If you're looking to explore the Borders then Cringletie House is a welcoming base in a handy location.
Cringletie is a grand baronial castle, yet has a really homely feel to it. A warm hotel, the kind of place where if your children take a shine to the horses in the field, the waiter not only tells you their names, but advises eager wee ones to request apples from the kitchen to feed them. At the end of a day’s sightseeing, returning to Cringletie felt like coming home.
With free parking at the front of the property, unpacking our family luggage was relatively easy. Check in was swift and we were shown to our room in person, passing the dining facilities and the details about our room were explained to us. Free wifi is included.
We were based in the Melrose Junior Suite, named after the nearby town, famous for its Abbey and Sevens Rugby tournament. It was a large room with contemporary classic decor, featuring a vast four poster bed, two single beds for the kids, and ample space for a sitting area at the bay window, where a complimentary bottle of whisky awaits guests. The bathroom was fitted out with a vintage style bath, shower, sink and toilet,and Arran Aromatics toiletries too. A few books were left in the room for guests to pick up, and a robe and slippers for the adults were another welcome addition.
A self-catering cottage complete with hot tub is also available.
The dining experience is based around a set menu, handy if you’re on a budget, or dining in a group, as you all have the same bill. The children’s menu was named Huggies Friends, named after a toy bear located in each hotel room. Mr Tot ordered sausage and mash from his menu, but he was delighted that his gravy was served in a mini tankard/milk churn, and hoped this could be carried on at home. Sorry, but no. Mr Husband opted for steak, and I was happy with quite a wide range of vegetarian options, plumping for the Double Baked Parmesan and Potato Souffle.
We dined early, around 6.00pm. The restaurant was pretty quiet, which suited us, and the flow of guests started from 7.00pm, just as we were on our desserts.
Breakfast was good, and I loved the pancakes with summer berries and creme fraiche.
After every meal the boys high-tailed it to the field at the back of Cringletie that was home to their two new friends – Cappuccino and Wendy. Even as far as horses go, I really don’t think those names go together, and hearing a three year old shouting and attempting to pronounce ‘Cappuccino, Cappuccino, Cappuccino’ will never get old. At least now I can send him into Costa for me.
As well as the horses, we walked around the hotel’s Walled Garden, which is a bit of an unexpected gem. Inside it is a small play area including a trampoline. The trampoline is a little tired and the zip needs replaced, but the tots were delighted regardless. Wellies at the front door also mean that, in any weather, guests can take a walk, and on rainy days splash in muddy puddles.
Just outside Peebles, the location is rural yet just a few minutes drive from town (where there are supermarkets and facilities, as well as a cute yet bustling high street featuring independent shops and cafés). Peebles is just south of Edinburgh so it’s a fairly northern Borders town, and handy for anyone flying into Edinburgh.
We found lots to do in the vicinity – from lush Botanic Gardens and ‘haunted churches’ (abbeys) to cashmere for mummy and the best playpark in Scotland. I’ll write this up as a separate post soon.
The staff do deserve a mention at Cringletie as I noticed how attentive they were. A woman was taking a short break with her elderly mother who required a wheelchair, and over dinner the waiters asked about the places they’d visited and how the access had been. The staff were great with our boys. Cringletie is also known as an exceptionally dog-friendly hotel, and I saw the staff gregariously welcoming a dog onto the premises. In so many hotels the staff direct their attention to the adults (often the person they assume holds the wallet), but if you welcome me but ignore my kids, welcome me and ignore my mother, welcome me but ignore my dog, you haven’t welcomed all of me. The people you travel with are part of your story, and having them treated so well, and seeing others treated well, made me feel at home.
For images, prices and booking direct at Cringletie click here.
OUR STORY – We drove from Aberdeen, breaking up the journey with a £38 stay at the Kinross Travelodge on a Thursday night, before heading to the Borders and exploring all day Friday before checking into Cringletie for 2 nights. On the Sunday morning we drove direct from Peebles back to the Granite City.