Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Scottish Staycation - A Trip to The Stair Arms, Midlothian near Edinburgh


Readers, how are you?!  Surviving this rainy, windy and generally awful winter where we left the EU, then Coronavirus came, then we tried to avoid the multitude of storms that had names?  Sorry, I’ll stop.

On a cheerier note, this Glasgow travel (and food) blogger, headed off on a staycation with Mr What Claire Did last weekend, to The Stair Arms, a lovely family owned traditional coaching inn, at Pathhead, Midlothian (for those of you from further afield – nearish to Edinburgh). We were gifted a dinner, bed and breakfast stay at the hotel.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

The Stair Arms is family owned and we were greeted by some lovely members of the family during our stay – from the girl on reception when we arrived, to our waitress at dinner.

The hotel has recently undergone an intensive refurbishment programme, with the rooms and bathrooms being refurbished, followed by the bar and restaurant area in the main part of the hotel.  It’s modern Scottish – with touches of tartan – painted in hues of sage and light grey.  It feels cosy and welcoming, yet not twee.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

The hotel is on the main route to the borders – making for a great pit stop if you’re on a tour of Scotland, or for a quick lunch or takeaway coffee on a long drive.   We stayed in room 11, which had big windows and view of the garden, complete with picnic tables – a great summer beer garden, just sadly not to be visited during our visit, as the latest of the storms raged on outside The Stair Arms during our visit!

We arrived late afternoon and made ourselves a cuppa with the tea and coffee facilities in the room, then watched some tv from the comfort of our big, soft bed.  The room was clean and spacious, with modern d├ęcor and bedlinen.  There was a decent selection of biscuits…. 3 packets!  Although confession, we didn’t get around to eating them as we’d booked in for dinner.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did


The Stair Arms restaurant is popular with both residents and locals from the community.  It was busy when we arrived at 8pm on Saturday night, with couples and family groups celebrating special occasions.  The hotel had two menus – their regular menu with bar favourites and then the Steakhouse menu, which had a special 50% off deal.  The hotel run this regularly during the winter months – keep an eye out as it’s excellent value.   We had starters from the regular menu – I enjoyed the shredded beef, which came deep fried in batter and served with chilli sauce.  Mr What Claire Did had the chicken liver pate, served with oatcakes and a side salad.  Both were generous starter portions and arrived hot from the kitchen.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

With such a great deal on the steakhouse menu, we went for the venison chateaubriand for two at an amazing £25 FOR BOTH OF US. We honestly couldn’t believe it.  Perthshire venison, cooked medium to our liking (properly seared and rested before service) with tomatoes, mushrooms, onion rings and triple cooked chips.   We’ve never ordered chateaubriand before, for fear that there isn’t enough meat and you leave hungry, however, this was definitely not an issue at The Stair Arms.  Deal didn’t mean small portions!  There was plenty of food to go around us both and we definitely didn’t feel hungry.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

We spotted someone ordering the Tomahawk which was HUGE and at £33 as part of the deal, it was a total bargain.  A fillet steak with sides came in at £15 and all we watched a number of diners enjoying the special deal. It’s rare to see this on a Saturday night where we live, however, it clearly brought the locals out even in the worst of weather and it’s lovely to see the community supporting their local restaurant.

Feeling it would be rude not to take advantage of the desserts on offer to us, Mr What Claire did ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding (arriving as a slab!) and I went for an ice cream sundae with meringue. Both of us struggled to finish our desserts, but what we did manage was lovely.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

Full of food, we headed back to our room and enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep – it was so quiet – in our cozy room.  Despite the storm outside, with the thick curtains shut and the heating on, we were warm and comfortable.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

Breakfast was served in the restaurant where we’d been the night before, with a selection of small cereal boxes and orange juice to help yourself to, on the bar.    Toast was brought to our table and we were offered either tea or coffee.  Breakfast is included in the room rate, however, non residents can also pop by and enjoy the cooked menu, priced from £2.95 for a breakfast roll, to £9.95 for a full breakfast platter.

We’d had so much for dinner, we didn’t have a huge amount, however, both ordered a breakfast roll which was on a toasted scotch morning roll, with plenty of filling and plenty of sauce to set us up for the day.

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

I can’t fault the staff at the hotel – they were friendly, professional and nothing was too much bother.  We had a small issue with the hot water in our room which I mentioned on departure (old plumbing – we understand!) which was dealt with professionally by the lady at front of house on checkout.   The hotel is great value for those passing through the area, or perhaps attending a wedding or function at the hotel, with a double room including breakfast priced at £75.00 during peak season.  We’d consider this good value and have paid much more to stay at hotels not nearly as clean or well decorated.    It was lovely to have an overnight stay in an independently owned Scottish hotel, that didn’t feel like the sorts of soulless corporate hotels we keep finding across the country!

The Stair Arms by Travel Blogger What Claire Did

The Stair Arms serves food from 8am to 9pm and for more information and to book visit their website.    You can also follow the hotel on Facebook and Instagram.


Disclaimer - we were gifted an overnight stay at the hotel, including dinner. Any opinions expressed are my own. 



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