We could not agree more with the description of Runglee Cottage on Crabtree & Crabtree’s website: “charmingly named after Runglee Rungliot meaning ‘thus far and no further’, this journey’s end promises comfort and contentment amidst the gentle quiet of the country.” The “we” is an aunt and uncle living in England and another aunt and I living in Ontario. Once we arrived, we immediately felt at home and were charmed by the cottage, its furnishings, layout and the views. The pictures on the website were not misleading; the cottage is lovely. It is also very well equipped, especially in the kitchen. If you were actually staying put and not exploring the area, you could comfortably live and cook for a family for a week. You could even bake bread if you were so inclined. In fact, it would go very well with the local honey or cheese in your welcome pack.
We were looking for a cottage in the area of Berwick-upon-Tweed (BUT) for a week’s stay this spring as we planned on visiting Newcastle where my grandmother hailed from and BUT has direct rail links up and down the east coast. We had also heard about the stunning coastal scenery and were looking forward to that aspect of the area as well.
I booked the cottage on line as the Canadian link had a better price than the UK link. I paid an £89 deposit in January and the remaining £356 at the end of February for a late April arrival. Seven nights for £445 (£449.63 including the credit Card Processing Supplement) between four adults is a great price, especially considering what you get. The dining room is the centre of the home with the kitchen and separate utility room in one direction and the living room in the opposite. Another direction takes you to the sunroom with views across the fields and the opposite direction takes you into the bedroom wing with a master bedroom with king bed, walk in wardrobe and ensuite, a spacious twin room with large wardrobe and a separate shower room. The fresh flowers on the dining room table were a nice touch.
We tried to order a meal for our first night to be delivered to the cottage as there is a link to these services on the website. However, of the three options available, one was booked solid, one never responded to my email and the third was having health issues so could not guarantee service. We ended up taking a meal with us that my aunt had kindly prepared ahead of time. If you are not able to do the same and feel like venturing out for your first meal, the village of Swinton is very close and the Wheatsheaf pub (see separate review) has great food.
We had no difficulty finding the cottage. I had the directions in hand from Crabtree & Crabtree in case we got lost but our vehicle’s sat nav took us directly there with the postal code. The cottage is just outside the village of Swinton in the Borders. The day before we left for our 4-5 hour drive to the cottage I phoned the owners (Shona and Jerry) to confirm the time we would be arriving and Shona gave me the key code to get the front door key in case no one was home. The only difficulty we had was getting the door open – it needed a very strong tug on the door handle.
When we spoke on the telephone Shona also confirmed what would be in the welcome pack so we knew what provisions to bring for ourselves. Contrary to the note on the website, Shona does not provide the usual tea and coffee as she finds people tend to bring the brands they like from home. Instead, she provides some local delicacies: honey from the Chain Bridge Honey Farm, a loaf of Bannock bread which came in very handy for toast in the morning, local cheese, a bottle of wine, and oat cakes. The owners live in the large house past the cottage. They were handy if we needed anything but left us to ourselves to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. A couple of times their new puppy came over for a visit along with their other dog but that was fine with us.
As we were getting unpacked and our meal was warming up in the oven, Shona stopped by to welcome us to Runglee. She advised us taking the train on our planned trips to Newcastle and Edinburgh rather than driving ourselves and bothering with parking. In addition to a number of pamphlets on the area in the sunroom, there is a book of notes from previous visitors with their recommendations of things to do/places to go as well as a book put together by Shona and Jerry. After our meal we settled down to plan our week and book our train tickets for our two longer excursions.
We had a lovely week using the cottage as our home base. I was usually up early enough to watch the sunrise in the sunroom while making notes on our day trips to write this and other reviews of our adventures that week, do some reading or take some photographs while waiting for the rest of the party to appear for breakfast. The next one up was usually my aunt Karen – she snapped the lovely bird photos.
We would definitely book through Crabtree & Crabtree again and would stay at this cottage if we were in the area. Communication from the booking office and with the owners was always prompt and helpful. The cottage truly is charming and aptly named “thus far and no further.”
“Crabtree & Crabtree”:http://www.crabtreeandcrabtree.com