A WEEKEND IN THE SCOTTISH BORDERS
The first trip away with our newborn, Peebles, woodland walks, a 7-course dinner and a night of luxury
Being from the North of England we are lucky enough to be under an hour away from the England/Scotland border. Given we are so close it made sense for this to be our first night away with our 10-week old daughter. We set off and drove the 2-hour car journey to a small Scottish town called Peebles.
Peebles is a picturesque town 50 minutes from Edinburgh which straddles the River Tweed. Peebles is a market town and offers activities for the whole family including fishing, cycling, shopping, Neidpath castle and festivals. We managed to stumble across a strongest man competition when we were there! There are also some lovely restaurants and cafes including Green Tree restaurant, Coltman's kitchen, deli and bar (with a lovely beer garden if the weather is in your favour) and Osso. There are a number of free car parks around Peebles which you can find on Parkopedia.
Peebles Walking Routes
The Scottish Borders Council have created easy to follow walking routes, maps and guides with walks ranging from 2-13 miles. We tackled the Venlaw and Soonhope walk which was 3 miles long and took around 2 hours. This walk offers great views over a quiet valley, woodland, trees and flowers. It can be muddy if the weather isn't great and it is not pram friendly if you have little ones. We parked at the Kingsmeadows car park and came back here to find a picnic spot by the river.
We stayed at Cringletie which is a 28 acre estate 5 minutes drive from Peebles in the Scottish Borders. It is an award winning hotel holding a 2 AA rosette for their dining services with traditional rooms and a 350 year old walled garden. A stay at Cringletie is perfect for a night of luxury to celebrate a special occasion, a trip away with the family or even a wedding. The owner, Mr Cross takes great pride in his hotel and will make an effort to personally greet every one of his guests offering an above and beyond customer service experience.
We were welcomed into the hotel and our baby girl (as she is everywhere!) was instantly the centre of attention! We were shown to our room with a large king bed, seating area, Nepresso coffee machine, complimentary whisky and home-made biscuits and still and sparkling water. We settled into our room after a long day of walking and sightseeing and freshened up in time for dinner.
We sat in the grand dining hall ready for our 7-course dinner which comprised of a warm bread roll and amuse-bouche, pigeon, halibut, steak, lavender sorbet, tropical cheesecake and finished off with tea, coffee and petit fours. The food was incredible and the flavours worked perfectly together. We enjoyed the variety of the dishes and whilst the food and the presentation was of the highest standard, the friendly service and atmosphere avoided it feeling pretentious. The staff were extremely accommodating when our daughter started crying and delayed our dessert courses so we could feed and settle her. It was a truly luxurious meal and hats off to the chef.
We ended the night with a drink in the bar, a room across from the restaurant before heading back to our room to sleep. The bed was extremely comfortable and if we didn't have a 2-month old waking us up, we could have slept in happily for hours! We checked out and received a lovely and thoughtful parting gift including upcoming hotel offers, gin and shower gel which we had used during our stay.
We then decided to explore the Cringletie gardens and walled garden. There is a one mile nature trail which takes you through a woodland and you can learn about various historical elements along the way. The trail does have some hills and steps but we managed with our all-terrain pram quite easily. The walk is pleasant and easy for the whole family.
Continue around the back of the hotel and to the right you will find the walled garden. The garden dates back to 1666 and will inspire you to plant some flower, bushes and trees in your own garden. There is also a boules pitch and outdoor chess board if you're looking to let your competitive side out.
Cringletie is a little slice of heaven in the Scottish Borders and a beautiful escape in the country from the hustle and bustle of busy life.
Once we left Cringletie we travelled to the near town of Innerleithen, 20 minutes from Cringletie. Innerleithen is a small town with some beautiful walks incorporating the nearby town of Walkerburn and sits alongside the River Tweed.
We decided to do the Innerleithen and Walkerburn by the River Tweed walk which was 4 miles long. This walk is a circular route and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The walk could be pram/wheelchair friendly if you stop at the old railway bridge and turn around. The second half of the circular route takes you into livestock fields.
The town is very quaint but does have some nice cafes. We stopped at Caldwells for a delicious homemade ice cream before making our way home.
On the way back to our home town of Northumberland, we stopped at Kielder Forest and visited Hindhope Linn. We love visiting a waterfall and this seemed like an easy and picturesque stop to break up our journey home. In reality, the Linn was quite disappointing and we wished we hadn't bothered.
You can park for free at the start of the Hindhope Linn walk at Blakehopeburnhaugh Farm. The walk is approximately 1 mile but the waterfall is not much to write home about. It would be an easy walk to take children on to introduce them to nature and walking but if you're looking to really experience the beauty of Northumberland and Kielder Forest, there are a number of other beautiful walks you can enjoy.