had planned to visit Floors Castle for some time, but hadn't "got round to it", so visiting the castle and enjoying a programme with various events was extra appealing, so off we went!..

The event this year consisted of bands from all over the Scottish Borders. Over 200 pipes and drums took part, but there was so much more to do too!. The event has been presented for the past fourteen years by Alasdair Hutton, the narrator of the Edinburgh Tattoo. His excellent experience certainly showed, the event, in our opinion was very well managed.

Admission prices to Floors Castle and the gardens are normally about £8.50 per adult concessions around £7.50. On the Massed Pipes Day the same entry fee applied but for this we were also treated to amazing entertainment from Massed Pipe Bands, a tour of the magnificent Floors Castle, a tour of the gardens by the head gardener. Beautiful Highland Dancing, Highland Games, a fascinating falconry display. Children were catered for with a free adventure playground, face painting and a bouncy castle. This all represented excellent value for money!

Food could be bought from the Barbeque provided by the Castle Kitchen, alternatively there was the Terrace Café and Courtyard Café.

For shopping there was a food stall selling a variety of produce from the Castle Kitchen prepared by the Duke's personal chef. The gift shop which was well stocked with books, gifts , postcards. Plants were for sale at the Castle's Plant Centre.

As well as enjoying all that was on offer, we enjoyed a lovely woodland walk in the Castle Grounds, we saw enormous mature trees, a variety of plants, animal and bird life. The woodland walk led us to the formal Millennium Garden – a garden created to celebrate the new century and then on to what turned out to be my favourite – The walled Garden which was so full of colour from a wide range of plants, many in full bloom. We stopped for a while at The Terrace Café, sitting outside overlooking the Walled Garden. Once refreshed we visited The Plant Centre where the staff were very knowledgeable.

At the front of the castle the views of the surrounding countryside are absolutely stunning. You can see for miles around, over the River Tweed to England. There are wooden benches for people to sit and admire the view, grassy banks to sit on, large trees to sit under in the shade. It was well worth walking away from the entertainment area for a while to this beautiful setting.

There were large amounts of seating throughout the grounds so people could sit and listen to the piped bands, watch the highland games, the Highland dancing, the Falconry or just enjoy the view, There was a variety of types of seats to suit everyone, some with arms, some without, even children's seats. As I have arthritis and often need to sit for a few minutes, the abundance of seating was welcome. There were large crowds at this even but there was no shortage of seating!.

The Massed Pipe Day ran from 11am to 4pm, never at any time were we bored, but neither were we ever rushed, we just enjoyed a lovely day of well organised entertainment, relaxation, good food in beautiful countryside, The way the programme of events was organised meant that those only able to stay part of the day you could still see everything as all events were repeated.

There are good car parking facilities at Floors Castle.

Floors Castle is situated just outside Kelso in The Scottish Borders, it is Scotland's largest inhabited castle. The Castle is well road signposted from Kelso.

For those wanting further information on Floors Castle, The Terrace Restaurant, The Walled Garden, I have written separate reviews.

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