Borthwick Castle

North Middleton, Midlothian, Scotland, EH23 4QY

Price from: £130

The Great Hall where you dine

By Alison Craig, your Edinburgh expert

I write for BBC radio, The Scotsman, .... Read more
#22 of 40
expert-rated hotels in Edinburgh
Expert overall rating:4.3 out of 5
Location:
4.8
4.8
Bedrooms:
4.7
4.7
Eating/drinking:
3.9
3.9
Public areas:
4.6
4.6
Leisure facilities:
0.6
0.6
Service:
3.3
3.3
Value for money:
4.3
4.3
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Couples, Culture vultures, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Romance, Special occasions

Expert review of Borthwick Castle

A 600-year-old Scottish Castle, steeped in history just 12 miles from Edinburgh.

Borthwick Castle sits among the rolling hills of the borders. The twin-towered fortress was built in 1430 and has a fascinating history. There is nothing Disney about this – it's the real McCoy.

This a medieval castle but with modern conveniences. There is nothing new, shiny or minimalist here. There will be creaks, and draughts and the odd unexplained bump in the night (just joking about the last one, setting the scene...you know the score).

There is a half-hour tour around the castle every day for guests before dinner so you will be well versed in the history of the place.

Location: 

The hotel sits 12 miles out of Edinburgh. I realise this might be pushing it in a guide to Edinburgh, but what's 12 miles between friends when the experience of staying in a magnificent castle like this is potentially once in a lifetime?

Bedrooms: 

Or bed chambers as they are called here...and they live up to their name.

Vast ceilings, many rooms have four poster beds, stone walls, antique furnishings, heavy drapes and windows overlooking the gardens. The rooms have evolved over centuries, they are all individual and as such hard to pigeon hole. Suffice to say Mary Queen of Scots stayed here so you are not going to get rooms wired for sound and bathrooms with TVs in them. In fact there are no TV s or radios in the rooms.

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Public areas: 

The Great Hall where you have dinner has a fireplace the size of your average flat, a 40 feet high vaulted ceiling, minstrel gallery and was described in the 17th century as "so large and high that a man on horseback could turn a spear in it with all the ease imaginable".

The State Room is another stunning room, with huge ceilings, and a corridor that runs from here to one of the bed chambers - the one that Mary Queen of Scots used to stay in regularly.

Croquet on the lawn? How about afternoon tea set in the rolling hills of the borders? The gardens are superb. 

Eating and drinking: 

B&B is an option but dinner in the Great Hall is something to be experienced. Start at 7pm with a tour around the castle and then, once the scene is set, it's drinks in front of the roaring log fire before dinner. The three-course menu changes daily and for £37.50 per head, with a good wine list, you get top Scottish fare like smoked salmon, rib of beef and sticky toffee pud: all rib-sticking stuff.
 

Service: 

Gail is the manager and an enthusiastic and informative host. Nothing is too much trouble.

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Who stays there: 

Couples, brides and grooms, people who have always dreamt of staying in a real Scottish Castle. Those who enjoy history, grandeur and some say ghosts!

Pros: 
It's a castle!
Beautiful rural location
Cons: 
12 miles out of the city
No TV or radio in the room if addicted to rolling news

More information on Borthwick Castle:

Price from:
£130
Type:
Hotel
Address:
North Middleton, Midlothian, Scotland, EH23 4QY
Free tags / Keywords:
Scottish castle, 600 years old

Have you been to Borthwick Castle? Would you recommended it?