The Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar, South Lanarkshire.


A traditional coaching inn, The three-star Elphinstone has been welcoming weary travellers for more than 400 years and has a rich history attached to it.

Notable guests who have picked up a room key included Captain Robert Riddell and Captain Francis Grose, who were friends of Robert Burns, on May 1787. The poet is also known to have visited the picturesque Lanarkshire town.

When some outbuildings were demolished in 1947, it has been said that a groat of Queen Elizabeth I of England was found in the grounds.

The hotel continues to be a popular stopping-point for travellers travelling up from beyond the border or en-route to Edinburgh. Their busiest time is during the Royal Highland Show, in June, when they can serve hot meals to up to 200 guests.

It's bigger than it looks from the outside with a bar and separate lounge, complete with cosy fire (a couple of comfy armchairs next to it wouldn't go amiss) 11 bedrooms a function room and restaurant.


Our room is basic but its cosy, spotlessly clean and comfortable and we enjoy a restful night. There is complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits, which sadly doesn't seem to be standard anymore in hotels and guest houses. All rooms have flat screen digital TV’s, free WiFi as well as access to hair dryer and ironing facilities and en suite.


Boasting a home-cooked menu with an emphasis on locally sourced produce, there is plenty to suit all palates. While their focus is on hearty favourites such as Cullen Skink soup, fillet steak and roast beef, they have a few vegetarian options including a homemade bean burger and the lunch menu includes a wide range of wraps, sandwiches, ciabattas, and baked potatoes.

If you have any room left - and the portion sizes are generous - the sundae menu is a sight to behold for those with a sweet tooth. The Rob Roy is classfied '18 only' and comes with layers of crushed shortbread, vanilla ice-cream and hot Drambuie sauce.


The town is blanketed in snow during our visit which adds to the impression that time has stood still. It's easy to imagine the horse and carriages drawing up.

The town's wide main street gives away its medieval past as a market town and shops include an award-winning grocer, a famous ice cream and chocolate shop.

The Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum, which opened in 2015 at a cost of £2million is well worth a visit and there are plenty of walking opportunities in the rolling hills of the borders.


The staff are really lovely, friendly and helpful without being over attentive and a credit to owner Robert and Janette Allen who manage the hotel along with their son, Michael.


Biggar lies on the A72 Clyde Valley Tourist Route, close to Lanark, Peebles and the River Tweed as well as the Clyde and is South Lanarkshire's gateway to the Borders. It boasts spectacular views of Tinto Hill, the highest hill in the region and there many scenic walks in the area, through the Biggar Country Path network. Famous faces from Biggar include the poet Hugh MacDairmid (1892 - 1978)

Rates start at £56 for a single room,breakfast included. For bookings go to