Break for the border
beyond hits the high road and headers to the borders for a beautiful break at the enchanting Ednam House Hotel in Kelso.
I didn’t know a great deal about the Scottish Borders region except that it sounds fabulously romantic and it’s quicker to reach than Edinburgh. I also have a good friend from that area with the loveliest Scottish accent I’ve ever heard. So with extensive local research in the bag and a Spaniel in the boot, we set off border-bound for an overnight stay at Ednam House Hotel in Kelso, a small market town once described by Sir Walter Scott as “the most beautiful” in all of Scotland. A bold statement.
There are a few tick boxes on my list of criteria for a successful mini-break with the Springer. Proximity – he never complains but starts to look understandably pitiful about three hours in; quick access to sizeable outside space, to stretch his legs and appease my guilt, and no cream carpets. I’m very happy to report that Ednam House delivered on all counts.
The elegant Georgian hotel built in 1761 is located off the main street in Kelso so no messing about or lengthy sat nav wrangling. We arrived late afternoon in early July and after a quick and easy check in, we picked up a drink from the Lounge Bar on our way to the outside lawn on the other side of the hotel. Three acres of riverside gardens to be precise, an unexpectedly impressive view of the river Tweed and two gins, so we were all in our element.
Ednam House would be an amazing backdrop for a wedding or the perfect venue for conferences or business meetings, there’s super-fast wi-fi, naturally, and the hotel has a dedicated wedding co-ordinator and events team to help with the finer details.
There are 33 individually designed bedrooms and ours was light-filled, fabulously spacious and enjoying the same wonderful view of the river as the gardens. Original plasterwork, fine furnishings and antique furniture provide the old world charm while a wide screen TV, complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities, a king-size bed garnished with the finest cotton linen and a huge bathroom deliver on comfort, convenience and luxury.
Dinner was served in the Riverside Restaurant, with its highly coveted AA rosette for culinary excellence, an enviable wine list and more of that incredible panoramic view. The menu showcases the best local produce and impressive gastronomy skills. Seduced, and not for the first time, by a twice baked cheese soufflé starter followed with mains of pan roast trout and roast rack of lamb and a great bottle of red, we were spoilt with delicious fare expertly created and knowledgably served. Breakfast the next morning, also taken in the restaurant, was equally delightful, the highlight for me being the porridge, the morning banter and did I mention the view!
Time for a little recce of our surroundings. Sitting within the boundaries of the historic county of Roxburghshire, Kelso lies at the junction of the rivers Tweed and Teviot. The large cobbled square is guarded by elegant Georgian and Victorian buildings, many housing independent speciality shops.
From agricultural shows and antique fairs to motor rallies and sports competitions, the Kelso annual calendar is crammed full of events and worth checking before you plan a trip. Whether your thing is local history, natural landscapes or more high energy activities such as rough-riding world-class bike trails, it is likely this area of astounding beauty has something to offer. However, typically, our hearts’ desire led us straight to a lovely coffee shop for a couple of takeout macchiatos and a proper mooch around the square with our four legged dafty before reluctantly packing up and heading home.
Ednam House is not super-modern and sleek, thank goodness, and personified, would almost definitely wear tweed, smoke a pipe and tell fanciful tales of yesteryear in the Borders.
It is characterful yet straightforward, clean but not over-polished and we loved it for that. The team genuinely greet you as though not for the first time which gives the hotel a fantastically laid-back air and a generosity of spirit not to be underestimated. Simply put, Ednam House offers the very best kind of warm Scottish hospitality in a stunning setting, they like dogs and if they did have any cream carpets, they probably wouldn’t be precious about them. It’s a cool old place.