Roulotte Retreat

UK Scotland South Scotland Scottish Borders

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Adults only
  • Hot Tubs
  • Adults Only
  • Good walks nearby
Adults-only wee caravans of love in the Scottish Borders.

Always thought you had a bit of gypsy blood in you, or are you just a little caught up in the romance of drifting around the world in a traditional hand-carved wooden caravan? Well Roulotte Retreat may just be for you. The same goes for yoga lovers and just plain lovers at this seriously sexy retreat in the Scottish Borders which offers yoga, walking, nearby horse-riding, cycling, and is an ideal, mainly adults-only getaway for two, or for groups of friends, and also accepts dogs.

There are seven sumptuous roulottes (traditional French wooden caravans) to choose from, six of them sleeping two people and one for up to four persons, and one of them – Rosa Bella – welcomes dogs. Each roulotte has its own highly individual colour and decor scheme, and all are immaculately hand-finished and boast bags of character. There are just enough creature comforts, like a proper en-suite shower and toilet, but no TV, leaving you free to focus on relaxing in your cosy hideaway in a wildflower-strewn meadow. Two of the roulottes, Gitana and Zenaya, have their very own eco hot tubs so that you and your beloved can soak under the stars – and you can see plenty of those in the dark skies in this part of the world – with a glass of bubbly in hand.

Roulotte Retreat is also home to a dog-friendly self-catering cottage, Horseshoe Cottage, which welcomes 2 well-behaved dogs and can sleep up to four people. It can be rented along with with Ruby, a gaily painted bowtop Romany caravan that sleeps two in cosy comfort. Tucked away in their own wild woodland section of the garden, the cottage and caravan have lots of room: the cottage has a large sitting room and a double and twin bedroom and comes well equipped with a dishwasher and washing machine, wood-burning stove, TV and DVD, while Ruby is a wonderfully cosy option for two after a little more privacy.  Children are also allowed to stay in the cottage but not Ruby.

The guys at Roulotte Retreat also host yoga and relaxation breaks and can arrange beauty treatments and massages as well as small intimate weddings for couples looking for something more unusual for their special day. Filled with light by day and cosily lit by night. their 1950s wooden Studio is a perfect space for events, workshops and celebrations.

Finally, despite the remote, away-from-it-all feel, Roulotte Retreat is pretty easy to get, just three miles from the extremely pleasant Borders town of Melrose, with its quaint streets and ruined abbey. There are lots of good walks nearby, including the long-distance St Cuthbert’s Way and other routes into the surrounding Eildon Hills, along with all sorts of other outdoor activities.

The Owner Says

What’s special about our place?

Couples, groups and exclusive use – yes. Caravans, tents, dogs, campervans – no. Children and dogs are welcome in Horseshoe Cottage which comes along with Ruby.

What’s special about our area?

The charming Borders market town of Melrose awaits four miles away with its gloriously ruined abbey (01896 822562). This is famously where the seminal Scottish king Robert the Bruce’s heart was buried after it was taken on Crusade. Melrose also offers boutique shops, delis, cafes and riverside walks. If staying in June, be sure to visit the Borders Book Festival. This is Scottish rugby’s heartland so look out for a Melrose RFC (01896 822993) game or the annual Sevens tournament in Spring. On the outskirts of town the former stately home of the legendary 19th century novelist Sir Walter Scott - Abbotsford House (01896 752 043) - has recently benefits from a multi-million pound refurbishment. The audio tours are superb as is the cafe. Between Melrose and Roulotte Retreat the Eildon Hills are ideal for adventurous walks with peaks to hike and trails to explore. The views across the Borders towards the English border are sublime. St Boswells is also a five minute drive away with its cafes and independent shops. The St Cuthbert’s Way, which goes to from Melrose to Lindisfarne, runs right by the site and leads down to the nearby River Tweed. Most of the local towns have what are known as Common Ridings, ancient traditions involving hundreds of riders, usually held from June–August. Rail buffs shouldn’t miss the chance to ride along Scotland’s newest railway line – the reborn 30-mile Borders Railway that links Tweedbank (5 miles from Roulotte Retreat) to Edinburgh Waverley.

Best local places to eat and drink?

Breakfast hampers can be organised for you with local produce, just order in advance when you are booking. Burt’s Hotel (01896 822285) in Melrose has a great bistro bar in a historic building with over 90 whiskies. It is also home to an award-winning restaurant serving up the best of Borders produce. The Townhouse (01896 822645) just across the road is run by the same family and offers a brasserie and a restaurant serving Borders lamb, salmon and trout. Marmions Brasserie (01896 822245) in Melrose is an excellent bistro serving delicious food and nearby in St Boswells is the local Buccleuch Arms Hotel (01835 822243) with its own bistro. Or if you are coming as a group then ask about hiring your own chef for the duration of your stay or, for weddings, Avril can organise street food-style trucks and chefs to attend.

Why stay with us?

Campfires allowed in communal fire pit. Each roulotte has en suite with powerful shower and separate modern toilet, a cooker and wood-burning stove, plus independent heating. Each roulotte has its own retro BBQ for al fresco dining. Avril offers Yoga lessons, either one-to-one or in a group, with prices depending on what you want. Ask about yoga holidays and workshops (art, photography, creative writing, etc). A path snakes around the lochan which is in the centre of the three acre site.

Accommodation

7 roulotte caravans, one of which is dog-friendly, plus a 2-bed cottage and caravan, sleeping up to 6 people.

Price

Prices range from £95–£135 per night in low season to £105–£165 per night in high season and depending on the roulotte. The price includes towels, bed linen, electricity and eco fuel for the stove.

Opening Times

Open all year, with a two-night minimum stay. However, access can be tricky if snow is severe, in which case you can park locally and be taken in by four wheel drive vehicle.

Location

Contact Website  0845 094 9729  Roulotte Retreat, Roulotte Retreat, Bowden, Melrose, The Scottish Borders TD6 0SU

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Getting There

The easiest way is from the A68. Heading either north or south take the exit for Newtown St Boswells or St Boswells, thereafter towards Bowden. A bit like a good spy novel, you’ll be given further directions from there when you make your booking. Don’t worry, it’s not far. The closest you can get by bus is St Boswells or Melrose and there is a local bus service to Bowden at certain times. There is also now a train which runs to Tweedbank and Galashiels. Local taxis are very helpful and bicycles can be hired locally and delivered to Roulotte Retreat.

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