Our wee Scottish holiday at Dryburgh Abbey, Melrose

Recently we decided to go on another trip with the kitties, we try and go on holiday with them once in a while, but so far had only been away with them once and stayed in a wigwam. Unfortunately, we left it quite late and were having difficulties finding suitable accommodation at the last minute. During our search for a good place to stay, we came across PetsPyjamas, a travel service that offers information on pet friendly accommodation and establishments as well as travelling with pets and a shop with accessories for your beloved friend. Booking through the friendly staff at PetsPyjamas, we were able to bring Tigger and Nala with us for free during our stay at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel.

The hotel is a splendid baronial country house that dates back to the mid nineteenth century, a private estate situated next to the Dryburgh Abbey and River Tweed. It was only an hour or so drive from Edinburgh and boasts of various amenities including an indoor heated sauna and pool, as well as the possibility of fishing, cycling, pheasant shooting, walking and horse riding.

On our arrival, we were warmly greeted by friendly reception staff who then promptly asked ‘are you the guest with the cats? Do you have them here with you?’ We knew they were excited to see Tigger and Nala, we later learned because we were the second set of guests to bring cats to the hotel. It was evident that the hotel is really pet friendly (they’ve won Scottish Hotel Awards – Dog Friendly Award 3 years in a row from 2012 to 2014) and all the staff were more than happy to pay the two furry ones attention which they greatly enjoyed and were more than happy to settle down on the reception counter so other people could coo and stroke them.

Stuffed game in reception

We settled quickly in our rooms after a few trips back to the car collecting the rest of our belongings. It was also humorous for the OH and I when we could hear wedding guests exclaiming over ‘the best wedding EVER!’ to see cats being taken into a pet-friendly hotel.

When we got into the room, we were greeted by a lovely and fashionable en-suite room with a small seating area which overlooks the carpark and property. We also had our welcome parcel from PetsPyjamas waiting for us.

Our welcome travel parcel from PetsPyjamas which included: cat collars, a Holly Golightly cat mug, organic supper packs from Lily’s Kitchen, a grow at home cat grass tub and cat toy wands

After settling in the room for a while, we decided to walk around the 10-acre grounds of the property. There were other sites to wander around and visit, like Dryburgh Abbey across the wall from the hotel grounds. The OH wasn’t too keen on driving places though and with country roads, we weren’t too happy about walking with the cats, so we decided to wander around the 10-acre grounds some more.

Dryburgh Abbey, Melrose

The hotel lies on the bank of River Tweed where guests can learn fishing techniques (although it is considered unethical to fish on a Sunday) or you could walk alongside the river which we did with the kitties.

We were spoiled during our stay. The Tweed Restaurant was semi-formal (guests are expected to dress smart) and no pets are allowed, but we were given the Wallace Lounge for our morning breakfast so that we could have the kitties with us.

I think they were enjoying the privacy more than we were! They were quite happy to explore the lounge and find window seats to look out of or places to hide behind the settees.

The first night we were there, we were given the privacy of the Wallace Lounge (although we were told on our arrival we would only really be given this room for our breakfast) because of the wedding party that was there. We were served good food and I was impressed by how a simple pasta dish could taste so good.

The OH had sausages with mash and vegetables

I had linguine with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and rocket with a shared side of mushrooms with garlic butter

The next morning after a nice and restful stay (although our room was right at the top of the stairs on the second floor, and unfortunately the floorboards are quite creaky, so there were times we were all a bit on edge – except the ever calm OH – thinking someone was trying to get into our room), it was time for breakfast. I was expecting the usual continential buffet breakfast, but was surprised to find a menu of cooked breakfast choices at each place setting. I had a difficult time choosing, but decided to go with the Scottish Breakfast while the OH went with the Dryburgh Special which turned out very good. I ended up ordering the same thing on our second morning.

My Scottish Breakfast

The Dryburgh Special: Poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on English muffins

Tigger getting himself ready for some helpings to a second breakfast

On our second night, we decided to dine at the Bistro Lounge on the ground floor which was the pet friendly dining area of the restaurant. We weren’t sure whether we wanted to take the cats or not, but since they were quite fatigued from their walk around the hotel grounds, we decided to leave them in the room to settle for the night and went downstairs. The Lounge itself was quite nicely decorated although it was meant to be less formal. The staff were just as courteous as the staff at the Restaurant and we enjoyed the hospitality of the staff without feeling like they were hovering or expecting you to leave quickly after you’ve eaten.

Having learned our lesson of the generous portion sizes, we decided to skip the starter and go straight to the main. The offerings are somewhat different from the Tweed Restaurant menu although the dishes are just as tasty. I decided that I didn’t want another filling dish of pasta or meat and that seafood was the best way to go.

My main course of mussels with garlic and white wine sauce at the Lounge

The OH’s main of rib eye steak with chips and salad

We had thought about whether we wanted dessert or not, the portions were quite generous after all. From the night before, we learned that it was impossible to have 3 courses, or 2 with a side, so we only had a main course and decided to indulge in some pudding which sounded amazingly mouth watering.

Molten chocolate cake with praline ice cream

Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream

You can book your stay at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel either using their online system, phone 01835 822 261 or send an enquiry by e-mail. The hotel is located at St Boswells, Melrose TD6 0RQ.

If you’re thinking of going on a relaxing trip and will be bringing your pet with you, get a discounted deal through PetsPyjamas or call 0845 805 8458.


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