Architect Ramsay Traquair designed Skirling House in 1908 for Lord Carmichael, giving it the unique style of the arts and craft movement. Many of these features remain today, including beautiful ornate wrought ironwork and decorative carvings. These days Skirling House is owned by Bob and Isobel Hunter, who have worked tirelessly to create a tasteful and charismatic place to eat and stay since they moved to Skirling in 1994. Skirling House has become a haven, with bags of character and every detail thought out, from the comfortable sofas and armchairs to the landscaped country garden.
The food at Skirling House takes advantage of the area's bountiful natural larder, offering menus of modern Scottish cuisine with a hint of French influence. Try French toast with caramelised apples and black pudding for breakfast, and then relax in the conservatory or drawing room for afternoon tea. On summer evenings the garden dining room is lit by oil lamps, candles and a net of tiny lights shining through vine leaves; in winter, dinner is served beside a log fire. The menu changes daily to take account of availability of ingredients and guests' preferences, including vegetarians. A starter of roast butternut squash soup may precede Borders Red Leg partridge, then try some regional farmhouse cheese, before finishing off with apple and prune tart and a choice of coffee or teas.
Stay in one of the five beautifully appointed bedrooms and extend your visit further; although it makes a great base for exploring, once you've arrived, you may just want to stay in.