You know you’re on a rural getaway when the only glimpse of civilisation you’ve seen for miles is a house with a sign outside saying “Slow Down. Chickens, Kittens, Children”. We spent the rest of the journey to Dumfriesshire debating whether the order of the information on the sign was significant. Twisting round the spectacular “Devil’s Beef Tub” valley in the midst of a wintery storm, I felt light years away from home, not the two hours it actually was. Trigony House Hotel is nestled behind the A76 near the village of Thornhill, about 15 miles from Dumfries.
Budget or boutique?
The hotel is a picturesque red sandstone country house with ten stylish, individually decorated bedrooms, either double or twin. People are warmly welcomed at Trigony House and so are dogs. In fact the real lady of the manor is Roxy, an adorable golden retriever who is an active part of the welcoming party. With wood-burning stoves and crackling fires galore, its impossible not to relax into the cosy interior. It’s the perfect hideout after one of the recommended walks through the stunning four acres of grounds and beyond.
Wining and dining
Trigony House has an interesting and laudable approach to food. They source the finest ingredients from around Scotland, supporting the Dumfries and Galloway farming community where possible. I was delighted to see little known Cockburn’s haggis (of Dingwall) on the menu – the best haggis on the planet in my opinion. The hotel even has its own kitchen garden. Practically everything is made from scratch, including the deliciously buttery cheese biscuits served with olives while you are perusing the menu.
The intimate restaurant and adjoining bar are simply decorated but ooze warmth and sophistication. Dining with two fussy, messy young kids is always a challenge but the thoughtful staff helped to take the stress away. For main course I went for the braised rabbit with wild garlic, pancetta and Ramsay black pudding and it was as delicious as it sounds. My better half opted for the twice baked soufflé with field mushrooms and Loch Arthur cheddar. A great addition was the children’s menu combining old favourites cooked with fresh, healthy ingredients, and half portions of the main menu are also available.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant and all hot dishes are made to order.
We stayed in the spacious Garden Suite featuring a massive double bedroom with more than enough space for our additional single bed and cot plus room for suitcases, toys and all the other baby paraphernalia we cart about with us on our travels. But the real star of the show was the conservatory lounge overlooking the suite’s private garden and unspoilt views beyond.
Worth getting out of bed for
The staff will happily book horse riding and falconry for you at the neighbouring Camplebridge Riding Stables. My wife and son decided to have a riding lesson and Mel and her team looked after them brilliantly, while baby Sarah and I gee’d them on. Afterwards, we were lucky enough to meet two of the resident birds of prey, a Eurasian eagle owl and a Harris Hawk. The children were fascinated.
The pièce de résistance is the newly opened Garden Spa, housed in an adapted summer house. It is quirky and decadently luxurious. There I had my first ever mens’ facial and my wife enjoyed the full body massage. Heidi, the beauty therapist, did a wonderful job of making us feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
As they arrive guests are treated to a hot drink and freshly made warm scones and shortbread, served in the snug lounge in front of the roaring log burner.
Alongside the usual tea and coffee making facilities in the room, yummy homemade shortbread is provided and fresh organic milk is available as required. The staff were happy to continually fill up our kids’ sippy cups and bottles, all gratis.
This is an idyllic rural retreat with oodles of charm and delicious cuisine. But the best thing about Trigony House is the people who work there.
The Garden Suite starts at £165 per night. Trigony House Hotel, Closeburn, Dumfries And Galloway DG3 5EZ (01848 331211, www.trigonyhotel.co.uk)