Great Places to Stay in Scotland
Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course
Travel writer Vivien Devlin lives in Edinburgh, so the Scottish Borders region is close by. In this feature she describes the pleasures of visiting a delightful Borders hotel - and its championship golf course.
The Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders region stretches across the breadth of Southern Scotland, from the fishing port of Eyemouth on the east coast to the farmlands of Dumfries and Galloway on the west. The Borders is an unspoilt wilderness of forested hills, attractive villages and bleak, barren moorland and, of course, the majestic River Tweed which meanders its way across the central valley. Protected and separated from the urban lowlands by the Moorfoot and Lammermuir Hills, the Borders can often by isolated in the winter months, when the Soutra Hill is closed with heavy snow drifts.
It is one of the great ironies that so many visitors to Scotland fly direct to Glasgow or Edinburgh, or if driving, head north to the cities and then on the Highlands, thus missing out on some of the most beautiful rural landscape of the country. The beauty of the Borders is perhaps due to its own distinct historical and cultural identity engrained in their traditional way of life across the generations of family communities working in sheep farming and the woollen mill industry. Not surprising then that it is this magical land of rivers and hills which inspired two of Scotland`s great writers, James Hogg, the poet-shepherd, and Sir Walter Scott. As they both recognised, the Scottish Border country has an air of history and legend, mystery and romance." Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, this is my own, my native land!"The best way to explore the Border country is to stay for a few days and take day trips to different towns, castles, abbeys and famous sites.
Sir Walter Scott
The Roxburghe Hotel> and Golf Course just outside the pretty market town of Kelso, on the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot rivers, is the perfect location for a relaxing break. Here you can enjoy walking, fishing, horseback-riding, tennis, game shooting and, of course, a few rounds of golf on the championship golf course.
The Roxburghe is a delightful 19th century mansion three-gabled house, with ivy clambering up the greystone walls, set in 200 acres of wooded parkland, landscaped gardens, hedges and ponds. The house is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe whose family estate is at nearby Floors Castle. The Duchess is a notable interior designer and the luxurious soft furnishings and fabrics in both the elegant public rooms and bedrooms are due to her personal selection and good taste.
Needless to say, in such a grand country house, the bedrooms and suites, are spacious and very comfortable, many with four poster beds, antique furniture, marble bathrooms and lovely views over the gardens. The drawing rooms, with magnificent fireplaces and oil paintings, and the wood panelled library - where lunch and pre dinner drinks are served - are all so comfortable it would not matter what the weather was like [ and it can rain here!], so just relax by the fire with a good book and absorb the ambience of traditional Scottish country house lifestyle.
The restaurant at the Roxburghe Hotel has won several Tourist Board awards as well as two rosettes from the AA consistently for many years. The emphasis is on excellent Scottish cuisine, featuring produce from the Roxburghe estate, including Tweed salmon, game, local vegetables, fruit and herbs. The dinner menu is given in simple, non nonsense terms, without the elaborate poetic descriptions which seems to be the modern fad these days.
I began with light and crispy smoked salmon and leek quiche, while my partner, Ken, selected a wild mushroom ravioli. Fish lover that I am, I continued with a tender fillet of Sea bass, delicately seasoned in saffron. Ken opted for seared tuna with mashed potato. In an imaginative and rather different menu, other choices included Ostrich, Scotch Beef, Duck and Guinea Fowl. Old fashioned puddings included Sticky Toffee Pudding and Steamed black cherry sponge - just the thing after a day out in the bracing Borders fresh air. Coffee was taken in the drawing room in front of a roaring log fire, as we relaxed and began to plan our activities for the next morning.
I would suggest an early morning walk around the gardens before returning to sample a delicious breakfast in true Scottish style, with fruits, porridge and cream, eggs, bacon, kippers, toast with home made marmalade and jam.
Now it is time for exercise!
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