Take a look around Cringletie House, an elegant boutique hotel that’s perfect for a luxury getaway in the Scottish Borders.
Some luxury hotels feel like you are staying in a well-off friend’s smart home. But Cringletie House is something quite different.
There’s no mistaking that this is an ancestral home with a long and rich history. Once inside the grand entrance, the hotel oozes luxury wherever you look.
Cringletie House is situated in the Scottish Borders, a short drive from the town of Peebles. I was invited to visit this former baronial home recently, and loved the warm welcome and elegant surroundings.
The History of Cringletie House
The first Cringletie House was built around 1666 by Sir Alexander Murray of Black Barony. It sat on the same location as the current house, but at that time was surrounded by thousands of acres of grounds.
The male members of the Murray family were mainly army officers, and in 1759, the family name changed to Wolfe Murray in honour of a colleague who fell at one of the battles of Quebec.
The house remained the family seat of the Wolfe Murray family until 1860. At this point, the house was pulled down and a new house designed by the Scottish architect David Bryce.
When one of the Wolfe Murray daughters married Sir George Henry Sutherland in 1904, the house was leased to them. However the Murrays retained ownership until 1941, when it passed to the Sutherlands.
Financial reasons forced the sale of Cringletie House when Colonel Sutherland died in 1962. And at this time the estate was divided into lots and sold off.
The carpet that is seen in the hall and staircase is a tribute to the history of the House and its prior inhabitants. It is a mix of the Murray and Sutherland tartans, created by McKay in Durham.
How to find Cringletie House
Cringletie House lies about 3 miles from the town of Peebles, and it’s easiest to reach the hotel by road.
You may be starting your journey from either Glasgow or Edinburgh, both of which are served by international airports. Flights land regularly from airports around the UK and overseas.
You can easily drive to Cringletie House from either of these cities, or indeed from further south in the UK. The drive from Glasgow to the hotel will take around 1 hour 15 minutes, and it takes about 45 minutes to drive there from Edinburgh.
There isn’t a convenient train station, but if you need to travel by public transport, then there are regular bus services from Edinburgh which pass by the bottom of the hotel’s driveway.
My own journey took me from Shropshire up to Scotland on the M6 and M74. After leaving the motorway at Junction 15, I then followed the Scenic Route to Edinburgh before turning off down smaller roads towards Peebles.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in my favour, and although I was on the scenic route, dense fog prevented me seeing much of the scenery. In fact, at times I could barely see further than 5 metres in front of me!
You enter Cringletie House through an imposing doorway into the entrance hall below.
The bespoke tartan carpet, artwork on the walls, and abundant woodwork all speak to the pedigree and history of this building. And the scent of a warming fire lingers in the air, making it feel cosy and welcoming as well.
Unlike many country house hotels, Cringletie House has a good sized lift which will take you up to rooms on the first and second floor. It usually to see a country house that has been made so accessible, however you’ll need to use stairs from there onwards if your room is on the top floor of the house.
So after checking in, which takes place in a small private office, I was taken up to my room. All of the rooms are named after local towns and landmarks, and I would be staying in Kelso.
The Kelso Suite
Kelso is one of Cringletie House’s three junior suites. It sits on the first floor of the hotel, down a small corridor that leads off from the hotel’s restaurant.
These are the hotel’s largest bedrooms, which all come with either king-size four poster or joined Superking beds.
I was really impressed by the bed in my room, which was one of the most comfortable hotel beds that I’ve ever slept in.
Soft, snuggly feather pillows and duvet are supplied as standard, but you can request hypo-allergenic alternatives and a mattress topper when booking.
And there’s a cuddly friend waiting to welcome you to your room. These cute teddy bears add a friendly touch to the room, and can be adopted by paying an additional fee at Reception!
I loved the calming neutrals of the colour scheme in the Kelso suite, which gave the room a refined air.
The room has period features like high ceilings and a beautiful fireplace. And the imposing window which looks out over the gardens at the front of Cringletie House.
And the furniture is all in keeping with the stylish period decor throughout the hotel. I loved this desk/dressing table that sat in the corner of the room.
The room is well equipped with high speed WiFi, a Smart TV/Radio9, and an iPod docking station. There’s even a small pile of novels that you can relax with in your room!
The hospitality tray included a selection of teas and coffee options, as well as some delicious chocolate cookies.
Or you could make yourself an invigorating espresso using the Nespresso machine and pods provided in Junior Suites and the Selkirk Suite..
My room also had complimentary bottles of still and sparkling mineral water.
And if you’re staying in a Junior Suite or the Selkirk suite, you can also enjoy a complimentary nip of whisky for a touch of extra luxury.
The room has a decent sized ensuite bathroom, with classic pristine white furniture. A large mirror along one wall helps to reflect additional light into the room, making it seem larger and brighter.
There’s a bath with overhead shower, and complimentary Arran Aromatics toiletries. These are in large bottles rather than the individual sizes, which I love as it cuts down on unnecessary use of plastics.
Soft towelling robes and slippers are also provided. Altogether, the Kelso junior suite is a luxurious, comfortable and elegant room.
Prices for a junior suite start from £200 for two people mid-week on a room only basis.
After I’d settled in, I was invited to take a look around some of the hotel’s other rooms.
Luxury Bedrooms at Cringletie House
Every room at Cringletie House has its own individual decor and sense of character. But all of them have some things in common.
They all have super comfy beds like the one that I enjoyed in the Kelso Suite, and tea and coffee making facilities. And each room has a seating area with either a sofa or two chairs.
The room above is Eddleston, one of the hotel’s Classic rooms which are available with twin, double or superking beds. This charming room is on the top floor of the house, and the sloping ceiling gives it a cosy feel.
This is Stobo, another of the Classic rooms but this time with a Superking bed. I love the rich red tones in the colour scheme, which gives it a very luxurious feel.
A night in a Classic room at Cringletie House starts from £120 on a room only basis.
And I was impressed by the hotel’s master suite, Selkirk, which has a very elegant cream and blue colour scheme.
The bedroom has a beautiful four poster bed and pretty dressing table. The map on the wall shows the location of the town from which the room takes its name.
The suite is beautifully decorated, and has pretty blue and white drapes hanging at the windows.
As with the Junior Suite that I stayed in, this suite is equipped with a Nespresso machine. There are also regular tea and coffee making facilities, and a complimentary nip of whisky is also provided.
The ensuite bathroom has a double ended jacuzzi bath, as well as a large walk in shower and twin basins. There’s also a built in TV so you can watch the box while you soak!
And the separate lounge has a comfy sofa and armchair as well as a desk and a large flat screen TV.
A night in the beautiful Selkirk Suite costs from £220 on a room only basis. It would be perfect for a special anniversary or a romantic mini-moon.
Unfortunately, I was unable to see the hotel’s accessible Junior Suite, which was occupied on the night that I visited. The hotel prides itself on being highly accessible, and has won awards for this. The accessible suite is specially designed to be beautiful as well as practical.
A look around Cringletie House
I still had a little while before dinner, so I decided to take a look around the rest of the hotel.
The hotel’s first floor bar is a cosy little room with a fireplace, wooden floor and leather tub seats. Heavy floor length curtains hang at the windows.
The bar is stocked with a good selection of whiskys, gins and other spirits, as well as wines, beers and soft drinks.
The Maguire Lounge
The Maguire Lounge is also on the first floor, and is the perfect place to sit and relax with a drink.
The large, imposing fireplace is a key focal point for the room, while the large window with its distinctive drapes looks out over the grounds.
This room is also perfect for after dinner coffee and drinks at the end of the evening.
The Garden Room
The final sitting room in Cringletie House is the Garden Room, which leads onto the hotel’s conservatory. This has a small bar in the corner, and plenty of assorted seating.
You’ll also find this room on the ground floor of the hotel. And as the name suggests, it looks out over the hotel’s gardens as well as leading through to the conservatory.
I returned to my room through the hotel’s dining room. And as the sun set over the Scottish Borders, it was time to get ready for dinner.
Dining at Cringletie House
The hotel’s restaurant is a large, grand room with large windows and dark wood furniture. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in here, as well as afternoon tea.
I didn’t try the afternoon tea, but there are various options available. These include afternoon tea with champagne, a savoury afternoon tea, or even afternoon tea with an added nip of Glenkinchie whisky!
Afternoon tea starts from £37 for two people, click here for more information on afternoon tea.
And I couldn’t help but be impressed by the stunning ceiling in the restaurant!
An artist was commissioned to paint the ceiling in celebration of the marriage between Elizabeth Wolf Murray and Sir George Sutherland in 1904. The design is based on an Italian painting, and features the couple’s monogram.
After changing for dinner, I made my way back through to the dining room and was quickly seated by the friendly waitress.
The low-lit dining room was now illuminated by candles on every table. Gentle music played in the background, and although there was no fire lit in the fireplace, the subtle scent of wood hung in the air.
Each table also had silver salt and pepper pots, and a little silver dome covering small pats of plain and lemon butter. It was an elegant setting, befitting a house of this age.
After I’d made my choice from the menu, some delicious fresh wholemeal bread was brought to my table. I really enjoyed this with the lightly whipped lemon butter.
The restaurant has a good selection of wines available both by the bottle and by glass, although I was sticking to water this evening. I was offered a choice of sliced fresh fruits to flavour my water, if I wished.
An amuse-bouche soon turned up on my table – a delicious bon-bon of black pudding served with a red onion chutney. It had a delicate texture and great flavour, and was a tasty start to the meal that followed.
Staff glided in and out of the room as if on rails, attending to tables quietly and efficiently. I was dining alone, and was asked if I’d like a newspaper to read while I eat. I think that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me, and it felt like a thoughtful touch.
Cringletie House’s restaurant focuses heavily on local produce, including fish and meat from the Scottish Borders, Tweedale Valley venison and bakery from the local town of Peebles.
And where possible, they also use produce from the hotel’s own 400 year old walled gardens and the 28 acres of grounds.
My starter was a work of art on a plate. The firm cubes of beetroot cured salmon had a fabulous taste and texture. Alongside were pickled beetroot and apple, a crisp piece of salty salmon skin, apple puree and best of all, a quenelle of beetroot sorbet.
This was perfectly smooth and its sweet flavour really complemented the cured salmon. I found myself wondering whether I could ask for more beetroot sorbet for dessert…
Other options for the first course included potted Orkney crab with avocado puree and pink grapefruit, and butternut squash beignets with mint scented creme fraiche.
I have to admit that I struggled to photograph my main course, due to the artistic plating. It looked gorgeous when presented in front of me, but I found it hard to do it justice with my camera.
I had opted for the Tweed Valley ribeye steak, but other options included loin of Tweed Valley venison served with a venison haggis bonbon, and a roast loin of Border pork with five spice pork belly and a black pudding croquette.
I changed my mind several times before settling on the beef, and was very happy with my decision when it arrived.
The incredibly tender beef was pan-roasted and served beautifully medium rare. On top of the steak was an ox cheek ragout and an oyster mushroom, each packed full of big, meaty flavours.
And alongside sat a selection of fresh, delicate vegetables and tender duck fat potatoes. A tarragon-scented jus completed this plate of perfectly cooked food.
And my dessert was equally satisfying, a rich dark chocolate marquise. It was served with redcurrants and a praline crisp, and although you can’t see it in this photo, a refreshing yoghurt sorbet sits out of view behind the marquise.
The menu also included a millefeuille of blood orange served alongside sorbet and posset flavoured with the same fruit, and a brioche coated baked apple with creme anglaise and cinnamon ice cream.
My chocolate dessert was a delicious way to end my meal, and afterwards I headed into the Maguire Lounge for coffee.
I sat by the roaring fire to enjoy a petit-four of soft, creamy home-made vanilla fudge with my coffee.
Every part of my meal was utterly delicious, with the high quality of the local produce really shining through. The vintage glamour of the hotel’s dining room in the evening lends a special atmosphere to the meal.
I have to say that I would have preferred a crisp white linen tablecloth on the table. But that’s my personal preference and a minor wrinkle in what was otherwise an excellent evening.
My meal was complimentary as part of this review, but the three course table d’hote menu usually costs £42.50 per person. That price includes coffee and petit fours, and I think it represents excellent value.
The next morning, I awoke after a really fabulous night’s sleep in the Kelso Suite. That comfy bed, with its soft feather pillows and duvet, felt like a comforting warm cocoon.
I’d happily have slept in for longer, but instead I reluctantly left my bed and got ready for breakfast.
Breakfast is served in the dining room, and I chose a table in front of one of the large windows, looking out over the gardens.
I picked my cooked breakfast from the delicious menu, ordered some toast and coffee, and went to take a look through the cold options.
Cringletie House offers an excellent choice for breakfast, and you could easily feast on the cold buffet alone.
There are fresh breads and baked goods from the bakery in Peebles, with a variety of jams and marmelades. Fresh fruit, fruit salad, and yoghurt are available, as well as a range of cereals to choose from.
And a chiller cabinet holds a selection of meats, fish and cheese.
Over breakfast, I also had a brief chat with the new owners of the hotel, who were due to take ownership of the hotel on the Monday following my visit. It was really interesting to speak to them and I look forward to seeing their plans for the hotel develop.
After a short while, my cooked breakfast turned up. The menu had several delicious choices including a full cooked breakfast featuring the hotel’s own recipe of sausage, and soft scrambled eggs with an Arbroath smokie (I had already tried these when I visited Arbroath back in 2017!).
So instead I decided to go for one of Cringletie House’s signature pancake stacks. A sweet version is available for those with sweet tooth first thing in the morning, but I picked the savoury option.
Light, fluffy pancakes are layered up with grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, and crisp salty bacon. Then a perfect poached egg sits on top, ready to reveal its golden runny yolk.
This felt a little lighter than a cooked breakfast, and was an imaginative start to the day. It was also utterly delicious!
After a second pot of coffee (the coffee at Cringletie House is really good!), I decided to take a stroll around the grounds.
A look around the Grounds at Cringletie House
Cringletie House overlooks the beautiful Scottish Borders and is surrounded by 28 acres of grounds. You can take a wander where the fancy takes you, or follow one of the signposted trails that are provided.
Directly in front of the hotel lies this lovely formal garden, and to the side of the garden you will find a pathway that takes you into the woods.
The woods in front of Cringletie House are a beautiful place to explore at any time of year.
But I was particularly fortunate to be visiting in the middle of the snowdrop season. For several weeks from early February onwards, you’ll be able to see the ground swathed in a carpet of these gorgeous tiny white flowers. It’s a glorious hint of the warmer months to come.
The Walled Garden
Cringletie House also has a gorgeous walled garden, which dates back over 400 years.
There are long borders filled with espalier trees and flowering shrubs, and some of the produce from this garden is used in the hotel’s restaurant.
And I love the long formal hedges that run through the centre of the garden.
Even in winter, the walled garden is a beautiful place to relax. It even has a small children’s playground to entertain the hotel’s younger guests.
Things to do near Cringletie House
If you’re staying at Cringletie House, you’ll find that there are lots of things to do in the Scottish Borders.
Even the drive to the house is worth a mention, as it takes you through exceptionally beautiful countryside. The Scottish Borders may not be as well known as other tourist destinations in Scotland, like the Highlands or the islands off the West Coast. But the scenery is beautiful!
About 11 miles south-west of Cringletie House, you will find Dawyck Botanic Garden near the town of Stobo. This is a beautiful botanic garden and arboretum which covers 65 acres, and has some amazing specimens including giant California Redwood trees.
The garden is also renowned for its seasonal displays of flowers such as snowdrops and bluebells, and forms part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Heading westwards from Cringletie House, you’ll find that Melrose Abbey lies around 25 miles away.
These famous ruins of a Cistercian monastery date back to the 12th century and are well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Or if you love visiting grand stately homes, then why not pop along to Floors Castle on the outskirts of Kelso. You can spend hours exploring the castle and grounds, and enjoy lunch in the cafe.
The castle lies 35 miles west of Cringletie House, and RHS members can take advantage of free entry on Tuesdays.
And Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, is just 20 miles away from the hotel. I would definitely recommend spending a few days in the city and then heading to Cringletie House for some rest and relaxation afterwards!
Cringletie House: My review
Cringletie House is a luxury hotel on a grand scale. Although the number of rooms is small, the period architecture and luxurious decor leaves you in no doubt that you are staying in a historic stately home.
And yet from the moment you step inside, the hotel’s friendly staff will make you feel welcome and comfortable. The cosy atmosphere puts you instantly at ease, and the delicious food only serves to make you feel even more at home.
I loved my stylish suite, with thoughtful details like the super-comfy bedding and the high quality coffee facilities.
Yes, there was a little noise around the hours of dinner service, due to the room’s proximity to the hotel’s kitchen. But this was not a major issue. If this is likely to disturb you, I would recommend paying a little more and booking into the gorgeous Selkirk Suite if it’s available
If you are looking for a relaxing luxury getaway in the Scottish borders, then Cringletie House is the perfect place to escape to!
Cringletie House Hotel