Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dog Friendly Hotel in Lanarkshire, The Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar

Holly Bobbins, reviewer of the Elphinstone Hotel, a dog friendly hotel in biggar, Lanarkshire, scotland
It took me approximately 5 days into January to get away on my first break of the year to a dog friendly hotel, The Elphinstone Hotel in Biggar, Lanarkshire.  We'd been invited with Holly Bobbins, chief "Pawsonality" and reviewer of all things dog friendly to come over for dinner, bed and breakfast so Harriet and I accompanied just to make sure she wasn't being a Mariah or Beyonce style diva, you know how she gets now that all of the fame has gone to her head!

The Elphinstone Hotel is situated on the high street of the small market town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire, a short 2 hour car journey from Newcastle and a very pleasant rural location in the midst of rolling hills and green countryside.

After a quick photo stop outside we checked in and asked where we could dine with Holly, the answer was she was welcome in the bar next door but nowhere else in the hotel or restaurant, a little disappointing as somewhere selling themselves as dog friendly and after many years of visiting a lot of dog friendly hotels, bars and restaurants I would say that this came over as more of a dog tolerant policy than dog friendly.  

No matter though for Holly, she was just delighted that the room had carpets (something I don't have at home) so she could roll around at will in her crazy beagle way.

After check-in Harriet and I went for a wander to the town park which is actually around a mile away from the town centre down a long country lane, not somewhere I would have liked to walk in the dark but on a summers afternoon I would think it's glorious.  We managed to catch the last light of the day whilst Holly Bobbins had a run around the lake and we found that there's a circular route from town to the park so this afforded us quite a nice Saturday afternoon walkies without it being overtiring for chief driver Harriet.

We popped into the bar on our way back for a quick cuppa after the afternoon exertions and Holly was offered some water which was brought over in an old used Ice-cream container, a lovely thought which does show the hotel is trying but I think it would only cost pence to have proper dog bowls and maybe a jar of treats on the bar for their four pawed clients.  There's really only 1 big table in the bar which we had both dinner and breakfast at so I think if our hosts could work towards maybe making the downstairs of the hotel as well as the bar dog friendly (leaving the bigger upstairs restaurant for patrons who don't want to dine with dogs) then I would be very keen to return.

The standout for me at the Elphinstone Hotel has to be the food, although we were in the bar, no style or flavours were spared when we dined that evening.  Scallops, Venison and a Cheeseboard of local cheeses were deliciously savoured whilst Holly enjoyed small morsels of venison passed under the table.  Harriet said the chowder and the chicken with haggis were equally delicious and she too couldn't resist the temptation of the locally sourced cheeseboard.

We noticed that the hotel restaurant was also full, especially for early January and surely that has to be testament to the skills of the chef, I cannot fault a single thing about the food, it really was utterly scrumptious.

After a wonderful and comfortable nights sleep our breakfast was a more simple affair but a full Scottish breakfast was on offer, none the less and Holly was grateful for the sausage brought out by the morning chef and after a quick morning stroll it was soon time to depart.

Biggar lies around an hours drive from the border and outlet shopping at the Gretna Gateway village meaning it's the perfect mid-way shop and we noticed that quite a lot of the village seemed to be dog friendly which is such a positive sign, I think with more retailers and hoteliers honing in on the fact that the four pawed pound is so strong, it can't be too long before we see a paradigm shift with more places being dog friendly than those who remain firmly no dogs territory.

Holly Bobbins gives the Elphinstone Hotel 8 barks out of 10 and if the suggested improvements actually happen then we would definitely consider a return visit during the summer months to get the most out of the local area.

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