With Fred. Olsen starting cruises from Rosyth opposite Edinburgh, many people are looking for a hotel to break the journey. Driving from the south on the motorways has become a lot easier with people combining a stop in the Midlands and the Borders on the way to explore these areas.
The Borders of Scotland are often overlooked by people who concentrate on the Highlands but this area, which includes the Southern Uplands, has some stunning and spectacular scenery itself and a wealth of historic and cultural sites to visit.
The 300-year-old former coaching inn the Elphinstone Hotel in Biggar, Lanarkshire is very welcoming, and all the staff members exude a friendly, professional image from the moment you arrive. Our room had a king size bed and the room was large and comfortable with an en suite bathroom. There is parking outside and all around this small town which has some really good shops too.
There are lots of stairs and winding corridors as you would expect in an hotel of this age, but it is really an ideal place to spend a two or three-night midweek stay. The beauty of the ‘Elph’ is that you are under an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow with all their attractions, the border towns such a Peebles and Selkirk await you and even the magnificent sculptures of the Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel are with easy reach.
Our evening meal was delightful. Well-presented and tasting really good. The menu is extensive and with many, excellent vegetarian and fish choices. All the ingredients are sourced from Scotland. Be aware though the hotel restaurant is very popular with the locals (always a good sign) especially if there is an event on at the Corn Exchange or church and the dining room can be quite raucous! I would advise you to eat in the comfortable lounge bar with its open fire or the secluded dining area just above this.
There is a decking area outside where you can eat as well, and we sat out here with our drinks enjoying the warm summer evening. I liked the free shoe cleaning kit and the way that nothing seemed be too much trouble.
You are not going to get five-star luxury from this hotel but what you will get is a midweek stay at a place that is well positioned now, as a cost-effective alternative to high priced country house hotels. It is also positioned to explore the heritage, history and scenery of a part of a Scotland that is not really that well known. I’d go quick before that changes.
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Silver Travel Advisor recommends Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.