The Scottish Borders are often overlooked by visitors to Scotland but that shouldn’t be the way things are because the Borders are beautiful and well worth a visit. There’s so much to see and do in the Borders, from fishing, horse-riding and cycling to shopping and fine dining. There are also some fine castles, great houses and dazzling gardens to visit. And, speaking of beautiful borders, there are none finer than the herbaceous borders at Floors Castle, Kelso.
On a bright autumn day, it’s great to get out and about so, when the sun was shining last week, we jumped in the car and headed to Floors Castle for lunch at the Terrace café and a walk around the grounds and gardens.
Floors Castle sits on the edge of Kelso, a pretty market town in the Scottish Borders, just over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and Newcastle. The castle is at the heart of the Roxburghe Estates and is home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe. Designed in 1721, by leading Edinburgh architect William Adam, the castle was originally a symmetrical Georgian country house. However, between 1837 and 1847, the castle was remodelled into the grand building we see today.
Inside the castle, visitors can see fine art, porcelain and some newly restored tapestries. Outside, there are formal and informal gardens, a woodland walk and a riverside walk. There are two cafés and an adventure playground too.
Outside the Terrace Cafe, the once magnificent display of Agapanthus was just coming to an end but there was still plenty to make us smile: not just in the garden but the delicious food too! The menu at the Terrace Café changes on a fairly regular basis, which means there’s always something new to try. I’ve had all sorts of different dishes there and been impressed with every one. My summer favourite was the Meze – a platter with artichoke hearts, aubergines, halloumi, hummus, pitta and olives. The soups are always delicious and they are served with the café’s famous ‘Flowerpot bread’ – individual loaves baked in miniature terracotta pots – how fitting for dining in a walled garden.
On this visit, hot off the new autumn menu, I had Butter Roasted New Season Leeks and Creamy Ricotta Tart with a Garden Herb Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Delicious and light pastry with a tasty, creamy filling. The cakes and pastries here should not be overlooked: in the chilled cabinet, dainty eclairs rub shoulders with strawberry tartlets and the cheesecake of the day, whilst by the till sit all manner of tempting traybakes and mouthwatering cakes. I didn’t have room for a cake but, knowing how delicious they are, I just had to get some to take home. As well as serving cakes to take away, the café incorporates a great little deli. For anyone holidaying in the area, there are some handy ready meals in the freezer and locally produced milk in the fridge.
The grounds and gardens are dog-friendly and, after enjoying the walled garden and the newly refurbished garden, we enjoyed the Riverside Walk with our West Highland White Terrier, Tilly.
Please visit the website for opening times: http://www.roxburghe.net/castle