Award-winning Blackaddie House, by England’s first Michelin Star chef, on the banks of a Dumfriesshire salmon river

The award-winning Blackaddie House Hotel stands in mature gardens running down to the banks of the River Nith, one of our finest salmon and sea trout rivers, at Sanquhar, in the rolling hills of southwest Scotland.

 It is a real find, and we are delighted to have it as a premier hotel in our Free Breaks Portfolio.

Not only is it in a beautiful setting, it is owned and run by Ian McAndrew, the youngest English chef ever to have gained a Michelin star. Not surprisingly therefore the food is outstandingly good—it has earned two AA stars for its restaurant and a fistful of awards. The combination of fine food, famous fishing, beautiful scenery, walking, and historic sites to visit, in a part of Britain that is not only easy to reach but warmed by the Gulf Stream, is irresistible.

The McAndrews family—chef Ian and his wife Jane—bought the hotel in 2008 and brought with them from England their talents as restaurateurs (London’s Restaurant 74 in Knightsbridge and Southampton’s The Boathouse) and hotel background at The Dorchester and Carlton Tower. Their aim is to produce high standards of food and personal service in a friendly, informal, family atmosphere, so you feel really at home—and this they have achieved.

Nine comfortable bedrooms lie within the hotel, and three cottages in the grounds, all with views over the garden and rolling hills, some including the river. The current classification with the AA and Visit Scotland is four gold star restaurant with rooms. The rooms are all en-suite, with remote control TVs, tea and coffee making facilities, and direct dial phones. Free wireless broadband is available throughout. There is a conservatory for breakfast and light meals, fine dining restaurant, and a warm, friendly, comfortable bar.

The Blackaddie House is in a wonderful part of the country.

The Borders region of Dumfries and Galloway is unspoilt, even unknown. Most people who drive north on the M6 never give it a second glance—but if you turn east after the first Welcome to Scotland sign (Ceud Mille Failte gu Alba) you will begin a new love affair. 

The countryside is wonderful—a mixture of high heather moorland and sheltered glens where the opportunities for walking, fishing, shooting, stalking, bird watching, hill walking, riding, golf and simply touring by car, are as abundant as they are memorable.

This was the country which inspired Robert Burns—his farm, Ellisland, now a museum, is not far from Blackaddie House. Round about are mountains, glens, river valleys, castles, gardens, woodlands, ducal estates, villages and market towns to explore, with a fascinating Borders history of conflict between the Scots and English.

The countryside is as spectacular for walking and driving as can be found anywhere. This is beautiful scenery, and the Southern Upland Way, Britain’s first coast-to-coast footpath, passes the end of the Blackaddie House drive. The full walk is 212 miles, from Portpatrick in the west to Cockburnspath in the east, and arduous—but from Sanquhar you can choose gentle strolls or serious physical challenges.

Strolls around the village of Sanquhar reveal the oldest working post office in the world (since 1700), the Sanquhar Tolbooth, built in the 18th century and now a museum illustrating the heritage of Upper Nithsdale, and Sanquhar Castle, built by the Crichton family (of The Admirable Chrichton fame) from about 1400. The castle hosted James VI in 1617, but in 1639 the Crichtons sold it to Sir William Douglas, who built Drumlanrig Castle, 10 miles away, as a grander residence for his family, the Dukes of Buccleuch & Queensberry.

The Buccleuch Estates at Drumlanrig offer everything from the 17th-century castle (open spring to autumn) to country walks in Nithsdale, with its farmland, woodlands, lochs and rivers with their wildlife. The estate is renowned for its trees, including the Drumlanrig Sycamore, one of the oldest in the country, and the first Douglas Fir planted in Great Britain. Mammals range from red squirrels to otters and deer. 

Birds range from the goldcrest to the buzzard. Finches, tits, thrushes and warblers are all well represented with memorable woodland species including great spotted woodpecker, pied flycatcher and, unusual in Scotland, the nuthatch. The farmland and parkland are home to lapwing, green woodpeckers, oystercatchers and tawny and barn owls.

The unpolluted rivers and lochs host heron, dipper, little grebe and kingfisher. In spring the forest floor is ablaze with wildflowers, and more than 300 species of fungi have been recorded at Drumlanrig from the stinkhorn to the football-sized giant puffball.

North-west of Sanquhar are the Lowther Hills—sheep farming uplands and serious walking country with spectacular views at the summit. Lowther Hill marks the highest point of the Southern Upland Way, while the villages that nestle in the heights of this range are among the highest in Britain, with Wanlockhead at 1,531ft above sea level making it the highest village in Scotland.

It is not just for walking that people come to explore here. The hills were home to extensive lead mines, and people travel from all over the country to learn about life working in the black depths of the mines.

The Scottish Lead Mining Museum is at Lead Hills—the highest village in Scotland. Prospectors still come with high hopes each year of finding that elusive nugget of gold in the Mennock Pass, which hides flakes of remarkably pure Scottish gold amidst the grainy bed of Mennock water. If you want to join them in panning for gold, you can.

 Among the rich historic sites within easy distance of Blackaddie House is Morton Castle, with one of the most breathtaking settings of any in Scotland. It stands at the head of a triangular bluff, with ground falling away sharply on two sides into Morton Loch below. On the far side of the loch the ground rises steadily to the beautiful Lowther Hills.

Dog friendly.

Two Night Hotel Break: Our Members have an exclusive two-night break here. You pay £85 each for breakfast and dinner each day, sharing a double room including VAT and service, saving some £180 per break, depending on season.

Two Night Cottage Break: Our Members have an exclusive Two Nights For The Price of One in the self-catering cottages in the hotel grounds on the banks of the River Nith. For the One-Bedroom Cottage with the best view of the river, your rate is £210 for two sharing for two nights (RR £420). For the Two-Bedroom Cottages your rate is £175 per night for up to four sharing for two nights (RR £350).

Salmon fishing can be booked by the day: just ask us when you inquire about booking the cottages or hotel rooms.

To check availability, and to book, use the form below or call Member Services on 020 7399 2960.


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