Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

I recently met up with a delightful clowder of Cats: some other authors whose books are also published by Crooked Cat Books. We got together at The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.Cafe Royal

It was years since I had been to The Cafe Royal and I had forgotten what a popular, busy pub it is. Hidden away around the corner at the East end of Prince’s Street, it is a gem. The décor is fabulous: Victorian & Baroque, stained glass windows in the Oyster Bar and Royal Doulton ceramic tiles. The staff were friendly and attentive. The wide choice of beers and whiskys is legendary.  cafe royal inAfter we had drunk our publisher dry, but not under the table, we all ordered meals and the food was excellent. Our main courses ranged from fish to risotto, steak pie. All the choices were much enjoyed and all were very reasonably priced.

Cafe royal outWhen we arrived about 3pm the bar was quite empty: by the time we left to find a different watering hole some five hours later, The Cafe Royal was back to being the bustling bar I remembered from years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Cafe Royal. The company, the food and the drinks were all excellent, so whether you are looking for a pub to watch a rugby match or a restaurant to enjoy a meal with friends, I highly recommend Edinburgh’s Cafe Royal.

Val Penny

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The Apartment, 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland

My husband, my mother and I recently went to The Apartment, 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland for a celebration lunch together. My husband was treating us to celebrate a successful year which saw my debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ published by Crooked Cat Books with a launch date of 02.02.2018. ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is dedicated to my mother. The story is set in Edinburgh and two of the main characters live in Gillespie Crescent, just opposite The Apartment.Hunter's Chase book cover (1)

Although there were only three of us, we are not an easy group to cater for. Mum uses a wheelchair. Unfortunately for her, I am not the best wheelchair driver on the planet, but she is very gracious. Access was easy.  I am vegetarian while my husband and mother are confirmed omnivores.

We had booked a table and the staff were very helpful and kind. We were able to choose between two tables and opted for the one nearest the window. We decided against alcohol in the middle of the day, but we all had different drinks. Mum had a diet coke, I chose a soda water and lime while my husband asked for a ginger beer.The Apartment Outside

Mum did not have a starter, but my husband chose the traditional Scotch Broth soup. I went for the pear, blue cheese and walnut salad. We were both delighted with our choices. The menu is not huge, but it is a carefully chosen mix of meats, fish and vegetarian dishes to suit all tastes. I always feel pleased when I have genuine choices: at The Apartment, I did.

The omnivores both chose the rib-eye steaks for their main courses. Mum requested hers be cooked ‘medium’ while my husband wanted his ‘medium rare’. Apparently both were perfectly cooked. They both seemed to enjoy their main courses. My husband’s only complaint was that there was parmasan cheese on his salad. He believes this to be the cheese of the devil! I chose a halloumi, sweet potato and pepper skewer for my main course. It was served with a beetroot coleslaw, green salad and another side. I chose fires. The beetroot coleslaw sounds strange, but tastes delicious. I highly recommend it.The Apartment Food

Neither Mum nor I could manage a pudding, we shared a plate of truffles. They were tiny but tasty. A delicious end to the meal with a fine coffee. My husband chose the chocolate brownie. This was served warm with a bitter fruit couli cutting the sweetness of the chocolate and a fine vanilla icecream. My husband is very fussy about his coffee, but not even he could find anything to complain about with his Americano.

The service was flawless. This was a first visit to The Apartment for all of us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it, so it will certainly not be our last.

‘Hunter’s Chase’ is available to order from Amazon.

mybook.to/HuntersChase

Val Penny

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Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, High Maybole Rd, Alloway, Ayr, Scotland

I went to visit Alloway with my friend Anna. We stopped for coffee and cake at the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, High Maybole Rd, Alloway, Ayr, Scotland. The Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, is set on the banks of the River Doon and across from the Burns Memorial Gardens. We took the opportunity to visit the beautiful gardens before stopping in at this tranquil hotel.Burns museum

The Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, is situated in an ivy-covered house is a 6-minute walk from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. We took a self-guided tour of the property Robert Burns grew up in, Burns Cottage,  as well as a visit to the museum that houses his manuscripts, books, many artefacts and artwork. Burns Cottage, was the first home of Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet and radical thinker. It is located in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland. It was built by his father, William Burness in 1757. Burns is acknowledged as Scotland’s national poet. He was born there on 25 January 1759.Burns Cottage

After our visits in the town of Alloway, Anna and I decided to look for somewhere to stop brig-o-doon outfor afternoon coffee and cake. We were delighted to find the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel, its fine-dining restaurant offers traditional Scottish cuisine, and panoramic views of the gardens and river. The hotel also retains exclusive fishing rights on the river for its guests. Other amenities include landscaped gardens, event facilities and limited parking, but coffee and cake sufficed for us. brig-o-doon entrance

The entrance is beautiful and in the lobby and fire added to the warmth of the surroundings. We so enjoyed curling up in the comfortable armchairs whiling the afternoon away. The coffees were delicious. Anna had a cappuccino, while I opted for a decaf latte. The cakes were fresh and tasty. Anna had an individual bakewell tart, while I had a slice brig o doon insideof apple pie. The service provided by the staff was excellent.

There was a wedding taking place the day we were there. Nevertheless, the service for us was still excellent. We were not made to feel unwanted or in the way at all. The only brig o doon roomsdisadvantage to the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel is that the access for those with mobility issues is poor. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel and we hope to visit there again.

 

Val Penny

 

 

1745 Cottage Restaurant, Traquair House, Traquair, Innerleithen

I had lived within 40 miles of Traquair House at Traquair, Innerleithen, Scotland, for many years, but had never visited it. So, earlier this year, My friend Anna and I took time out to visit Traquair House and we had lunch in its 1745 Cottage Restaurant. The date in the name of the restaurant refers to the Jacobite rising of 1745 was the unsuccessful attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the males of the House of Stuart.traquair house

Traquair House is Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. Throughout its history it has been visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens. The house dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. Traquair House was originally a royal hunting lodge, and played host to Mary Queen of Scots. Later as staunch Catholics they supported the Jacobite cause without counting the cost.traquair 1745

Now, in its grounds, there is a maze, a selection of craft workshops, a brewery and the 1745 Cottage Restaurant. traquair 1745 in

The 1745 Cottage Restaurant is situated separately from the main house. It is picturesque outside but spotlessly clean inside. Internally, the restaurant combines traditional features and modern cleanliness. For lunch, I chose the leek and potato soup. It was home made, but lacked seasoning. I was a bit disappointed by it. Anna made the better choice. She thoroughly enjoyed her homemade tomato and basil soup. Certainly the portions were generous and the rolls served with it, although they did not look homemade, were fresh and tasty.traquair 1745 inside

After our soup, we were served a selection of freshly made sandwiches. Again, there were plenty of them. There were prawn, tuna salad, ham and tomato, egg mayonnaise, cheese ans cheese savoury sandwiches washed down with a pot of strong tea. or coffee. We enjoyed the sandwich selsction very much. Also the service at the 1745 Cottage Restaurant was polite and friendly. The restrooms were spotlessly clean and the restaurant offers good access for those with moblity issues. We were pleasantly surprised by the price, too.

If you have a chance to visit the house and gorunds of Traquair House, I am sure you will find it interesting, and I recommend the 1745 Cottage Restaurant. Anna and I enjoyed our meals.

Val Penny

 

 

Peebles Hydro,Innerleithen Rd, Peebles, Scotland

Peebles Hydro outsideI have always enjoyed visits to the Peebles Hydro. It is a beautiful building in marvelous rolling countryside, indeed, the Peebles Hydro that is there now was built in the early 20th century as a country house hotel and spa resort in Peebles in the border region of Scotland at the south. The hotel actually opened in 1881, but burnt down and was rebuilt in 1907. It served as a hospital for injured service personnel during  World War I before reverting to hotel use.peebles-hydro-peebles-lounge

Peebles Hydro is a magnificent category B listed building. Peebles Hydro offers a peebles hydro entrancebeautiful setting in gardens, in the border town of Peebles. This charming, historic hotel features an indoor swimming pool, a spa, a gym and restaurant and overlooks the Tweed Valley and is backed by Glentress Forest. It is a 14-minute walk from the Tweeddale Museum and Gallery, and only 1.2 miles from Peebles Golf Club. The Scottish Borders are ideal for cycling, walking, fishing and golfing. The River Tweed is a short walk from the hotel.

peebles hydro poolWhen my children were growing up we made regular visits to Peebles Hydro, there is a lovely pool and special activities for children to be safely entertained. There is also a playground for children and there are lovely walks by the river Tweed nearby. Films are played for the children and there is a special early teatime for them. peebles-hydro-peebles-restaurant

I enjoy lovely views when enjoying breakfast or dinner in the restaurant. There is also a Peebles Hydro outcocktail bar. The evening dinner is always a favourite, the meal choices are tasty, the wines exquisite and the service first class. More recently, my husband and I regularly visit with my mother for a delicious, traditional afternoon tea on her birthday. The fresh sandwiches, scones and cakes washed down with tea poured from elegant pots enjoyed looking over the vibrant views of the Scottish borders is always a treat.

peebles hydro roomMost recently, last week my friend and I ventured to Peebles. It was a dleight to be back at the Peebles Hydro. Our rooms were lovely, each room at Peebles Hydro features classic décor finished in lightly coloured tones. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, a TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, heating and a bathroom with free toiletries. Breakfast was delicious and, as vegetarians, we had plenty of choice. I always enjoy visiting Peebles Hydro and highly recommend it.

Valerie Penny

 

 

The Corner Cafe, 73 Main St, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland

corner cafeA few weeks ago this new restaurant and takeaway, The Corner Cafe, opened on the corner of Hunterston Road and Main Street in the Craft Town of West Kilbride Ayrshire, Scotland. My husband took me to lunch there recently. The takeaway enters from the corner cafe logoMain Street while the restaurant is entered from Hunterston Road.

When we went in, I was very impressed with the bright modern decor. Also, you can see into the kitchen. I like this, it is clean, tidy and well organised. The Corner Cafe was busy when we arrived for lunch but we did manage to get one last table for two. The table was a decent size, so many modern restaurants have tiny tables for two people.

corner cafe fishWe were also pleasantly surprised by the menu. There were imaginative specials, a variety of light meals and a generous choice of main meals. I was impressed that there was a choice of meals for vegetarians too. My husband swithered with having the fish but finally decided on one of the specials, the chicken caesar club sandwich with fries and extra onion rings. He enjoyed the meal very much. I chose the vegetarian cous cous with roasted vegetables. It was a most unexpected vegetarian option and delious. The portions were generous and there was a lovley choice of cakes and desserts.corner cafe choccake

I am also impressed that the access for disabled people is excellent. The Corner Cafe is a new venture. I recommend it and wish it success.

Valerie Penny

Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

dumfries house annaMy friend Anna and I had a lovely day out to Dumfries House,  Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Dumfries_House

It was my first visit although Dumfries house is on of Britain’s most beautifuldumfries house prince charles stately homes that was saved for the nation by the personal intervention of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales in 2007. The house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, which maintains it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.

Mike Scott
Phone 07968 258392
e-mail mike@mikescottphotographer.comThe 18th century house is set in lovely grounds and combines the neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale. The refurbished blue bed is a stunning work of modern and classical craftsmanship.

dumfries house cafeteria

We sampled coffee and cake at the visitor centre before touring the house and grounds. The baking was fresh and the scones the most enormous I have ever seen! We enjoyed the bright, freshly decorated cafeteria. There were many tables and it was well appointed. We enjoyed exploring the grounds and the playground is delightful. We only wished we had a child with us to enjoy it too.dumfries house woodland walks

On our visit around the house we were entranced by the quality of the restoration and the beautiful, original furniture that has been saved by Prince Charles. He has secured employment for many people in and around Cumnock. This is an area of Scotland that suffers from serious unemployment and a lack of investment. dumfries house blue roomI paticularly liked the yellow room in the house. It was so bright and light and cheerful. The collection of Chippendale chairs in this room is splendid. Anna enjoyed the blue room with its cool colours and original furniture.

After our tour of Dumfries House, we stopped for lunch downstairs in the original kitchen and servants’ working area of the house in the basement. The cutlery and table furnishings were beautiful. We were served vegetriandumfries house yellow room parsnip soup, made from produce grown in the grounds. There was also a selection of sandwiches with various fillings. Biscuits and cakes finished off the meal. Some of the sandwiches and pieces of cake tasted slightly stale. that was disappointing. I suspect they are cut early in the day and uncovered until served, at whatever time of day.

However, after lunch we took another tour of the grounds and visited the walled garden. The beauty of the house, grounds and the stylish walled garden far out-weighed the slightly dry cake.dumfries house walled garden

I would defintely visit Dumfries House again and, be happy to sample the offerings in the cafeteria. Also, if I were there in the middle of the day, I would make my way to the basement for lunch. I highly recommend Dumfries House.

Valerie Penny