Dod Mill’s location is towards the north of the Scottish Borders, near the boundary with the Lothians. That makes it a brilliant place to stay for visiting both the Borders area and Edinburgh, a very easy day-trip away. The English border and Northumberland are within easy reach.
There is SO much we could say about this fantastic part of the world. You can literally see all of Scotland from this one corner. It has the history, it has the scenery, it has the culture. Come for the landscape, the wildlife, the castles, the grand country houses, the arts, the music, the festivals, the food, the walks, the drives, the cycles, the rides, the friendly hospitality, the characters, the peace and the tranquility. Scotland Starts Here, as they say. Here are just a few highlights, starting with our local town – the Royal Burgh of Lauder.
Royal Burgh of Lauder
Lauder (pronounced Law-der), is small but perfectly formed. It’s 4 miles away, has everything a visitor to the area could need in terms of amenities and also a few “things to do”:
Shopping & services
- The Spotty Dog deli is wonderful for cheeses, wine, local beers, biscuits, bread, local eggs, deli ingredients, and excellent coffee, cake and bacon rolls (you can sit in or take-away) – usually open until 5pm.
- The Purple Plum has excellent fruit and veg – there is always something different to try. Usually open until 6pm.
- Shaws Fine Meats is known across Scotland for its Scottish Borders lamb, beef, pork, poultry as well as delicious sausages and “Scotch Pies” – – usually open until 5.30pm (less on Saturday).
- Lauder Bakery has freshly baked bread and bakes – open until 4.30pm on weekdays, shorter hours on Saturday.
- Co-Op at Lauder petrol station has everything you need really – it’s not huge but definitely adequate! Open 5am until midnight every day.
- Also in Lauder: Pharmacy, Post Office (which also sells award-winning Giapaccia’s ice cream), petrol station, small soft play café, doctor’s surgery, hairdresser, beauty salon, fire brigade.
- Restaurants & cafes: see “Eating Out” section below.
- Visit a fairytale Scottish castle: Thirlestane Castle is home to the Duke of Lauderdale and is one of Scotland’s oldest and finest castles. It’s open to the public Sunday to Thursday in the summer months. Beautiful grounds and fascinating tours of a castle dating back to 1590. It replaced an earlier castle dating to the 1200s, the ruins of which can be seen a mile from Dod Mill as you drive north on the A697. 20% off entry price for Dod Mill guests (voucher on arrival).
- Experience a Scottish Afternoon Tea or Scottish High Tea: Carfraemill, a few miles away, serves a traditional Scottish Afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones, mini cakes, meringues, traybakes, served with plenty of cups of tea or coffee. All of it is homemade and a real treat, especially if you add a glass of prosecco. The more substantial High Tea, is unique to Scotland – a traditional meal enjoyed on holidays and days out, usually in the late afternoon or early evening. The meal starts with options including fish and chips (a Scottish favourite as much as an English favourite) or homemade steak pie. The second course is exactly the same as an afternoon tea – scones, meringues, mini cakes, traybakes and lots and lots of tea and coffee.
- Walk the Southern Upland Way: it’s possible to walk from Dod Mill to join the Southern Upland Way near Lauder – then head east towards the coast or west towards Melrose.
- Cycle the Tour de Lauder: the annual Tour de Lauder cycle race is held in the Spring. All year round, there are brilliant road cycle routes from Dod Mill – a very short stint (200m) on the A697 takes you to wonderful minor roads over hills and through open landscapes.
- Lauder Common Riding: early August, this local event is not to be missed! Hundreds of horses and riders gather to partake in the ancient practice of checking the boundaries of the town’s common lands. Great spectator event.
The local area has lots of options for Eating Out – breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee, cake, afternoon tea, and also for drinks. A few of our favourites:
- Firebrick Brasserie. Lauder: wonderful local restaurant which has won lots of fine dining awards in recent years. Expect outstanding local produce on the frequently-changing menu, and don’t miss out on the puddings – they are divine. Please mention you’re staying at Dod Mill – you’ll get a warm welcome and the chef is always very good to our guests!
- Carfraemill, near Lauder: a few miles north of Lauder (5 mins from Carfraemill). Excellent all rounder serving home-cooked and locally sourced food. Go for homemade soup, beautiful baking, hearty dinners, excellent steak, and for afternoon tea or high tea. Very popular for Sunday Roasts. Open all day every day. 10% off food for Dod Mill guests! (Voucher on arrival).
- The Thistle Inn, Westruther: traditional pub, just 10 minutes away, known for its steaks!
- Flat Cat Gallery, Lauder: good for coffee, baking and light lunches.
- Spotty Dog, Lauder: excellent coffee, croissants, bacon rolls, light lunches, baking.
- The Hoebridge, Gattonside: one of Scotland’s most stylish restaurants serving a short, seasonal menu which changes every month. Superb cocktails.
- The Hoebridge Café, Mellerstain the little sister of The Hoebridge at Gattonside is equally stylish and has as much attention to detail when it comes to coffee, cake and lunches. Open for the Summer season at Mellerstain House.
- Provender, Melrose known for producing “upmarket eats in the Scottish Borders, this is an outstanding restaurant run by the talented Orde family – foodie greats in the region. Expect fresh, local, seasonal and interesting dishes.
- Mainstreet Trading Company, St Boswells: lovely stop for coffee and a browse in their wonderful bookshop, deli and home shop. Frequent Author evenings – they attract big names so it’s worth checking for events during your stay.
This region is like a mini version of the whole of Scotland – there are loads of castles and country houses, history, walks, culture, tartan making, whisky making and more!
- Abbotsford House, Melrose: the home of Scotland’s literary great, Sir Walter Scott
- Floors Castle, Kelso
- Thirlestane Castle, Lauder
- Mellerstain House and Gardens, near Gordon as well as the Border Sculpture Park
- Manderston House, Duns
- Duns Castle, Duns
- Bowhill House, Selkirk
- Lochcarron Visitor Centre, Selkirk – makes much of Scotland’s tartan
- Borders Distillery – new distillery making the region’s first malt whisky and some craft gin, excellent visitor centre.
- 7Stanes, Glentress mountain biking trails
- St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve
- Melrose Abbey, Kelso Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey and Dryburgh Abbey
- Scott’s View
- The Eildon Hills
- The River Tweed
The Royal Mile
Royal Yacht Brittania
National Museum of Scotland
Palace of Holyrood
The Real Mary King’s Close
Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh New Town
Royal Botanic Gardens
Edinburgh Festival and Fringe Festival
Preston Mill (East Lothian)
Blackness Castle (West Lothian)
It’s just 30 minutes to the English border at Coldstream (A697 entry to England) and 40 minutes to Carter Barr (A68 entry to England). You can make very easy day trips to the following sites:
Anwick Castle and Gardens
Lindisfarne (Holy Island)