Aug 3 2012 By Ben Spencer
The Inn at Kippen Image 2
AN OLD saying came to mind as I drove towards The Inn at Kippen: “A change is as good as a rest.”
This attractive hotel, near Stirling, is just 45 minutes from Glasgow. But as I drove through the pretty countryside and into some unexpected sun, it felt like a different world from our bustling city.
The hotel has a great location in the picturesque and historical village of Kippen. It nestles in the Campsie Fells and enjoys views of the Forth Valley and the Highlands beyond.
The interior is cosy, with plenty of old-fashioned photos on the walls, while the bedrooms have pleasing modern furnishings.
I visited with a pal and we shared a twin room with a power shower strong enough to blast away the last cobwebs of the city.
The hotel’s restaurant has a good reputation and it’s easy to see why.
The service was attentive but not overbearing and we pored over the varied menu, which contains much seasonal and locally sourced produce, before finally making our selections.
I started with freshly cooked fishcakes with a sweetcorn puree, baby basil and a citrus vinaigrette (£6), which was perfectly executed.
My friend’s mini Tandoori chicken kebab came with naan bread, yogurt and salad (£6.50). It was a classier version of the late-night favourite.
He was really impressed with his hearty chicken and mushroom pie with seasonal vegetables and chips (£12). The chicken was tender and the pastry rich and fluffy.
The cut of beef in my sirloin steak was also mouthwatering. It came with tomato, mushroom, chips and a creamy peppercorn sauce (£20).
As good as the first two courses were, the dessert was simply superb.
My dish contained spiced pannacotta, which contrasted well with the warm and very addictive cinnamon doughnuts and a dollop of pineapple sorbet (£6).
Across the table, my friend demolished his fruit scones with jam, cream and a cup of coffee (£5.50).
The hotel owner had a long career in the whisky trade and was happy to recommend some varieties of the water of life to finish off our meal.
After a comfortable and quiet night’s sleep, we enjoyed a hearty Scottish breakfast. Then it was time to explore the village and its interesting little shops.
We also tried out one of the many walks available from Kippen. Locals told us they offer up some of the most stunning views in Britain – and they weren’t spinning tall tales, because the walk we enjoyed showcased the Trossachs beautifully.
It was a fitting end to our visit to the area, before returning to the hustle and bustle of our Dear Green Place.