Well this was a first. Getting from London to Edinburgh in only four and a half hours by train with Virgin Trains, and when we worked it out it actually took less time than flying and a fraction of the cost too. And Waverley is one of those grand old stations that plonk you slap in the middle of town in-between Edinburgh’s wonderful medieval old town and the Georgian new town. It really is a wonderful city, but I wanted some country air too and the four star luxurious Dalhousie Castle Hotel is only eight miles or a 15 minute bus ride away.
And the Dalhousie Hotel really is a castle. It’s a fascinating 13th century fortress set within acres of wooded parkland on the picturesque banks of the river Esk.
It’s a property that fits the perfect Scottish country scene, particularly on a cold winters night. A warm and welcoming hotel set in acres of woodland with a huge roaring fireplace, comfy couches and bags of history. You can almost feel the ghosts of the old Lairds looking down at you. All 29 rooms have glorious views of the grounds and are decorated in tweed and tartan with period furniture, however the additional themed rooms pay homage to past visits of historical figures like The India Room with canopied Raffia double bed and furniture. There is a wellness spa on site with qualified therapists on hand to provide a wide variety of treatments although I found it a little odd that guests were expected to have to pay to use the hydro spa when all the other facilities apart from the treatments were free.
But for me, the most memorable part of my visit was without doubt eating at the Dungeon Restaurant. This was top drawer from start to finish. The service was faultless, the food was extraordinary and the wines were beautiful. Everything from ordering the food in the old library next to the roaring fire whilst sipping a wee dram, to being ushered down time worn steps into the atmospheric dungeon to sample cuisine of the highest order was perfection. My starter of lobster and pistachio tortellini with shellfish soup and salsify was only bettered by the Angus beef and port wine main course.
Dalhousie will serve as a lovely weekend retreat to explore Edinburgh and get the best of both worlds, city and countryside. You can also take a visit to the nearby Rosslyn Chapel now immortalised in the Da Vinci Code but actually, an incredible piece of architecture.
Getting to Edinburgh
Virgin Trains runs services to Edinburgh from London Euston every 2 hours with prices from £21