The Old School B&B, Dalleagles, New Cumnock, East Ayrshire

A+ for dinner, bed & breakfast, a relaxing stay and good hosts!

Some people believe that a higher star rating means a better place to stay, which might seem obvious, but achieving a star rating is a bit of a check-box exercise – is there on-site parking? Are there uniformed staff? Are there conference facilities? Do I really care about conference facilities if I’m booking a weekend break?!

I also know people who have never stayed, and have no intention of staying in a B&B, “why would you want to stay at someone’s house when you could stay at a 4-star hotel (…with its lovely big empty unused conference rooms)?” Well, if you do a web-search for accommodation in East Ayrshire you’ll find a luxurious 4-star hotel which was voted “Scotland’s Best Wedding Venue” in 2010, 2012 and 2013 which is quite an acclaim, however you’ll also find a cosy little B&B called The Old School which actually has better reviews than this particular hotel, so they must be doing a lot right! We spent a night there to find out…

The Old School B&B is, as the name suggests, a former primary school in the East Ayrshire countryside, just outside New Cumnock, and being a former school, the choice of bedrooms relate to school subjects, there are Art, History, Science and Geography rooms to choose from; we opted for the latter which is a large spacious room with four poster wrought-iron bed, desks, sofa, TV & tea & coffee making facilities. On arrival we were greeted by owners Mike & Liz who showed us to our room…

The Bedroom

The Old School B&B - Geography Room

The Old School B&B – Geography Room

The Old School B&B - Geography Room

The Old School B&B – Geography Room

The en-suite had a huge bath as well as a shower and make-up removal pads and wee disposal bags, which is a great idea!

The Old School B&B - Geography Room en-suite

The Old School B&B – Geography Room en-suite

Attractive wash-basin with good quality Champneys toiletries and face cloths.

The Old School B&B - Geography room en-suite sink

The Old School B&B – Geography room en-suite sink

It’s fitting that the geography room should also have an antique globe in the room.

The Old School B&B - Geography room globe

The Old School B&B – Geography room globe

After unpacking we moved onto the spacious living room, which was really toasty as the stove was on.

Although The Old School is a B&B they do also provide evening meals which is a great bonus as there isn’t much in the way of restaurants in the local area. We put our dinner request in via email before we arrived and while we waited for dinner Liz brought us tea, coffee and homemade shortbread – which was lovely.

The Old School B&B -  living room

The Old School B&B – living room

The Old School B&B - cosy stove fire in living room

The Old School B&B – cosy stove fire in living room

There’s a cabinet of DVDs in the hallway if you’d like to watch something in your room and there are heritage walk leaflets for nearby Dalmellington & Kilmarnock and an Ordnance Survey map on the wall if you’re looking for inspiration for countryside walks.

Dinner

The Old School B&B - Dining & breakfast room

The Old School B&B – Dining & breakfast room

The Old School B&B - Dining & breakfast room

The Old School B&B – Dining & breakfast room

The place-mats continue the school theme – and each one is unique!

The Old School B&B - Play games while you eat!

The Old School B&B – Play games while you eat!

And there’s some interesting artwork on the walls of the dining room, and this particular painting is a remnant from an art exhibition that took place at The Old School.

The Old School B&B - Dining room artwork

The Old School B&B – Dining room artwork

We had 2 courses each. The lamb was delicious, perfectly cooked and full of flavour and all the veggies were perfect too!

The Old School B&B - Lamb dinner

The Old School B&B – Lamb shank

The medium-rare steak was tender and meaty and of obvious good quality, it came with the same assortment of vegetables which were all perfect.

The Old School B&B - Steak dinner

The Old School B&B – Steak dinner

For pudding we both had Cranachan which was lovely, creamy and quite-filling with fresh raspberries on top. Bliss!

The Old School B&B - Cranachan dessert

The Old School B&B – Cranachan dessert

After that we were stuffed and made our way back to our room to chill out,  make use of the huge bath and then fall asleep in the huge comfy super king size bed…

Breakfast

As well as the usual assortment of cereals, yoghurts and fresh fruit, there’s also a selection of homemade jam, lemon and lime curd.

The Old School B&B - homemade jams and curds

The Old School B&B – homemade jams and curds

For hot items we both opted for a full breakfast, which was again cooked to perfection. Mike advised us that all the breakfast items were from a local butcher, with the exception of the eggs (look at how yellow they are!)…

The Old School B&B - Full breakfast

The Old School B&B – Full breakfast

They’re also “homemade” as they have chickens in a coop outside!

The Old School B&B - friendly chickens

The Old School B&B – friendly chickens

After breakfast we went  out to feed the chickens.  Liz advised us that they love apple cores, so if you plan to stay bring some apples with you!

The Old School B&B - bantam chickens

The Old School B&B – bantam chickens

And not only do they have chickens…but they have ducks too! Though they weren’t too keen to see us and kept running away!

The Old School B&B - Ducks didn't want to see us!

The Old School B&B – Ducks didn’t want to see us!

And that’s not all, they have 2 geese as well and while we were there we were lucky enough to witness 2 new born goslings – we couldn’t get too close as daddy goose was being protective.

The Old School B&B - Geese with day old goslings!

The Old School B&B – Geese with day old goslings!

Guaranteed fresh eggs from the hens and ducks are available to take home at a cost of £1.50 for 6 chicken or £2.10 for 6 duck eggs. Homemade jam & local honey can also be purchased and taken home – from £3.

The Old School B&B - Local honey for sale

The Old School B&B – Local honey for sale

 Conclusion

The Old School gets top marks from us as everything was perfect! Mike & Liz were lovely welcoming hosts who provided everything needed for a comfortable & relaxing stay – it was so quiet, the nearest neighbour is a dairy farm about 500 yards along the road so it was unbelievably peaceful – aside from the quacking of the ducks and the hissing of daddy goose! And that was another plus point – having so many birds, being able to feed them, and have their eggs for breakfast! The food was restaurant quality – fresh and expertly cooked at both dinner and breakfast.

Local attractions include Drumlanrig castle, Dumfries House, Galloway forest park, Craigengillan observatoryAuchinleck estate with its many caves and New Cumnock community open-air swimming pool (the only heated Clean Water open-air swimming facility in Scotland!)

Getting there:
By car, the Old School is on the B741 between Dalmellington and New Cumnock.
By public transport – there are regular trains from Glasgow Central to New Cumnock. From there take a taxi.

Book a stay on their Website. The Geography Room is currently priced at £80 per night while the other 3 rooms are all £70 (or £60 and £50 respectively for single occupancy).

PS bring wellies if you want to feed the chickens and see the geese and ducks!

PPS since we stayed there Mike & Liz have now added a huge world map to the Geography Room as you can see from below:

The Old School, Dalleagles - New map in Geography Room

The Old School, Dalleagles – New map in Geography Room

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