Stayed for the first time at Thirlestane Castle for a few days as we were attending an event near Lauder. A very quiet camp site within walking distance to Lauder, which was partly why we booked this site. We were greeted on arrival, and after a long discussion we were shown to our pitch. We did get the feeling we had been put as far away as possible as we had a van, which had they been aware of prior to booking, I don't think we would have been accommodated.
Clean and tidy site, toilet block also clean, although a bit dated, very small shower area, no power points for hairdryer. Its also a long way to empty grey water. I know this is not a big issue however am just comparing this with other sites visited.
In summary a well located basic site great for touring, within walking distance to Lauder, people in Lauder were all very friendly and helpful. If visiting the area again, sadly this would not be my first choice.
Read some reviews before I came here, some people were moaning for absolutely no reason what so ever, the shower block was cold moan moan, the gates are locked at 11pm moan moan, and my feet got wet from the grass moan moan, oh and the best one the warden was talking to loud??? I suggest these moaners book in to a 5 star hotel and sell there caravans. We were greeted with a happy smile and got our van sited where we wanted and help to level our van with the warden fetching us planks of wood to help level us up, we asked about tv were told signal not very good, so I suggested I'd use my satellite and was told which direction to point it. Had it picking up great signal in seconds, the site is lovely, the town is lovely and the food in the pub was lovely, the warden was a very helpful man and nothing was a problem. So Moaners, YOUR AT A CAMP SITE IN A CARAVAN! Great site I will be back. Oh I forgot me and my wife are very fussy people.
Spent a lovely, peaceful weekend over Easter. Couldn't get a satellite signal on the first pitch we were on but we mentioned this to the warden and we were swiftly moved to another pitch where the signal was fine. The warden couldn't do enough to accommodate us and was very warm and friendly. The pitches are a good size and relatively flat. The views of the surrounding countryside are lovely. The site gates are locked from 11pm which makes you feel very safe.
Toilets and showers were spotlessly clean but maybe a bit chilly.
Lauder itself is lovely with good pubs and chip shop.
My wife and I have just spent a long weekend in the Scottish Borders and on this visit tried Thirlstane Castle Caravan Park. We were welcomed by the wardens with the list of rules as mentioned by others and directed to our pitch with a final reminder that the toilets and showers were closed 1100 to 1200 and Oh!, by the way, there was only 10 amps of power from the electric hook ups (which means we could not have our Heating on at the same time as the water heater and had to switch heating off to use a toaster or hairdryer). I know some might say it's not a major issue, but, it is a pain when all you want to is relax and enjoy your trip, and, it is still early Spring so not that warm at night.
There was no Wi-Fi (we were told by the warden to buy a dongle or go into Lauder and sit outside the Leisure centre), no TV coverage where we were sited (we were told by Warden to get satellite), we had a mile to take our waste water and the toilet/shower block was freezing (although clean enough). The most bizarre rule was the gates were locked at 11pm and would not be re-opened until 0730 in the morning, so if you were visiting or at an event and couldn't get back by then you had no way of getting back in and there was nowhere to leave your vehicle. (we heard in Lauder that that is the most common complaint from visitors).
It is such a shame that the male warden runs the place more like a Stalag than a welcoming 21st century site in a beautiful area. We visit the Borders several times a year for Melrose 7s, Common Ridings, walking, visiting family & friends etc. And am very disappointed we have to rule this site out because of these matters, matters that could easily be put right by the owners rather than employing someone such as this man (who could do with learning something about the area).
Don't be put off visiting this most beautiful part of Scotland, just don't stay at Stalag Thirlstane. Lauder is a welcoming Border town with good pubs, restaurants, chippy/pizza take away, garage/shop, a Baker and Butcher etc. Lauder is also not too far from other Border towns and only 40 mins from Edinburgh.
Management response: We read with huge disappointment that your visit to our Caravan Park was a poor experience so much so that it prompted this post. Anyone trying to enjoy their leisure time, after all many of us get precious little, would have found what you describe very trying.
We are only glad that you concluded by saying the Scottish Borders and town of Lauder are magnificent and everyone in our opinion should come here at least once! Regarding the specifics of your visit its always a challenge to give the right response we certainly don't want to pay lip service nor is there any point being defensive. We have opted to be honest. We have already addressed the short falls of our team, we are dealing with the water/heat issue and the gates are now open for access. Our plans for upgrade include better electric supply and Wifi is being considered. We have resisted providing 21st Century technology and encourage all visitors to hop off the roundabout and soak in the best of our walks, picnic spots, wonderful towns and villages and events. Nonetheless we hear you!
We cannot undo what has happened but we can ensure it doesn't happen again and would ask anyone considering coming to stay and seeing you report to give us the benefit of the doubt and if necessary give us a call so that we can allay any concerns. With regard to your own experience we would like to make amends and ask what can we do to at least make you feel we don't take anyone for granted and that you and indeed all our visitors are so important. We have a number of ideas; a picnic in the Castle grounds, a personal tour of the Castle, tickets to a Vintage Car rally??? Please give our office a call and make yourself known.
Stayed on this site for the 2013 Lauder Common Riding. This was the first time in our own caravan but we have stayed in a tent on a number of occasions in the past. Arrived on Friday evening to be welcomed by warden speaking very loudly to a French visitor whose English was perhaps as good as my French (poor). It was like a scene from Fawlty Towers. Volume does not equate to improved understanding.
Shown to our pitch on sloping ground but this wasn't a problem. Grass very long though. Long list of rules and regulations which are pretty much common sense anyway but as mentioned in another review they were verbally enforced. Not really necessary.
The touring/tent area is not well provided with electric hook-up points and unless you've got a very long cable make sure you're close to one of the few connections points. Disposal of grey water is a good distance from the far end of the site at the shower block as is the chemical disposal point. Toilet block/showers were very clean. Drinking water points are also lacking in numbers.
The one major gripe is the general attitude of the wardens. The site looks good due to their efforts but their approach to visitors is dire. It would appear that if you're a regular and know them, all is well (if they like you). First timers or infrequent visitors like me feel like we're an annoyance.
Finally, we asked to stay a couple of extra hours on the Sunday. However, due to a noise complaint from the previous evening we were told under no circumstances should we leave after 12 noon. 8 minutes late and they were on us like midges. Given that A- it was Common Riding weekend and as such visitors such as myself inject much needed cash into the town. B - No-one was told who the complaint was about. C- we were in bed by 10:30pm on the Saturday night but I believe the finger was pointed in our direction. D - Why weren't the wardens checking the site for noise on what can be a busy weekend?
There are other issues but I'll leave it at that. Will I be back? Good question but I doubt it.
Management response: Dear Jackadoo,
Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts about the site, we value all our customer feedback.
Please accept our apologies for the customer service your felt that your received the last time you visited us. Since we discovered your review, we have been actively working to improve our customer service and have put plans in place to be more flexible to our valued customers. You may notice a few other improvements - we are currently updating the shower block and getting the site ready for the new season which opens on 1st April. We very much hope you will visit us again. Please call our site manager directly should you wish to discuss any further
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