Weekend Traveller:- Carberry Tower, Scotland

When people visit Scotland, they usually think of destinations such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, or for the more adventurous, they may even travel to somewhere like Inverness, however you don’t always have to head into one of the main cities to find somewhere special.

I have stayed in a few locations in and around Edinburgh, and as you may have read previously, I loved my stay in Leith, which is just a short distance from the city. Well my most recent stay took me to another place not to far from Edinburgh.

Carberry is a small village, located just over 8 miles east of Edinburgh, and is known historically for the battle of Carberry Hill, where Mary Queen of Scots famously surrendered.

It’s here in Carberry, that you will find the equally historical Carberry Tower, a 16th century, listed mansion, with a host of royal connections. Once the home of Lady Margaret Elphinstone, the queen mothers sister, it was frequently visited by King George VI with the late Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret spending some of their childhood here.

Today the towers is operated as a hotel and is a popular destination for weddings and events, as well as featuring on Travels With My Father, with Jack Whitehall.

Much of the original features remain within the hotel, with the reception area featuring magnificent stonework and work panelling, which continues throughout the building.

On the first floor you can also find a vast lounge/piano room, where afternoon tea is served, along with a stunning library, that transforms you to years gone by.

There are only 30 rooms in the hotel, including a royal suite, used by King George and Queen Elizabeth during their visits.

I booked an Executive Room, described as ‘For those who prefer an even more generously appointed room, our en-suite Executive Rooms offer the ideal choice. Many are double-aspect with far-reaching views over the Estate grounds and all have comfortable seating for two and room to relax in’

The Executive Room booked was a little tight with space

Unfortunately the description left me a little disappointed with the size of the room, which had a bathroom almost as big as the bedroom, which was a little tight for space and not ideal when getting ready for a night out, I only dread to think how small the ‘classic room’ is, but maybe they concentrate more on the suites.

As we were visiting for an event elsewhere, we didn’t get to try out the food in the restaurant for dinner, but we did grab a drink from the bar before heading out.

The bar area downstairs is very small and was quite busy, with most of the seats all being taken early in the evening, so we took our drinks up to the first floor, which was much more spacious and had great views over the grounds.

Breakfast was well appointed and it was great to see lots of salmon, both fillets and smoked for breakfast, which was served buffet style.

We did have one issue during our stay, and that was with reception on returning from a night out. So as not to lose the key whilst out, we handed it in to reception. Unfortunately on our return, there was no one on the reception desk, from whom to retrieve the key. We tried calling the hotel by telephone and were calling out loudly, for around 20 mins, until finally another hotel guest found a staff member in the breakfast room, located away from reception.

Whilst I fully understand that having a member of the staff being unproductive on reception is not always an option, a simple sign saying where they were, or a mobile number to call, would have made much more sense, as after 15 mins of calling out, I was seriously thinking I may have needed to sleep in the car.

I have to stress that apart from this issue, the rest of the staff, including reception at check in, the restaurant and breakfast and the bar staff, were exemplary, and I feel this is a process issue, rather that the fault of any staff member.

The hotel does offer various other offering during the day, including the afternoon tea already mentioned, guided walks and even a whisky tasting, which had we stayed for longer, we may well have taken part of.

For me the hotel is worth a visit just for its grounds and history, however being a short distance from Edinburgh, could also serve as a great base, from which to explore further.

1 night in the apparent ‘Executive’ room cost £188 and can be booked through various online travel agents, or by contacting the hotel directly.


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