Hi Laura! Please introduce yourself and your accommodation ‘The Dundonald Guesthouse & Cottage’ to our readers.
I am Laura the owner of The Dundonald Guesthouse and Cottage in Culross Fife. Creating somewhere special for people to stay has been a long time dream for me.
Our guesthouse and cottage are set within the historic conservation village of Culross, Fife. Our accommodation comprises two kingsize guest suites in the main house which have the most wonderful views across the Firth of Forth. A guest lounge, dining room and outdoor courtyard have also been created for our guests to enjoy and treat as their own, somewhere to read the papers, listen to music or enjoy a drink.
Our adjoining cottage sleeps up to 6 and has been upgraded to offer a large light filled open plan living, kitchen and dining area, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a mezzanine with more wonderful views. A west facing terrace offers the perfect spot to relax in the afternoon sun after a day of exploring.
The Dundonald has been welcoming guests for 170 years, can you tell us a bit about its history?
The property is a Coaching Inn from circa 1850. It is named after the Dundonald family, Earls of Kincardine who lived in Culross. Coaching Inns typically provided accommodation, food and refreshments for travellers to Culross, which was at the time a trading port.
Your 1850’s Coach House Inn has been lovingly restored, how was it taking on this project and what original features have you kept?
We were lucky that when we found the property the structural work had been completed. However with my background I was eager to transform the interior and put my stamp on it.
The original staircase in the guesthouse was a labour of love but it really is one of my favourite features. Over 3 floors, the original bannisters and spindles have been restored and painted in soft hues that highlight the original curves and profiles.
We love the light streaming into both properties so have made a real feature of the hardwood sash and case windows with original panelling, we have kept these pared back and use the deep sills as extra display surfaces for books, lamps and objects.
High ceilings, original corbels and cornicing have all been saved where possible and closely matched where not. Contemporary statement light fixtures features have been installed throughout and the juxtaposition between the period features and the modern fixtures is the perfect balance of old and new.
The restored exterior stone work on both the house and the cottage as well as the terracotta pan tiled roof of the cottage gather lots of admiring looks from passers by. We can’t wait until we can finally have guests inside the properties so that all of the interior features can also be enjoyed.
It’s clear to see that the design and aesthetic of the restoration have been carefully considered, can you tell us a bit about what inspired the look, did you design this yourself?
We have spent the last 20 years travelling and living abroad for work and have experienced some wonderful boutique hotels and holiday spots on our travels. Our favourites being Copenhagen, Croatia, Majorca, Lisbon, Tulum & the Muskoka Lakes in Canada.
These travels coupled with a career and passion in Interior Design inspired us to return home and create something special of our own. All of these places have inspired the design in some way.
The focus was on how we would like our guests to feel when they come to stay. The relaxed, warm and welcoming space was created by mixing old and new, sourcing furniture from different periods then layering in soft furnishings, books, art, music and candles to give soul. Choosing natural materials that are classic and will only get better with age ensure that nothing is too precious. A home away from home.
What stand out features are you most proud of?
I am proud of the whole project, we have created this together as a family and are so excited to share it with our guests and the local community. We feel honoured that we get to be owners and custodians of such a fine building with so much history and stories.
I love that your guest rooms are named ‘Serfs’ & ‘Kentigerns’ inspired by legendary folklore tales, can you share a bit more insight into these tales and how you came about naming your rooms after them.
As Culross is one of the starting points of the Pilgrims journeying through Fife to St Andrews we felt it befitting to name both of our guest rooms after two local saints.
Saint Mungo, also known as Saint Kentigern was born in Culross and is the patron saint and founder of the City of Glasgow.
As a young man Saint Serf travelled across Europe, eventually finding himself in what is now Scotland settling in Culross, Fife.
You are very lucky to be located in such a beautiful part of Scotland; Culross in Fife. Can you share a bit about what its like where you are to people who haven’t yet visited?
Culross sits on the Firth of Forth, 10 miles west of Dunfermline in Fife. A short 45 minute drive from Edinburgh it is Scotlands best preserved 17th century village.
A small coastal village with cobbled causeways, beautifully preserved buildings painted in rich heritage colours, small coffee shops, galleries, gardens and an Outlander filming location mean that Culross is a unique and popular place for tourists.
Full of historic architectural landmarks, Culross Abbey, Culross Palace and Dunimarle Castle and beautiful views across the Firth make Culross a great location for both history and photography enthusiasts. As well as those who just like to sip a coffee and watch the world go by and take in all of the beauty that is Culross.
What would you recommend seeing and doing nearby to your guests?
We encourage our guests to bring their walking boots. As the start of both the Pilgrim Way and Fife Coastal Path, Culross has so many wonderful walking trails.
As a National Trust for Scotland site, Culross has some wonderful historic sites and as well as some of the best preserved architecture in Scotland. Wandering the cobbles and exploring every corner of the village, it feels as though you are stepping back in time. Sipping tea and eating freshly baked scones on the grounds of the 17th Century palace is not to be missed.
Are there any small businesses locally that you like to share with people visiting?
We love to recommend a couple of our local eateries, Bessie Bar Cafe for tea and scones, the award wining Red Lion Inn for great quality pub grub and some local banter and our new weekend lunch spot Stickman Taco Food Truck.
As we see Scotland gradually open up again, and travel will soon be permitted, what are you most excited about when you are able to welcome back guests? Do you have any new plans or changes on the horizon that you would like to share?
We are so excited to be opening our doors this May to welcome our very first guests. With bookings already in the calendar we are busily working in our outdoor courtyard to get it spring ready for our guests to enjoy.
We are also looking forward to being able to offer guests the opportunity to take a little part of The Dundonald experience home with them. We have worked with a few local makers to source amazing coffee, honey and candles that we serve/use here and that will be available for purchase.
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?
LAURA WILSON, THE DUNDONALD
Thank you so much Laura, where can we find out more about you online?
Visit our newly launched website
Follow The Dundonald on Instagram
Book at stayhere
It really is a family affair here at The Dundonald, our daughter is responsible for designing and building our website, creating the branding as well as managing the social media.