One of the things we love most about living in Scotland is that you don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re miles away from home. Being near Perth gives us such varied options. Within a ninety minute drive we have options of mountains, beaches, cities and small market towns. All offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of life.
It had been a while since we visited Lanarkshire, so when we were invited for a wee one night stay in Biggar we jumped at the chance. We moved from a market town in Herefordshire, so we have a soft spot for them.
The Elphinstone Hotel
We knew we were going to be arriving in Biggar when it was dark. The darkness now setting in about 16:30/17:00 we like to cram what we can into the day (I will be sharing that with you in another post). The Elphinstone Hotel was easy enough to find on the high street but we were too late to get a parking spot directly outside. It wasn’t a problem though, there was also space across the road (which we were assured was okay to park).
It had been a cold and wet day so we were pleased to be back indoors. The heat from the roaring fire in the lounge hit us as soon as we walked in, along with the warm welcome from the staff.
Armed with our room key we headed off up the stairs. Dude and I have this ongoing joke that we always seem to have to walk miles to any hotel room we book. It’s obviously not a bad thing but wouldn’t you know it, room 9 is at the farthest end of the corridor.
The room was huge for just the two of us. A family room: double bed plus bunk beds and large bathroom. All the drawers and wardrobe space a family would need when staying for a few days. Us, on the other hand, for an over night stay didn’t need to even unpack (lazy, I know).
With our stomachs now rumbling we showered, changed and headed back down the corridor and stairs for dinner. Our table had already been reserved, right next to the open fire. Perfect.
The hotel is clearly popular with locals for eating out too, which is always a good sign. Thursday night happened to be a steak night offer, two steaks and a bottle of red wine for £35. Alongside a Specials menu and a rather extensive “normal” menu.
I get quite overwhelmed by too much choice, so decided to stick to the normal menu.
To start I chose deep fried brie with cranberry and a wee side salad. Followed by a burger with blue cheese and chips. For dessert, for me only one choice: mint choc chip ice cream. Dude chose a starter of a good classic Cullen skink. Then chicken topped with haggis and a peppercorn sauce and then followed my suit with ice cream.To be fair we probably shouldn’t have indulged in the ice-cream, but it’s my favourite. It’s also a well known fact that women have a separate stomach, especially for puddings!
Now warm and content by the fire we relaxed and enjoyed the evening.
Early to bed, early to rise.
Although there were two televisions in the room, we didn’t use them. Choosing to read our books and unwind some more. I find it much easier to read when we are away from the distractions (mainly Netflix) at home.
The double bed was comfy and we slept well, only waking once in the night to turn the radiators down some more! We were roasting. Not at all used to this warmth at home in our old, drafty house. Not a bad thing for most folk.
Next morning we were surprised to see the beautiful blue sky when I drew back the curtains. At closer inspection, it appeared we had had a frost; which was most surprising considering the amount of rain we had the day before. We were eager to get out and explore. First, breakfast.
It seems that the Elphinstone Hotel are good at generous portions. If you are off out into the hills for the day then the full Scottish breakfast here will serve you well. A choice of bacon, lorne or link sausage, mushrooms, baked beans, tattie scone, black pudding, toast and I’m sure their were more options! Dude had a variation of this and scoffed the lot.
I was still quite full from the night before and so I asked for a lorne roll with brown sauce. Paired with a cup of coffee, that was me sorted.
We said our goodbye’s to the morning staff at the hotel and stepped out in to the bright daylight and crisp air. It was just after 9am and the town was already a hive of activity.
Like I mentioned earlier, we had lived in a small market town in Herefordshire for nearly ten years before we moved to Perthshire. The one mile long high street, lined with beautiful independent shops – florists, bakery, coffee shops, haberdashery and three butchers.
Biggar is another great example where the High Street is end to end of independent shops. I’m lead to believe that several new businesses have popped up in recent months and are already thriving. Which is obviously fabulous to hear. With Christmas coming up it’s a great place to find something a bit different for a loved one (and support a local business).
After wandering around and perusing the shops we found ourselves walking toward the golf course and a looped, way-marked trail. Excellent views of the rolling hills that surround the town and of the golf course where some hardy folk were out playing.
The geese in neighbouring fields provided the soundtrack to our walk too. Honk, honk.
We spoke to a couple of locals who were out walking their dogs along the trail. Blethering about the weather, our stay and where we had travelled from. I love this about Scotland, talking to strangers is normal and not uncomfortable at all.
After standing about talking, we were a little bit cold so it was a good excuse for a hot chocolate in one of the coffee shops. Filled with locals; elderly couples come in to read the papers, a business meeting (paperwork and laptop gave it away), friends catching up with one another and us.
There is a museum in the town too, which sadly we didn’t get around to seeing. A puppet theatre too which is just off the main street. If cycling is your thing then there are some lovely quiet roads and hills that will get your blood pumping.
Within a short drive away there is also New Lanark Visitor Centre.
This was a wee one night stay in Biggar for us but rest assured we will be back. I don’t think we have seen everything the town can offer. The photographs in the hotel of the Biggar Bonfire for Hogmanay looks like quite the experience. The Elphinstone Hotel couldn’t be more central for any stay in this cute town but you will definitely need a larger waistband for it’s kind hospitality.
*We were invited to stay at the Elphinstone Hotel on a complimentary basis, in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts on elasticated waistbands and talking to strangers are my own.