Stay and play: Macdonald Cardrona, Peebles

Macdonald Cardrona is a jewel in the heart of the Scottish borders nestled at the bottom of the Tweed Valley.

Roughly 25 miles south of the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh City Centre is the tranquil and quaint village of Cardrona – the perfect destination for any trip to the Scottish Borders. Not only will you be impressed with the quality of the courses available, you’ll also be blown away by the picturesque surroundings.

With an on-site Championship golf course and an abundance of non-golfing outdoor activities to enjoy in the surrounding areas, Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa is the perfect place for families, groups of golfers, and even couples looking for a romantic (and golf-focused) getaway.

Macdonald Cardrona boasts 99 spacious bedrooms


The four-star hotel has 99 spacious bedrooms with all the amenities you could expect. There are amazing views to be enjoyed from every room, with many overlooking the golf course.

Each room is equipped with rich, soft furnishings, elegant decor, and an en-suite bathroom complete with a bathtub and separate shower.

If golf isn’t your first choice for passing the time away, you can relax in the luxurious spa or take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness suite. Both are free for hotel guests, though treatments are not included.

Enjoy amazing food in Renwick's Restaurant at Macdonald Cardrona


While the prices might be a tad eye-watering, the food at Renwick’s Restaurant is simply sensational and predicated on locally sourced organic ingredients.

For lighter snacks and more casual drinks, you can grab a seat in Spike’s Bar or head over to the lounge and bar where the champagne and scotch flow regularly.

Golf at Macdonald Cardrona offers stunning views of the Scottish Borders


The golf course at Macdonald Cardrona is a serious competitor for taking the top spot as the best course in the Scottish Borders region, challenging the likes of nearby Peebles, Hawick, and Roxburghe.

The course was designed by Dave Thomas and opened for play in 2001. The 6,586-yard par 72 track is a slog to walk – especially if you carry. I’d recommend hiring a buggy or using an electric trolley at the very least. I found out the hard way that carrying isn’t fun.

Before making your way to the first tee, there is a large practice area and vast chipping/putting green to warm up.

Starting with a straight par-5, measuring 506 yards sounds incredibly friendly, but when it plays uphill, into the prevailing wind, and with out-of-bounds running all the way down the right-hand side, it really isn’t as friendly as it sounds. This is definitely a sign of what’s to come.

The 2nd hole takes you further away from the hotel and up towards the remains of Horsburgh Castle. The next two holes bring you back towards the hotel and are much more straightforward.

To play holes, five, six, and seven you need to pop across the River Tweed momentarily, where you’re met by three quirky holes, before making your way back across the river that slaloms through the Border region. The 8th hole is very straightforward, running parallel to the 18th, and offers some much-needed respite ahead of a challenging stretch of holes.

The golf course at Macdonald Cardrona weaves its way around the River Tweed

Heading out to the ninth is when you’ll start regretting (if you haven’t already) not hiring a buggy or using an electric trolley – if you decide to carry or push. You venture across the River Tweed once again to play a fiddly par 3, before starting the back nine which was my preference.

Holes 10, 11, 12, and 13 have the rolling hills as the backdrop as you play out with the River Tweed running down the left-hand side of every hole.

The turn for home begins with the final par 5 of the course, the 14th, where you play towards Cardrona Village which is well worth a visit if you have the time. The 15th is the first of four par 4s to finish.

The most spectacular hole is reserved for the 16th, which is very similar to some iconic holes such as the 4th on the Duke’s Course at Woburn Golf Club and the 16th on the Colt’s Course at Close House. I’ll now boastfully share that I played that hole very well – although I was inches away from disaster.

To finish you cross the River Tweed for the final time, but not before you pass the daunting black tee box which is on the opposite side of the river to the hole, and makes the 18th play as a par 5.

The final hole has the practice area and hotel (well out of range) to the right. It’s a fairly challenging finish, tired golfers will need a second wind to prevent losing a tee shot left (in the river) or right (OB). The second shot doesn’t get any easier with a pond to the right of the green just waiting to ruin your round.

It’s definitely a test, and you can see why the course is eligible for hosting Tour events which they did in 2023 – the Tartan Pro Tour.


As already alluded to, there are a whole host of other activities and facilities to take advantage of when staying at MacDonald Cardrona. You could easily pass by a couple of days without even feeling the need to leave the hotel!

It’s not only the golf course that attracts people to MacDonald Cardrona, the Spa serves as an ideal country retreat where you can escape, relax, and let time pass by. If for some reason, you do wish to leave the hotel, apart from the Championship golf course, there are some other fantastic places to walk.

Exploring the Scottish Border region has never been easier, with this hotel being in the heart of the Tweed Valley. Other outdoor activities are available, such as cycling, fishing, and even canoeing if you luck out with the weather

Stay and play at Macdonald Cardrona for as little as £95 per person


A dinner and golf package at Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa includes one night B&B, dinner in Renwick’s Restaurant, and two rounds of golf.

Prices start from just £95 per person, subject to availability. Offer is ongoing and based on two people sharing a twin or double room.

To book visit Macdonald Hotels.

About the author

James Hogg is a Golf Equipment Writer for Today's Golfer, with expert knowledge in putters, golf balls, and apparel.

James Hogg – Golf Equipment Writer

James Hogg is a golf equipment writer for

He has a degree in English Language from Newcastle University and an MA in Journalism from Kingston University.

James previously worked for American Golf alongside his studies as part of the sales and fitting team. Having worked in golf retail for seven years he has all the skills and knowledge necessary to review and recommend the perfect equipment for golfers of all abilities and has a strong knowledge of putters, golf balls, and golf apparel, including trousers.

Despite nobody else in James’ family playing golf he took a keen interest as a teenager which saw him become a junior member at Saltburn Golf Club, North Yorkshire. Since returning to Teesside in 2022 James has joined his home course, Cleveland Golf Club. His handicap index is 4.7 thanks to consistent distance off the tee.

Away from golf, James enjoys a multitude of sports, specifically watching Formula 1, American Football and Horse Racing. He’s also a proud supporter of Middlesbrough FC, likes cooking and reading travel literature.

James uses a Callaway Mavrik SZ DriverCallaway Mavrik SZ 3-WoodTaylorMade Stealth UDI 3-ironPing i210 Irons (4-PW), Cobra King Snakebite 50° Wedge, Mizuno S23 56° and 60° WedgesTaylorMade Spider X Putter and a TaylorMade Tour Response Stripe golf ball.

You can contact James via email for loads more golf equipment insight.

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