Scotland on Sunday Travel Wishlist - Norton House Hotel, Newbridge
A luxurious country retreat - Do Not Disturb
Norton House Hotel, Newbridge, Edinburgh
It’s hard to imagine what the outskirts of Edinburgh would have looked like in John Usher’s day, but it’s easy to be transported back to a simpler age when driving down the long driveway to Usher’s home, now Norton House Hotel. Dating back to 1840, Norton House Hotel is just 20 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh and in addition to an award-winning health club and spa, Brasserie restaurant, conservatory lounge and drawing room, it has extensive grounds. The sprawling 55 acres of lawn, gardens and woodland seem unchanged since the famous brewing family’s day and belie the hotel’s close proximity to Edinburgh airport and the M8 motorway.
Handpicked Hotels, who own Norton House, are dog-friendly, which meant I could visit with my cockapoo Archie – giving us a great excuse to explore the grounds and woodland walks.
The hotel consists of 83 bedrooms situated in the original Georgian house and more modern extension. At this time, there is a one-way system to get around, as well as hand sanitising stations and masks required in public spaces.
We stayed in the ground floor of the extension wing, with access to a small patio and garden which was ideal for the dog. These rooms have a more modern feel with wooden floors, feature headboard, ‘tilevision’ flatscreen TV in the bedroom and a TV in the ensuite.
Inside the original house there are classic rooms and suites with plush furnishings and a living area or four poster bed (in the suites).
Budget or boutique
A historic home comes with a boutique price tag, though not unaffordable given the location. Classic rooms come in at around £189 per night and Executive rooms from £211. Dogs are an extra £35 per night.
Wining and dining
The hotel has a brasserie and conservatory lounge, which have combined to offer socially distanced dining options. Guests are assigned a table for breakfast and dinner for the entirety of their stay. Classic dishes made with seasonal produce are on the menu, and for dinner we enjoyed starters of chicken liver pate with brioche toast, Scottish smoked salmon with sourdough bread and capers followed by a huge east coast fish and chips with mushy minted peas and a 35-day aged sirloin with sweet potato chips, tomato, mushrooms, watercress salad and peppercorn sauce. Dessert was a shared cheeseboard. Book breakfast at this point, or order in the morning, from a menu provided on check in, and including decadent pancakes, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and full cooked breakfast.
The hotel’s head chef, Graeme Shaw, has also created a picnic and afternoon spread using locally-sourced, fresh seasonal produce.
Guests can choose an afternoon tea take away selection to enjoy outside or in. Inside each wicker basket are salmon and cream cheese, ham, tomato salad, cheese and pickle and egg mayonnaise sandwiches.
Sweet treats are plain and fruit scones with clotted cream and fruit jams and cakes such as blueberry sponge, double chocolate brownie, ginger and pumpkin slice, tiramisu slice and fresh strawberry tart.
Worth getting out of bed for
Norton House is only 20 minutes from Edinburgh city centre, and about five from Ingliston – ideal for the Royal Highland Show. The M8 is close by, meaning you can be in Glasgow in 40 minutes. For those that want to unwind a trip to the award-winning spa is a must. During our stay the leisure facilities weren’t open yet, but there is a swimming pool, sauna and steam room in a modern glass building in the former walled garden. A smaller spa menu is available and includes massages, facials and manicures with brands like Elemis, Jessica and Ishga.
A dog bed, bowls and treats were provided along with a welcome note for both me and Archie from the GM. Full sized Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and dressing gowns are available for an in-room spa experience. Tea and coffee facilities are available, with teabags, coffee and sugar in sealed plastic bags.
Historic character with contemporary elegance.
Norton House Hotel, Ingliston, Newbridge, Edinburgh, EH28 8LX, 0131 333 1275 (www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/nortonhouse)
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