Cham­pany Inn

West Loth­ian Con­verted farm­stead of­fers both com­fort and class

The Scots Magazine - - Eat, Drink, Sleep...the Reviews - By GARRY FRASER

THE spirit of Mary, Queen of Scots still thrives around West Loth­ian. Lin­lith­gow Palace, the place of her birth, is the most ob­vi­ous lo­ca­tion but there are places in the sur­round­ing area that bear a dis­tinct link to her through French, her first lan­guage.

One such place is Cham­pany, from the ex­pres­sion a la cam­pagne (to the coun­try), which was one of her favourite es­capes from palace life.

Cham­pany Inn, a few miles to the north of Lin­lith­gow, is a con­verted farm­stead split into four – ac­com­mo­da­tion, restau­rant, chop and ale house and wine cel­lar.

The sum of all those parts is a top-class, ex­tremely chic and ef­fi­ciently-run set-up man­aged by the mother and son part­ner­ship of Anne and Ja­son David­son.

“Mum and dad moved here 35 years ago,” says Ja­son.

“There was noth­ing but a restau­rant but over the years we’ve built it up by adding 16 rooms, a chop house and a wine shop.

“Ev­ery­thing we do is done on-site. We smoke our own salmon and butcher our own meat. Mum runs the restau­rant but she’s here al­most 24/7. Few work harder than she does.”

The restau­rant and wine shop could wait. The ac­com­mo­da­tion had to be checked out first – and I wasn’t dis­ap­pointed. It was blis­ter­ingly hot out­side, but the room was cool and airy. Sounds like a con­tra­dic­tion, but it was also cosy and wellap­pointed.

A large king-size bed boast­ing high-qual­ity linen was matched with a comfy arm­chair, and the ad­join­ing en suite had been fin­ished to a very high stan­dard. It had a nice high-pow­ered shower, some­thing I par­tic­u­larly like.

The dé­cor colour was deep with­out be­ing too dark, com­ple­mented by tar­tan cur­tains round the bay win­dow. The rooms were quiet and just the place to un­wind with one of the com­ple­men­tary drinks of­fered, ei­ther gin and tonic or whisky. I thought that was a nice, wel­com­ing touch so it seemed churl­ish not to take ad­van­tage of a pre-din­ner dram.

Be­fore din­ner, Ja­son gave me a tour of the wine cel­lar, which was spe­cially built below the wine shop. A wine con­nois­seur couldn’t ask for any­thing more such was the va­ri­ety on show.

There’s also a huge range of gins and whiskies in the bar for the per­fect pre-meal aper­i­tif.

The restau­rant was an­other win­ner, with a steak menu sup­ply­ing beef from their own

in-house butcher. The sir­loin I had was im­mac­u­late and I had the feel­ing that break­fast would also be a hit. It was, freshly cooked to or­der and a nice change from some of the buf­fet break­fasts that seem to be more pop­u­lar these days.

Cham­pany Inn couldn’t be bet­ter placed for ex­plor­ing the many his­tor­i­cal sites of the area, or for pop­ping into Ed­in­burgh. The M9 is only a stone’s throw away and a reg­u­lar train ser­vice from Lin­lith­gow will take you into the cap­i­tal in less than half an hour.

It’s a su­perb es­tab­lish­ment, up­mar­ket cer­tainly, ex­clu­sive and posh per­haps, but there is a cer­tain couthy and friendly down-to-earth­ness that makes you feel very wel­come.

It’s pretty good value, too, at £139 per night (room only) or £149 for two in­clud­ing break­fast. Check web­site for spe­cial deals. www.cham­

Split into four parts, the Inn has some­thing for ev­ery­one

The Inn’s el­e­gant restau­rant

A dream for wine con­nois­seurs

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