The Horseshoe Inn stands in the heart of the small village of Eddleston, on the A703 some five miles north of Peebles and 13 miles south of the Edinburgh bypass. At first sight, the Inn appears to differ little from many others built to service the needs of residents and passing traffic in villages across Scotland. Its classification by the AA and STB as a Four Star Restaurant with Rooms, and its award by the AA of 3 Rosettes for its dining, gives a stronger clue as to why it is rather special: the Horseshoe Inn is increasingly becoming a destination in its own right for those seeking out the best of Scotland's dining. You can read our dining review for the Horseshoe Inn here. It is worth noting that the Inn is normally closed on a Monday, bank holidays excepted.
The Horseshoe Inn started life as a blacksmith's smiddy and the depth of character this implies continues to add to the experience of visiting today. Meanwhile, just to its rear is The Lodge, which was built as the village primary school in the Victorian era. This houses the Inn's accommodation. Since 2005 the Inn has been run by husband and wife team Patrick and Vivienne Bardoulet. They have developed it into what you see today, with Vivienne running the front of house and Patrick conjuring magic in the kitchen.
The front door of the Inn leads through into an attractive reception area. To the left of this is the lounge, complete with comfortable sofas and a fireplace, plus ceiling beams that add a lot of atmosphere. In the lounge you can begin to appreciate the superb artwork that is hung on the walls or otherwise displayed throughout the Inn, much of it for sale. Carrying on through the lounge brings you into the bistro and bar, another welcoming space with wood beams and a lot of character. The large, horseshoe shaped windows which front both the lounge and bar help sign off the exterior of the Inn. Had you turned right from the reception area, you would have entered Bardoulet's Restaurant. Here words like "refined" and "opulent" spring to mind, while the walls are adorned with more excellent artwork and a magnificent gold coloured mirror.
The Lodge stands beyond the Inn's car park. As an aside, it is worth noting that the car park is signposted from the main road up a side road 20-30 yards south of the Inn, and cannot be reached by the minor roads which go up either side of the Inn itself.
The Lodge's origins as a school are obvious if you look, but by no means overwhelming. There are eight guest rooms in all: five double rooms, two twin rooms and a family room. All come extremely well equipped. The high quality decor varies in theme from room to room, but has in common a slight boutique edge which adds to the experience without ever getting in the way. Add a dispenser for chilled water, a mini fridge for your fresh milk, fresh fruit and Patrick's superb cookies on the tea and coffee tray, and you get the sense that just about everything has been though of: including one of the best guest information books you will see anywhere.
Given its ambience and its food, it is no surprise to find that the Horseshoe Inn is popular for functions and events and, while it is not licenced to host weddings, it can be an ideal location for a wedding reception.
Disabled access to the Inn is via the front door, and the main floor of the Inn is largely level, with two steps to the restaurant. A disabled toilet is provided. The Lodge has ramp access, combined with level access to some guest rooms, though none are specially adapted.
The Horseshoe Inn has an excellent reputation and we approached it with high expectations. You can read our dining review for the Horseshoe Inn here, but it is possible to summarise by saying that the food is simply outstanding. There is a sense in which the Horseshoe Inn itself, and the Lodge, provide the frame within which the artistry produced by Patrick Bardoulet in the kitchen can be displayed to its best advantage. High quality art needs a high quality frame, and it is clear that a great deal of work has gone into providing exactly the right sort of setting and ambience to show off the food, which, when combined with outstanding service from a small team, makes the Horseshoe Inn somewhere you will want to return to.