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Scotland Trip

We're planning a trip to Scotland in very early September and any recommendations for great hotels with lovely food would be appreciated. Naturally, I've made note of Helen's suggestions around the Oban area.

We're thinking Inverness, Fort William, Loch Lomond area. We may stop to see family in Edinburgh, but that's no problem re restaurants. Thanks for any ideas.

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  1. We did that trip in 2011. The search facility will find you my reviews but here’s a summary:

    INVERNESS. Contrast Brasserie – reasonable food, piss poor service.

    FORT WILLIAM. Crannog – OK, should have been much better.

    LOCH LOMOND. Kilted Skirlie – touristy but great views of the Loch make up for it – go with low expectations. Martin Wishart – really good

    If the Pitlochy area is on your route (on the way back to Edinburgh), Killiekrankie House was enjoyable food – a bit 1980s country house hotel but I quite liked country house hotels in the 1980s.

    We had other meals, of course, mainly very indifferent pubs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      Thanks,John. We're ending up staying in a few places that seem to have good restaurants. We'll see how it works out. We might just renew our vows at Gretna Green. Just kidding.......

      I think we'll be heading to Loch Lomond via Oban so probably won't get too close to Killekrankie House.

    2. I didn't do a review because the food wasn't all that, but just south of Fort William on the road to Loch Lomond is Onich. The hotel there is wonderfully situated at the end of Loch Linnhe. So give yourselves a cup of tea and a bun there!

      18 Replies
      1. re: helen b

        I think perhaps your recent reviews spurred me on to think about a trip up north. I think we may well be driving near Onich on our way down to a stop at the Lake District. Thanks for the suggestion.

        1. re: zuriga1

          If you're wanting an overnighter in Cumbria (and prepared to throw a few quid at it), may I suggest Farlam Hall. Very nice country house hotel with a dinner to match.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7968...

          1. re: Harters

            Thanks, John. You'll see my reply to masha. After all the eating and expenditure in Scotland, I think our last night on the road is going to be downscale, but Farlam looks inviting so maybe on another trip....

            1. re: zuriga1

              Also, a wonderful B&B in the Lake District, with a home-cooked, gourmet quality dinner available at extra price, is the Boltongate Old Rectory, http://www.boltongateoldrectory.com/
              We stayed there several years ago but it's still under the same ownership. The food was outstanding and the owners unfailingly helpful.

              1. re: masha

                That place looks wonderful,Masha. We've been to the Lake District before so this is just a one-night stopover on the way home, and I think we'd like to be closer to the highway... maybe in Penrith. But I'm certainly going to keep this name in my files.

                1. re: zuriga1

                  On my "to try" list is the George & Dragon at Clifton (near Penrith) - just off junction 40 of the M6. A mate really enjoyed a meal there (he picked it via the write-up in the Good Food Guide).

                  By the by, there's a cracking deli in the centre of Penrith - J & J Graham - right on the main square. There's a good farm shop on the edge of town - on the way to the motorway - Carleton Farm Shop ( http://www.carletonfarmshop.co.uk/ ). Don't forget to stop at the M6 Tebay services, just south of Penrith, for the farm shop - really good. Look out for Herdwick lamb at any of these. And Galloway beef

                  1. re: Harters

                    What great tips, John. Thanks so much. George & Dragon sounds like a great place for our dinner that night. I wonder if things bought at the farm shops would survive the long trip down to Surrey. I should bring along a cooler!

                    1. re: zuriga1

                      It must be around a 6 hour trip from Penrith? Should be fine with a cooler.

                      By the by, in the past we've bought stuff at the Carrefour at Calais and kept it in a cooler bag. Easily 8 hours - car stank of the cheese for days afterwards but it was fine to eat.

                      1. re: Harters

                        DH remembers eating the Herdwick lamb when we were once in Hawkshead. We'll certainly try to take some home.

                    2. re: Harters

                      I second stopping at the Westmoreland motorway service station! It is utterly brilliant! Fantastic deli goods esp. pies. You can eat in or takeaway. For a cheap overnight stop I think there's a motel there or my son and I spent an oddly peaceful night at the Day's Inn motel at Killington Lake which is one junction down. So pretty! Pic of the lake at dawn below. But eat beforehand/buy a picnic from Westmoreland as there's only a Macdonalds on site.

                       
                      1. re: helen b

                        Even the caff at Tebay is better than yer Moto or Welcome Break. Decent Cumberland sausages with the full brekkie fry-up, for instance.

                  2. re: masha

                    In late August we are driving from southwest Scotland to Southport, England on a Sunday. Planning to detour slightly to pass through the Lake District. Not much time to stop. Probably only afternoon tea somewhere in or near the Lake District. Boltongate Old Rectory looks like it might be a very good option. Anyone have other suggestions?

                    1. re: PappyAustin

                      Sharrow Bay Hotel - without a doubt.

                      http://www.sharrowbay.co.uk/dining/af...

                      It's the original country house hotel and location of the invention of sticky toffee pudding. And they do a great afternoon tea with fantastic views of the lake

                      1. re: Harters

                        I thought about Sharrow Bay for our overnight. Since we're staying at a few similar places in Scotland, the idea of the George & Dragon for dinner sounded like a nice change of pace. I think we need to revisit the Lake District before too long! DH was once a lifeguard there ... back in the day. I hate that expression. :-)

                        1. re: zuriga1

                          Sharrow Bay is a special place for me. When Mrs H retired, she had been very ill for some months and it continued after she stopped working. In due course, she started to recover and we decided on a short luxury break - just a couple of nights. She chose Sharrow Bay and I was so pleased to see her actually enjoy something again. It really is somewhere where you are properly taken care of. I'm reluctant to go back - just in case it wasnt quite as good and it spoiled the memory.

                          1. re: Harters

                            I remember your trip there, John. That's why the name rang a bell. I'm sure we'll get up there, hopefully, at some point. I know what you mean about the memories. It's often true that a return visit to a hotel or restaurant just isn't the same second time around.. for whatever reason.

                            I'm returning to a hotel near Stratford in a few weeks. It was one of my first stays in England many, many years ago. We're not eating there, so I won't get to see if dinner is still as good as it was back then.

                      2. re: PappyAustin

                        Pappy, I believe that tea at Boltongate Old Rectory is only available to overnight guests. (If I read your post correctly, it sounds like you are looking for a place where you can drop by for tea, not overnight.)

                2. I left some other recommendations on Helen's request around Oban beyond the ones that she went to which may be of use.

                  The locations that you list are pretty poor in stand out locations for food because they are tourist spots so get business no matter what.

                  Being blunt about Inverness, I see minimal selling points to it other than being a city to stop off in en route to traveling around the north of the country.

                  Fort William is touristy and lacks quality food however it has the benefit of scenery. The hotel's aren't stand out (other than Inverlochy Castle if you want to blow a packet!) but they all have access to the surroundings. The Lime Tree hotel/restaurant is maybe your best bet (other than me agreeing with John's comment on the Crannog Restaurant. It seems to fluctuate wildly in relation to quality so I wouldn't hang my hat on you getting a great meal if you do go!

                  I'd highly recommend the sea food restaurant on Loch Leven.

                  Martin Wishart at Cameron house is easily the best restaurant in that vicinity (although I still prefer the original) although if you're heading to Oban from there, the Loch Fyne restaurant (the original and not part of the chain) is top quality fish in a less formal setting.

                  I'd also thoroughly recommend Monachyle Mhor as a hotel with restaurant if you end up driving that way. The location is as remote as you can get and the quality of the food has increased after - I felt - a slip a couple of years ago. If you don't want that expense, the other options in the Mhor group are highly recommended. Mhor 84 as a motel/cafe/pub or Mhor Fish in Calender for a chippy with fishmongers and cafe attached.