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Striking Gold in the Scottish Borders

Press release   •   Aug 27, 2018 09:59 BST

Sylvia Matthews (left) from Windlestraw with VisitScotland Industry Relationship Manager Hélène Sinclair

A LUXURY restaurant with rooms situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders has achieved VisitScotland’s most prestigious Quality Assurance (QA) accolade.

Windlestraw, an Edwardian manor overlooking the Tweed Valley in Walkerburn, is home to an intimate restaurant, gardens and six bedrooms.

VisitScotland’s five star gold Quality Assurance Award recognises serviced accommodation businesses which achieve the highest levels of excellence. Businesses that achieve the award excel in areas of customer care and hospitality. Windlestraw is the only restaurant with rooms to hold the coveted five star gold in the Scottish Borders.

Set within two acres of landscaped grounds, Windlestraw was originally built in 1906 as a wedding gift for the future wife of the Scottish cashmere mill owner, John King Ballantyne. The establishment offers a unique venue for a variety of events, from corporate meetings to special celebrations or for guests seeking a romantic getaway.

The ‘restaurant with rooms’ was also crowned Most Hospitable Hotel for Lothian & Borders at the 2017/18 Regional Thistle Awards. Windlestraw boasts a Taste Our Best award for its use of local and quality Scottish produce.

John and Sylvia Matthews, owners of Windlestraw, said: “We are thrilled to have received this award. We are passionate about Windlestraw, Walkerburn and the Tweed Valley and we are absolutely delighted to reach this milestone and be recognised amongst the very best in Scotland. Full credit to our small team – head chef Stu and housekeepers Lizzy and Emily – who continue to raise the bar for hospitality in the region. We believe that the Borders is a ‘’must everything’’….visit, stay, do, dine, explore, return in any Scottish travel itinerary. Thank you to the Visit Scotland team for all their support.

Paula Ward, Regional Leadership Director of VisitScotland, said: Congratulations to John and Sylvia on this fantastic achievement. Their restaurant with rooms is a shining example of the quality experience on offer in the Scottish Borders. It is great to see their hard work and commitment to providing a quality service being recognised firstly at the Scottish Thistle Awards and now with this prestigious award.

“Our Quality Assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business, driving-up quality and creating jobs.

“Delivering a quality experience that meets, and exceeds, visitor expectations is crucial in making Scotland a must-visit, must-return destination.”

VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance schemes can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.

For more information, visit:

For more information on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, please visit

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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • Equality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • Enterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • Culture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.