Hello! My name is Gill.
Welcome to my home. I run Alba English Homestay offering English language tuition combined with our home stay experience. Our school works from our family home - a traditional nineteenth century cottage in the small village of Leitholm in the Scottish Borders.
You will eat, sleep and learn in our home alongside myself, my husband and our cat and dog, immersing yourselves amongst native English speakers and experiencing authentic Scottish culture. As a small school we are friendly, personal and professional. I will be your English teacher and also your host and will be with you inside and outside of the classroom. This gives me more opportunity to monitor your English, providing a better understanding of your language needs so these can then be worked on in class.
Lessons are designed with you in mind to help you meet your requirements and to boost both English language use and your confidence. You are also on holiday in Scotland and we aim to give you the best experience we can. Once here, you can relax knowing that everything is taken care of in our comfortable cottage. Let us cook delicious home-made food for you, leaving you free to improve your English and enjoy Scotland. The many exceptional attractions which await you will inspire and amaze you, perfectly complementing and enhancing your stay.
So, come visit, study and enjoy. Make memories to last a lifetime.
Welcome to our home
We live in a traditional cottage which is about 150 years old. We have recently refurbished it to give some modern touches whilst keeping its traditional character. We offer 1 large bedroom for our guests and it will have 2 comfortable single beds. We will share our modern bathroom, living room and kitchen. Our living room has a traditional open fire and our kitchen is large for cooking and eating. We have a beautiful big garden to the back of our cottage with views over fields and forests. We have an excellent Wifi connection and a laundry service is available. We have 2 adorable pets – a cat called Max and a Labrador dog called Barney. They are very friendly and enjoy having guests in their home.
We live in a traditional cottage which is about 150 years old. We have recently refurbished it to give some modern touches whilst keeping its traditional character.
Our living room has a traditional open fire.
We offer 1 large bedroom for our guests and it will have 2 comfortable single beds.
Our kitchen is large for cooking and eating.
About your host
I started teaching as a Trainer in the Hotel Industry and was a Lecturer at Glasgow College of Food Technology for 3 years. I have been teaching English for nearly 10 years both face to face and online via Skype from Beginners to Advanced, including preparation for Cambridge English Exams. I spent 3 years living and teaching English in a language academy in Spain and can speak intermediate Spanish. Focussing on conversational English, my lessons are relaxed and flexible, making you feel comfortable and confident about learning English. I use authentic materials to make your experience of learning English as real and natural as possible. The areas I focus on are everyday English conversations and vocabulary. I am an enthusiastic Teacher encouraging students to try new vocabulary and grow their confidence in using English.
Hobbies and Interests: I like to spend some time each day out walking the dog in the local countryside enjoying the seasons, spectacular views and wildlife. I am a member of our Village Hall committee and organise events for our villagers. I love anything to do with hospitality like cooking, baking, enjoying wine. I enjoy travelling and learning about new countries and cultures. I have lived in Spain twice and can speak Spanish to intermediate level.
Leitholm: Our home in Scotland
I live in a traditional cottage in a little village surrounded by the beautifully stunning countryside of the Scottish Borders. The area is a year-round tourist destination based on historical houses and castles, walking, cycling, horse-riding, golf, fishing on the River Tweed and the sea. We are only 15 miles to the historic border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed where you can get a train to the capital city of Edinburgh. We are 8 miles from the beautiful market town of Kelso with its famous Abbey ruins and you can visit Floors Castle, ancestral home of the Duke of Roxburghe. The Scottish Borders offers many local events throughout the year including cinema nights, craft workshops, antique fairs, horse racing, food shows and live music events.
Name: Leitholm, Scottish Borders
Place type: Village
Location: Grid Ref: NT 7906 4419 • X/Y co-ords: 379061, 644195 • Lat/Long: 55.69079971,-2.33465329
County/Unitary Authority: Scottish Borders
See the sights around Scotland
From beautiful outdoors to delicious meals, you'll get a chance to experience the real Scotland.
Our personalised package is suited to fit your English-learning needs as well as your comfort in our home.
Personalised Homestay Package
- 7 nights accommodations
- All meals included
- Shared bathroom
- 10 hours of private English teaching
- 2 excursions
- Free Wi-Fi
- Access to DVD & CD library, board games, and book library
- Laundry service is available
Full package details:
- 7 nights accommodation, breakfast, lunch and evening meal. All our meals are home-made and we eat together to encourage conversation and practice.
- Use of shared bathroom.
- 10 hours of English teaching – 2 hours per day. Increased teaching hours are available.
- 2 excursions are included in the price. Lots of local towns to visit, historic houses and gardens to see, coastal walks by the sea. More can be added at an extra charge.
- Wi-Fi connection, for which you can use the Internet and Skype.
- We offer a good DVD library and a TV/DVD in your bedroom. "Now TV” which gives you 100’s of English and American films and tv programmes to watch, which will increase your English vocabulary.
- Playing board games like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit to encourage your use of English.
- Reading. Our book library is also well stocked with English novels, plays, etc, and information books.
- My office allows me to teach students in peace and quiet. I use a white board, various teaching textbooks; newspapers and magazines; also CDs and games to encourage you to learn more.
- Laundry service is available.
Pick-up and drop-off transfer service from Edinburgh or Newcastle Airports - £120
Pick-up and drop-off at Berwick upon Tweed Railway Station (for trains to Edinburgh or Newcastle) - £40
Additional classes during your Homestay visit - £20/hr
Additional classes after your Homestay visit with Alba English Class on Skype - £20/hr
Additional excursions - approx. £25 (depending on excursion)
Cooking & baking class in our home making traditional Scottish food - £30 (eating is free!)
Our Homestay Package is for 7 nights. Should you need to stay another night for transportation purposes, please add £75.
Learning English: Your Classes
Assessing your level
If you are unsure of your English level please take an assessment test online to FIND YOUR LEVEL BEFORE YOU BOOK a place with us. We will then know the level I can prepare for your stay.The classes and Homestay experience are aimed at students with levels A2-C2.
I apply a communicative approach to language learning doing tasks to encourage students to use the language in meaningful situations. Although the emphasis is on practical language use, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation are also taught in context. I believe that the excursions and activities outside of the classroom form the most important part of the learning experience.
Alba English Class online classes
I also work as an online English Teacher doing classes for international students. If you would like to arrange some classes before your Homestay visit or to continue improving after your Homestay visit, please contact me to discuss. I offer a free trial class to discuss your language needs and goals.
See what our recent guest said
"My dream was to ride a horse in Scotland. I'm very happy to stay in a fabulous home and have [opportunities for] nice horse riding. I promise I'll come back here!"
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What will the weather be like?
Scottish weather is unpredictable but here in the Scottish Borders the weather is noticeably drier. It is likely to be moderate but variable. Spring, summer and autumn are generally mild or warm but can be cold and rain is likely in winter. It is a lovely area to visit regardless of the weather.
Will I be met when I arrive?
We will arrange to meet you at either Edinburgh or Newcastle airport or At Berwick upon Tweed railway station. There is a pick-up and drop-off charge for this, please see package extras.
Will I have a key?
Yes keys can be provided if necessary.
Does the homestay cost include meals?
Yes, the Homestay cost includes breakfast, lunch and evening meal. All our food is home-made and we offer a Scottish cooking class if you want to be adventurous, please see package extras.
How much money will I need for a week?
This depends on the activities that you intend to take part in. Estimates for costs have been provided and so you should estimate how much money to bring and some extra for contingencies.
If I have a shared room who will I be sharing with?
If you share a room, it will be with the other person you have booked with. We do not put unknown people together.
Welfare & safeguarding
The property has been fitted with appropriate fire alarms and a fire drill will be explained to students when you arrive at our home.
First aid & medical
A first aid box is available at home. Coldstream Medical Centre is 7 miles away and Borders General Hospital is 40 minutes' drive.
Health and safety policy
We are committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our students. We ensure that we comply with all relevant Health and Safety legislation.
If you have a problem with any part of your stay, your lessons or the activities, the first step is always to discuss the problem with us and we will be happy to help you
Some students need to apply for visas to study in the UK. If you are a European Union citizen (EU) or from the European Economic Area you do not need a visa to study in the UK or Ireland. The EEA and EU Members include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. While Switzerland is not in the EEA, Swiss nationals have the same rights as EEA nationals when entering the UK. If you are not from one of these countries, you should contact the British embassy or agents in your country for the very latest information on studying in the UK. Visa applications can take time, so please allow time for the process in your country.
Booking terms and conditions
A non-refundable deposit of 25% of the full cost of your holiday is paid on booking. The remaining 75% is due 1 calendar month before the start of your holiday. If you cancel your holiday 14 days or longer before it is due to start, you will be reimbursed 50% of the cost of your holiday. There is no reimbursement if cancellation is within 14 days of the start date. We will only cancel your holiday if absolutely necessary. If this happens you will be fully reimbursed. It is recommended that you take out travel insurance. You will be invoiced for your holiday, and payment may be made by bank transfer.