FREE school visits to Abbotsford!

2021 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott – Scotland’s greatest writer and proud Borderer. Visit Abbotsford with your class this academic year and help us celebrate!

The Abbotsford Trust would like to invite one class from every school in the Eildon East, Eildon West and Selkirkshire learning communities to visit Abbotsford completely FREE with all admission and transportation costs covered.

What’s on offer?

Visit Abbotsford with your class and explore Sir Walter’s fascinating home inside and out with a half-day taster visit.

Classes will split into two smaller groups on arrival to take part in the activities below with a short snack break in between before swapping over.

Sessions will be led by members of our friendly Learning team and can be tailored to suit all ages and levels.

House session

Explore the life and times of Sir Walter Scott by visiting the amazing historic house, stuffed with weird and wonderful curios, artefacts and books! Find out what it was like to live in a home like this 200 years ago. Discover the achievements, passions and obsessions of this important local historical figure and be inspired by this unique place.

Curriculum links: Social Sciences, Literacy and English

Outdoor session

Join the Estate Ranger for an outdoor adventure on our beautiful estate. Learn all about what nature has to offer on our doorstep with seasonal practical activities including survival skills, natural crafts and exploring animal habitats.

Curriculum links: Sciences, Health & Wellbeing, Numeracy



Who can take part?

This offer is open to one class from each school (up to a maximum of 33 pupils). Schools are welcome to decide which class would benefit from a visit. The content and focus of the activities will be tailored towards the appropriate age group/level. Please advise us if any of your pupils have additional learning or access needs.


Each school can book either a morning slot (10am-12pm) or afternoon slot (12.30pm-2.30pm) on the day of your choice between November 2021 – May 2022. Click here and select your slot. Our team will then be in touch to confirm your booking.

What does it cost?

Admission is free for pupils and accompanying teachers/accompanying adults in line with our recommended ratios (please see our Terms and Conditions below).

With generous support from SOSEP and the Rotary Clubs of Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk, the costs of coach travel will be reimbursed after your visit (up to a maximum of £150 per school).

What about breaks?

Please bring a small snack and drink suitable for a short break. If weather allows break time will take place outdoors. In the event of rain or bad weather our Learning Centre space is available for indoor breaks.

Do you have any resources available to support a visit?

Please download our schools resource pack.

How do I book?

Visits must be booked online in advance. Click here and select your slot.

Slots will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis to all eligible schools. Please note slots cannot be provisionally reserved or held.  

Once you have booked your slot online our team will be in touch to discuss your booking and take some further details. We will also be able answer any questions you may have.  

To confirm your booking we will send you a booking confirmation email and our schools handbook which contains our schools risk assessment, guidelines for your visit, a site map and a photography permission form.  


The Abbotsford Trust continues to work within the guidance for the tourism sector issued by the Scottish Government regarding Covid-19. The Trust has put in place procedures to ensure you can visit safely and in confidence including:

  • Timed entry slots in the historic house to allow for social distancing
  • Requirement for all staff, volunteers and members of the public to wear face coverings (unless exempt)
  • Hand sanitising points available on site

In addition to the measures above we will split classes into two smaller groups to allow for greater distancing between staff and pupils and have reduced the time classes will spend indoors.

Our full measures are detailed in our schools risk assessment and guidelines for visiting which will be sent to you once your slot in confirmed. Please ensure all teaching staff and accompanying adults read these guidelines before attending.

Teachers are also entitled to two complimentary tickets to carry out a familiarisation site visit with a colleague before your booked slot. Please let our team know if this is of interest to you.  


Terms and conditions

  • This offer is open to each primary and secondary school in the Eildon East, Eildon West or Selkirkshire learning communities only.
  • Visits must take place between November 2021 – May 2022.  
  • We can accommodate one class of up to a maximum of 33 pupils per slot. 
  • Pupil admission will be complimentary. Accompanying teachers/carers will also receive complimentary entry - please see our recommended ratios of pupils to adults below. Please note any additional adults over these recommended ratios will be charged at our standard admission rate. We recommend the following basic ratios of accompanying adults to pupils for school visits to Abbotsford: Nursery 1:3, P1- P3 1:6, P4-P7 1:10, S1-S6 1:15. A higher ratio than those noted may be required for activities which involve younger children or young people with additional support needs. Please highlight any additional needs or access requirements when booking your visit.
  • The costs of coach travel will be covered up to a maximum of £150 per school. Expenses for taxi hire or travel by private vehicle cannot be claimed. Schools are responsible for making all travel arrangements.
  • If you have to cancel your visit for any reason please contact us on 01896 752 043 during office hours or email as soon as possible. We will do our best to re-book an alternative slot for your visit.
  • The Abbotsford Trust reserves the right to cancel/reschedule bookings or change the dates of this offer at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances. We will do our best to contact you at the earliest opportunity if a visit needs to be rescheduled and re-book an alternative slot for your visit.
  • In the event of cancellation at short notice, The Abbotsford Trust cannot be held responsible for any additional cancellation charges or fees applied by your coach supplier.
  • Please note that access to some facilities such as the Play Trail and/or outdoor activities may have to be changed, cancelled or re-scheduled due to bad weather or other circumstances beyond our control.  


The Abbotsford Trust gratefully acknowledges the support of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, the Rotary Clubs of Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk and The Rotary Foundation.