It’s rare to find a hotel which appeals to children and parents equally. Cringletie House in the Scottish Borders does so brilliantly, managing to combine the warmest of welcomes with a grand country house wow factor.
This is in no small part down to fabulously friendly staff, who are experienced yet unstuffy. There’s a warm smile on arrival, a teddy on the bed, and a relaxed feel to the place, despite the grand architecture and plush surroundings.
There’s been a dwelling on the site since the 13th century, although the current house dates back to 1861. Up until 1971, it was owned by The Wolfe Murrays and the Sutherland family, who transformed it from a Victorian family house to a much grander country house. Inside it has magnificent fireplaces and hand-painted ceilings, with a handwoven carpet in a specially created tartan.
We had a junior suite, with four-poster bed. They’d made our two-year-old, Bea, a bed of her own too, although in the end our huge super king was just too tempting and she ended up snuggled in with us. Children under 12 stay free, with rollaway beds or cots available. Our room looked out over sweeping manicured lawns and fragrant kitchen gardens, where many of the vegetables served in the restaurant are grown.
There are acres of mature woodland, a croquet lawn, grazing sheep, a pitch and putt course and a secret walled garden with its 400-year-old yew hedge, reputed to be the oldest in Scotland.
Bea loved messing around in the beautiful garden, complete with giant chess, boules and a trampoline, while we wound down with a good book and a summery cocktail. Drinks enthusiasts are in for a treat – guests are greeted with a complimentary decanter of whisky, and there’s a well-stocked bar where patrons are invited to enjoy a drink by the fire and curl up with a good book or play a variety of board games.
Fabulous food and drink
Food lovers are well-catered for too, with fresh, seasonal produce taking centre stage in the table d’hote menu, with a choice of five starters, main courses and puddings. Young diners are made very welcome in the lounges and restaurant – high chairs are available and they offer a children’s menu called Huggie’s Friends, or an option to choose from the dinner menu.
For breakfast, there are stacks of fluffy Scotch pancakes, alongside traditional full Scottish breakfasts, porridge, and an impressive continental selection. Children’s breakfasts are £7.50 or free for under fives. Staff can help with heating food or bottles, storing pushchairs and there’s a baby changing unit.
Little ones will love the fairytale grounds, and it’s a great base for families with older kids – 30 minutes south of Edinburgh it’s ideal for a day in Scotland’s stunning capital city.
For active families, it’s a great chance to climb Arthur’s Seat, the plug of an extinct volcano, soaring 251m (823ft) above the medieval roofscape of the Royal Mile. The area also offers superb walking, biking, horseriding, and even treetop adventures.
Four-legged friends are welcome at Cringletie House too
Cringletie House really is a home from home for all the family – dogs are made very welcome too, with biscuits, water bowls and their own special menu, blankets and cushions. There’s a doggie walks map plus a vet on call and grooming service.
Just two miles down the road, Peebles is well worth a trip too. Nestled in the Tweed Valley, it is one of Scotland’s royal and ancient burghs. A bustling market town, it has a high street packed with a fine selection of thriving independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
But then again, with its impressive grounds and inviting rooms, the biggest challenge may be leaving the warmth and welcome of Cringletie House, a home from home whatever the season.
Dinner, bed and breakfast starts from £169 for late availability and from £350 per room for two night Autumn breaks.