Quirky things to do in Edinburgh: Alpacas

When we asked our team here at the Scotch Whisky Experience for their recommendations of quirky things to do in Edinburgh, little did we know that when it comes to this beautiful wee city and its surrounding areas, the phrase “something for everyone” means exactly that!

If you’re looking to escape the city for a leisurely morning or afternoon, you can’t go wrong with spending some time in the great outdoors. And who would be a perfect companion for a walk in the wild? We’ll let Hannah from our Visitor Experience team tell all…

“With a friend’s birthday fast approaching, my friends and I were struggling to decide of what to do in Edinburgh that we haven’t already done. Of course, we love visiting Edinburgh Castle, its museums, not to mention everything there is to do on the Royal Mile, however we wanted to do something a little bit different. After a lot of searching, we finally decided on the perfect idea: visiting an alpaca farm. Yes, you read that correctly, an ALPACA farm – exciting right?!

Velvet Hall alpacas near Edinburgh (credit and copyright: Velvet Hall Alpacas)
Velvet Hall alpacas near Edinburgh (credit and copyright: Velvet Hall Alpacas)

On arrival at Velvet Hall Alpacas just outside Edinburgh, we were greeted by little fluffy faces peering over a gate eagerly waiting to meet us, and by the lovely Jean and Stuart who own the site. Before setting off we were introduced to the alpacas, and could choose which alpaca we wanted to lead. The birthday girl got to choose first, and she chose the majestic Pearson; I chose the smallest boy who was a youngster named Atom. We all spent five minutes meeting our alpacas and bonding with them, before heading off on our trek.

Bonding with the alpacas (Photo: Hannah Reid)
Bonding with the alpacas (Photo: Hannah Reid)

“If you are like me and miss having animal company or contact with living in the city, then this experience is absolutely for you.”

The adult alpacas took the lead, followed by the youngsters. At the time, only male alpacas were available for trekking as the females either had babies or were pregnant.

We set off, trekking around the magnificent countryside with spectacular views. The whole group took such a liking to their alpacas and the hour we spent with them flew by. If you are like me and miss having animal company or contact with living in the city, then this experience is absolutely for you. The alpacas made ideal companions for trekking, Atom was so cuddly and friendly that it was like walking a life-sized teddy bear!

Trekking with alpacas near Edinburgh (credit and copyright: Velvet Hall Alpacas)
Trekking with alpacas near Edinburgh (credit and copyright: Velvet Hall Alpacas)

After returning from the trek, we got to spend more time with the alpacas, feeding them carrots as a treat and to say thank you. After a lot of attempts to try and keep him, I reluctantly had to let Atom back in to his field.

Alpaca party (credit and copyright: Hannah Reid)
Alpaca party (credit and copyright: Hannah Reid)

After we let the boys go (sob!), we were then told that the females and youngsters were about to come through and that we could say hello to them. As soon as the gate opened, we were surrounded by alpacas and youngsters. It was such an exciting, surreal experience! Alpaca trekking is suitable for all ages and for different occasions – we were told that some of the alpacas even made special appearances at weddings! Whether you are a visiting Edinburgh or stay here locally, take yourself out of the city for a trip to Velvet Hall Alpacas. You won’t regret it!”

Happy alpaca (credit and copyright: Velvet Hall Alpacas)
Happy alpaca (credit and copyright: Velvet Hall Alpacas)

Velvet Hall Alpacas is situated in the Scottish Borders at the heart of the beautiful Tweed Valley. It takes 45-60 minutes to get there by car, but a bus will take you right to the entrance if you’re using public transport (around 90 minutes from central Edinburgh)

Buses to Velvet Hall Alpacas: X62 from Edinburgh Bus Station, going to Melrose (every 30 minutes)
Stop: Velvet Hall Cotts (Innerleithen)

An alpaca trek is £15 per person and lasts around one hour. It is recommended that you book ahead on their website, as spaces fill up very quickly. Morning treks leave at 10:00 and afternoon treks leave at 14:00, weather permitting.

Meet the alpacas here.

What other quirky things would you recommend in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas? Let us know in the comments, or on social media!


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