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Learning the benefits of a staycation

“Staycation” – a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

We all love a holiday, right? I especially do, i love the excitement of being somewhere completely new and try to always pick somewhere that will give me a hefty dose of vitamin c. But after a summer full of endless airports, queue skippers and turbulence, it all gets a bit much.

As a bit of an anxious holiday-goer (more on that here), anything more than one big holiday a year is a bit too much. I would definitely call myself a homebody, i like to have all my home comforts around me and i’m generally happy just chilling at home. But i also love exploring new places, so finding a balance between the two has been so important to me.

I don’t tend to do staycations, as my mindset is, if i’m going to go anywhere, it’s gonna be abroad. When looking into holidays, we never check locally. But i wouldn’t expect us to, for our big summer holiday, and we never get the chance to go on nights away together due to the way our schedules have worked out.

I’m quite lucky that where i live is such a good base for exploring the surrounding areas. I drive an hour in one direction, i’m in Edinburgh, likely Portobello, and if i drive an hour in the other direction, i’m in St Andrews. It’s been enough for me to do day trips to these places, but why not extend it to be overnight? Especially if it’s such a short journey.

I was recently reached out to by a PR company who offered me a free stay at a local hotel in return for a review. Obviously, opportunities like this don’t present themselves often to little ol’ bloggers like myself, so if Max and i could make it work, we were bloody well gonna. The hotel was in a little town called Biggar, just outside of Edinburgh, only an hour and half’s drive from my house.

Biggar is tiny. Like, really small. There’s an A-road running through it, which eventually connects to the Edinburgh City Bypass, making it quite an easy drive if you don’t go the wrong way like i did. I ended up crying a few times and threatening to drive home but i think that’s definitely a reflection on my lack of abilities in driving treacherous back roads in the dark. The drive home, which we did properly, was absolutely fine and actually really fun.

The hotel itself, The Elphinstone Hotel, was a delight – a classic little pub/restaurant type place with rooms upstairs, the whole atmosphere made me feel so comfortable and at home. It seemed like the local dinner spot for a lot of locals; it was right on the main street, a car park out front, and typical delicious pub grub. What’s not to love?

Our room was really big, but not too big. I have an issue with rooms that are either too big or too small – i don’t like to feel too confined or like there’s a ton of hiding spots for potential murderers. We had a lovely double bed with a tv and little seating area next to the window, as well as bunk beds with their own tv. And yes, i did make the joke that Max would have somewhere to sleep if we fall out. You can’t not!

The bathroom was pretty standard – a bath/shower combo, which i always prefer, and the usual amenities. I ended up having a bath after dinner because it was freezing outside – we turned the radiators up (they were a nice homely touch) and i hopped in a steaming hot bubble bath which probably took a layer of skin off, but it’s all in the name of a review. The bubble bath smelled heavenly.

For dinner, i got the classic pub fish and chips and Max got steak pie, as well as some haggis balls and cheesy garlic bread for a starter. All in all, it was heavenly and washed down very nicely with a rhubarb and ginger gin. Breakfast was equally as good – cereals and yoghurts were laid out to pick at and we were also able to order some hot food. We probably ate about a ton of breakfast between us; the bacon was the best thing i ever tried and i was tempted to steal some of the jam.

The Elphinstone‘s thing is making sure produce is locally sourced, which myself and Max were big fans of. Scottish produce is the best, let’s not lie here, especially the jam.

Situated just an hour outside of Edinburgh, for anyone coming outside of Scotland, it serves as the perfect base for exploring a busy city, if you don’t want any of that business right outside your window. For us locals, it was a beautifully relaxing staycation that allowed us to see parts of a town we otherwise never would have visited.

Another big thing for me with holidays is the fear of not really knowing what i’m doing, in terms of supermarket etiquette or even crossing the road. In foreign countries you just have to guess as best as you can and hope that you’re doing it right. With a staycation, you’re all good. You’ve got this, you live in this country and you know exactly what it’s all about.

And just in case you needed another benefit of a staycation – you’re basically already home. The worst part of travelling for me is waiting to come home on that final day when all you want is your own bed and shower back. Staying an hour away from home means you’re basically there already, it’s just a short drive and then you can have a cup of tea in your favourite mug and get back to normal.

It’s also a great way for couples who maybe don’t have a lot of free time together to spend a night away. I work weekdays and Max works weekends, so any free time we get together really is a luxury. It more often than not involves one of us taking a day off, but with staycations you may not even have to. It was definitely what we needed after a busy few weeks.

Have you ever tried a staycation?

*Thanks to The Elphinstone Hotel and Crimson Edge PR for the complimentary stay. All opinions are my own.

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