The ultimate autumn staycation: 12 B&Bs with Wolsey Lodges
- 16 September 2020
- Travel Guide
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There’s more to Scotland than you can possibly imagine – and wherever you choose to go there’s a Wolsey Lodge. These premium B&Bs are uniquely placed to help you make the best of your visit: your hosts are all experts in their region and can advise – if required – the very best things to see and do. Let them guide you to their homes.
Start at the top. Blervie House is a wonderful B&B overlooking the Moray Firth. Thanks to the Gulf Stream this is the third-sunniest region in the whole UK – making Moray’s deserted beaches even more enticing. Blervie House is set in 272 of it’s own acres: 45 are gardens, the rest gently wooded. There are 12 guest bedrooms but loads of space, making this the perfect place for relaxing in a stately home and imagining it was always yours. There are several reception rooms including a billiard room and library.
Blervie House is easy to get to, with the well-connected airport at Inverness only 30 minutes away by car. And while it would be tempting to make the most of Blervie itself there’s plenty to do in the area. There are miles of glorious beaches, deserted apart from the resident seals, and countless small harbours and inlets to visit. Inland there are whisky distilleries, golf courses and National Parks and nature reserves on every side. It’s also bang on the NC500 route, a 500-mile road trip plan around Scotland’s northwest. Plan lots of time for your stay here – there’s more to do than you’ll ever fit in.
Aberdeen is another well-connected airport, and this is the closest of you’re flying to Lys-Na-Greyne.
And it’s well worth braving the airport. This is another palace, with six guest bedrooms, all en-suite, and one even has a balcony. The extensive grounds lead down to the River Dee, and fishing can be arranged with evening courses available for beginners.
Around Lys-Na-Greyne there’s plenty to fill your days. In the stunning Cairngorm National Park you’ll find an abundance of walks and wildlife: whether you’re into walking, shooting or mountain biking there is plenty to do and see. Many cultural highlights include Balmoral Castle, Royal Lochnagar whisky distillery, Dunnottar and Braemar Castles, National Trust properties include Crathes, Drum and many more, conveniently grouped along a Castle Trail. It’s walking distance to Aboyne, a lovely Royal Deeside village, especially lively during the summer festival season.
Head down towards Edinburgh – which, as Scotland’s Capital, is well-served by air – and you’ll find three very different Wolsey Lodges.
South of Dundee and deep in the very rural Lindores Estate, Woodmill House is a stately home where the main business is preparing and perfecting estate game for Scotland’s top restaurants and delicatessens. There is a wing that’s kept for B&B guests, and very stylish it is too. Woodmill House is tucked away in the corner of North-East Fife in a part of the country recognised by Scottish National Heritage as a ‘Special Landscape Area’.
Edinburgh Airport is 45 minutes away, while Perth, Dundee and Kirkcaldy are all within half an hour’s drive. Ladybank Golf Course is 4 miles away, Lindores Abbey Distillery is even closer and there are countless opportunities to go Loch fishing or deer stalking. Woodmill House is within half an hour’s drive of St Andrews with its golf course and beaches.
Closer to Kirkcaldy and you’ll get a warm reception at Greenhead Farm. It’s a relaxing working farm with dogs around: think Aga rather than induction. Your hosts here run the surrounding farm but love the land and region and are authorities on the Glenrothes area’s history. Well, he is. She is a keen gardener, and excellent host and (more usefully) an expert cook.
From here it’s an easy drive to St Andrews, Gleneagles or Muirfield as well as the cities of Edinburgh, Perth or Stirling – recently acclaimed as the happiest city in the UK. Alternatively, just settle in by an open log fire and maybe, tomorrow, plan a long walk in the the Lomond Hills. Or, given the home comforts, perhaps not. There are walks from the door.
Skirt around Edinburgh for a while and head instead to the East Lothian coast. This is a wild and wonderful region, full of birdlife, wind and waves. Tucked just in from the coast and you’ll find The Dean, a charming and deceptively spacious property beautifully decorated in homage to Scotland’s Arts and Crafts tradition. It’s five minutes walk to the coast. The local beaches are wild and unspoiled with a mix of sands and rockpools to guddle about in.
The sandy beaches of Seacliff and North Berwick are also in easy reach. You couldn’t get much closer to a golf course – the prestigious Longniddry Golf Club’s sixth hole is right next door – but even more famous courses such as Muirfield are just a few minutes away by car. The area is steeped in history, with stately homes including Gosford and Lennoxlove, and museums including the Museum of Flight at nearby Haddington. The village of Longniddry, with its pub, restaurant and railway station, is five minutes walk away, while Edinburgh Airport is a 30-minute drive.
There are reasons not to stay in Edinburgh itself, but offhand I can only think of one. And that’s the difficulty of finding anywhere to park. If that’s an obstacle 23 Mayfield have that covered: they have off-street parking and you can get about on foot. 23 Mayfield is almost in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat and close to central Edinburgh. Within a mile you can reach many places such as Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament and Princes Street, lined with the city’s best shops and restaurants. Edinburgh Airport is 25 minutes away by car, while Waverley Station is within walking distance, even with luggage. If you’re wanting a city stay in Edinburgh this is absolutely the place to be.
23 Mayfield isn’t all about location; it’s also an atmospheric place to stay. Downstairs is all leather chesterfield sofas, board games and a selection of malts from an honesty bar. The garden is a charming oasis in the summer while in winter the dining room is particularly enchanting as breakfast is served by the flickering light of candelabras that adorn every table.
Head west towards Glasgow, stop half-way and you’ll be pretty much ready for a night at Cardross.
This was built as a tower house to oversee marauding bandits but now is very much more welcoming, a truly baronial home. There are two guest bedrooms in the main house but a whole range of restored farm buildings scattered around the estate, all of which offer self-catering accommodation. As the Cardross dining hall can seat 16 without making anyone feel squashed so major reunions could take place here.
Cardross is located at Kippen, by Stirling in Stirlingshire offering easy access from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth and making this an ideal B&B accommodation location for Wolsey Lodge guests wishing to explore both east and west coast attractions, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. There are wonderful castles at Stirling and Doune, historic Bannockburn, the Wallace Monument to visit, and magnificent mountains to climb.
South Lanarkshire is often overlooked by travelers rushing north or south. This is a shame, as it’s an area with a lot to offer. Stop off at Braefield just outside the market town of Biggar and you might find out why. Braefield is just 15 minutes from the M74 motorway, while nearby Biggar is on the A702, the main route to Edinburgh from the south. But it’s far more than a simple stop-off on the way to the Highlands. From the B&B it’s an hour’s drive to either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Biggar is a busy, thriving market town four miles away that is full of excellent small businesses and places to eat, while it’s a half hour drive to Peebles, a gorgeous Borders market town on the Tweed that is also home to Glentress, with its bike trails and canopy adventures. The World Heritage site of New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde are nearby. There are great walks from the door and some of Scotland’s best fishing is a few hundred yards away on the Clyde, with day trout licenses available.
If you’re old enough, you’ll know that Gretna Green was traditionally where eloping couples crossed over the border to make impulse marriages and defy disapproving parents. It’s a shame that West Barmofitty Farm wasn’t built at the time, as it would have been a lovely place for a honeymoon. Hand-built by its current owners (who lived in a caravan through the build) it’s a stunning contemporary dwelling set in its own re-wilding farm. West Barmoffity Farm is perfectly placed to explore a beautiful part of Scotland.
Dumfries and Galloway has 200 miles of coastline, with great beaches, and there are castles at Threave, Caerlaverock and Drumlanrig. There’s art at the McGill Duncan Gallery in Castle Douglas and Kircudbright is forging a reputation as an artist’s town. There are walks from your door, with the farm’s own pond attracting mallard, teal, canada geese, grey lag geese, oyster catchers, lapwings and mute swans.
You know where Scotland is. Now you have at least 8 new reasons to visit. So the question must be.. what are you waiting for?