THEY used to come to Peebles Hydro in the Scottish Borders to take the waters ... now they make gin with it.

The hydropathic hotel and spa, to use its original title, opened its doors 140 years ago to treat Victorian visitors for various ailments and illnesses.

Going by our recent visit, it's still providing a cure now, with the stresses and strains of life melting away thanks to a healthy tonic of rest and relaxation, with stunning scenery, great food and plenty of activities thrown in for good measure.

Talking of measures, that same mineral-rich spring that was famed for rejuvenating patients is now being used to create their own range of uplifting spirits.

They have a gin school at Peebles Hydro – now there's a lesson worth learning – and a distillery where you can make your own.

You can taste their own branded 1881 version, and believe me we gave it a good go, which is named after the year the hotel opened, and they also brew their own beer here.

Just over an hour from Dunfermline, we arrived on the driveway to a very grand, grade B-listed building that enjoys a prominent position above the town.

You can look out across the lawn to Peebles and the hills beyond, a stunning view they make the most of with large picture windows framing the scene for all to drink in.

Our family room was plush and comfortable, there are lovely little touches to make you feel at home and welcoming for the kids, and the staff were pleasant and helpful.

As a base for exploring the Borders – and the town is just a short walk away and well worth visiting – the hotel is ideally situated but it has so much to offer you could easily spend a relaxing few days here and never leave the grounds.

Did I mention it has a gin school?

The leisure centre has a gym and good-sized swimming pool to splash about in, with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna too. There are snooker and pool tables, air hockey and darts, or you can sip on a cocktail in the bar or visit one of the luxurious lounges for a seat by the fire with a coffee and the paper.

If you're feeling energetic or have kids to tire out, you can zip around on a segway, take a pot-shot on the rifle range, hire a bike – it's only 10 minutes from Glentress – have a go at archery or even let them loose behind the wheel of a mini Land Rover (for those aged three to 12).

There are tennis courts, a giant chess set, badminton and a putting green, as well as a playpark for the little ones.

My nine-year-old son sulked after his crushing defeat on centre court, well it was the middle one anyway, and to be fair to him my victory dance did go on a bit too long.

Meanwhile, the girls explored the gardens where herbs, vegetables and fruit are growing – it doesn't have far to go to reach the plate – while there are hives of European bees providing honey and hens laying eggs for the kitchen.

And they've obviously got a sense of humour with a Kylo Hen (it has the black and red markings of the Star Wars villain but apparently not the same murderous intentions), a 'Rampaging' Rodger the Rooster and a chicken called Tikka – I'd be keeping a close eye on the chef's menu every day if I was Tikka.

And the food was incredible. For our evening meal, we feasted on creamy cullen skink and classic prawn cocktail for starters, with chicken breast stuffed with wild mushrooms, fondant potato and a Diane sauce, while across the table there was grilled Scottish salmon fillet, sautéed potatoes and an 1881 Gin Bearnaise sauce (there's a subliminal message here somewhere).

In between throwing crayons and pinching all the spoons, the kids cleaned their plates too, a triumph in itself.

The desserts were an indulgent affair, and why not, with warm apple tarte tatin and crème brulée (they marinated the fruit in gin too!) rounding off an excellent meal.

And you couldn't fail to be impressed with the hearty Scottish breakfast, a buffet with so many tasty choices to start the day, and some healthy ones too.

They've even got the picnic shop selling sandwiches, cakes, crisps, pies and other refreshments, in case you get peckish on the journey back to the room – you'd be surprised how often that happens – or fancy a takeaway.

In all, they've got everything you need for a sparkling break in the Borders.

You can find out more and see their special offers at