About 30 miles south-west of Aberdeen there is a small village called Fettercairn.

I’ve passed through Fettercairn on quite a number of occasions, and each time I’ve thought that I must stop and have a look round one of these days. That day came earlier this week, when my delightful assistant and I deliberately went there for a look-see.

Fettercairn is perhaps best known for its rather splendid arch, which narrows the main street so that only one car can pass through at a time. It was built in honour of Queen Victoria and her husband Albert, who stayed overnight in Fettercairn en route to Balmoral in September 1861, and I think it’s quite a magnificent structure:

If you walk under the arch you’ll see that it’s on a bridge with a river running under the road. The view over both sides is rather attractive:

On the north side of the arch there is that most wonderful of businesses: a nice cafe. If you’re needing a little refreshment while wandering around in this area, you might do as we do and dive in there post haste.

It being the middle of the afternoon when we rolled up, I wasn’t holding out much hope for a scone, but I’m delighted to say that not only did they have scones, they had three options available: plain, fruit and – irresistible, to my mind – walnut and apricot:

My delightful assistant was more in the market for an iced cake, and plumped for a slice of the generously three-tiered coffee and walnut sponge cake:

Both the scone and the cake were excellent, the scone being a most interesting texture with chewy apricot and crunchy walnuts, and the cake being intensely coffee flavoured. My scone was fairly studded with small apricot and walnut lumps:

We both washed our eats down with decaf lattes, which were also extremely good.

Great success so far, but what of the facilities? I had a feeling they might be interesting and so I trotted off to investigate. I wasn’t disappointed:

One area of the cafe had been given over to young visitors, and was very well equipped, with a large assortment of reading material as well as toys and games:

A sign on the wall read “We’re here for you to play! While mummy drinks coffee and chats away!”

Near the counter there was a small sofa with some attractive cushions on it. This was my favourite one:

Enlivened by our refreshments, we trotted outside to have a look at the village square, which contained some nice stone buildings:

The Fettery Shoppe was selling luscious looking plump red strawberries, and we bought a punnet. I would have included a photo of them here but they sadly disappeared before I thought of it.

If you’re ever driving up or down the country to or from Aberdeen and have a little time to spare, I would highly recommend a little detour into the pretty village of Fettercairn, and a good old gaze at the arch.


38 thoughts on “Fettercairn

  1. Lorna you live in a magical place:) I love all the quaint towns and really, really looking forward to visiting:)

    It’s funny because the “arch” reminds me of the stone arch at the top of Hollywood just before entering “Hollywood” land. Architecture sure was a lot more interesting back then:) Albeit your architecture is a tad bit older than Hollywood;)

    • Thanks Cheryl, I’ve never been to Hollywood but it must be very impressive!

      I didn’t appreciate this part of Scotland as much until I started doing the tearoom research, it’s helped me to see things I didn’t take much notice of before.

  2. Now, Fettercairn wasn’t really on my (already quite long) list of Must Sees in Scotland, but you’ve changed that. Doesn’t Edzell have a similar arch made to welcome Victoria?

    The cafe looks wonderful. It’s so nice when children are catered for. If you ever need a volunteer to be an assistant, I hereby put my name into the hat! I will try hard to be as delightful as possible. πŸ™‚

    • You’re quite right, Edzell is also the proud owner of a splendid arch, a little different in design from Fettercairn’s but none the less impressive. I must include it in a post some time, particularly as Edzell’s home to a fine tearoom.

      I have every expectation that you would make a first class delightful assistant Christine, I would be honoured to have your assistance.

    • BYOC – Bring Your Own Children (or you could borrow someone else’s, of course). I will certainly be returning to this place, that was my first visit but it’s encouraged me to have another. Thanks, Meg.

  3. Loverly Lorna, Scotland has always been on my short list of vacation destinations, but you’ve highlighted so many charming places–I thinks it’s jumped to the top of the list. And I will gleefully eat my way from glen to glen. (No scone will be safe.) On another note…I really get a kick out of your visits to the loo. Loos tell us quite a lot about the places we patronize. This butterfly bedecked bathroom has “we care about our customers” written all over it.

    • Hurrah, and thank you Lucinda! I’m delighted if I’m luring you to Scotland, I’d love you to experience these wonderful tearooms and pretty places. I’m very amused that you get a kick out of the loos, I did wonder if I ought not to sully my posts with such things, but then it is quite an important point isn’t it? I agree with you about this one, they have shown the customer that they care, which is always very reassuring. I often think that if the bathroom’s in a good state, the kitchen is also likely to be well kept.

  4. Hi Lorna, I love your eternal quest for the perfect scone and combo of walnuts and apricots makes me excitable too! I actually loved the image of that creek on the side (very wind in the willows-esque) I’m just going to imagine how delicious those strawberries must have tasted because it’s been months since I had some πŸ™‚

    • It is a good combo, isn’t it? Thank you Alice, you’re right, I am utterly dedicated to the task of scone sampling. I was surprised by the creek, I had no idea it was there until I walked across and had a look, and I completely agree, it is very Wind in the Willows. I’m sorry to tempt you with strawberries, but you can revel in lovely comfort food at this time of year, which is one of the big bonuses of winter.

  5. so many things pop out at me when i read of your trip to this lovely tearoom. the fact that they cater to children … love that; i laughed out loud at the bathroom … what a vision with all the gild and butterflies and disco ball light … wow, that would be quite an eyeful. the arch is amazing as are the walnut and apricot scones. the sheep pillow was just the crowning touch! thanks for sharing your adventures with us. so delightful!

    • Thank you for enjoying it in its entirety! I was very pleasantly surprised by what Fettercairn had to offer and I’m looking forward to a return visit to try the same place out for lunch. I would love to have a sheep pillow like that, it’s just delightful.

  6. You should have a scone counter on your blog. You eat an astounding number of them and each looks more delicious than the last. Think this apricot walnut one is my fav so far. And what on earth is a punnet?

    • I took a drink of water as I was reading your comment and just about spat it out reading your last sentence! A scone counter is an interesting idea, goodness knows how many I’ve consumed in my life so far, I really haven’t a clue but it must be hundreds, if not thousands. A punnet is a container for soft fruit. They used to be made of something more natural, but now they’re made of plastic and when you buy strawberries or raspberries that’s what you get them in. I’ll photograph one and stick it on my blog some time for you. πŸ™‚

  7. Looks a lovely little village! When he first started coming to Scotland, one of Colin’s favourite single malts was ‘Old Fettercairn’. I could just eat that coffee cake now – it looks moist and very more-ish!

    • Thank you Jo, I think you would have enjoyed the cake, it was excellent. I was thinking about Old Fettercairn while I was there and I don’t think I’ve had it, so I must remedy that some time, perhaps on my next visit to Fettercairn. I don’t know where the distillery is, I must find out.

  8. Does the delightful assistant get a bite of your scone in exchange for your bite of their cake, just for the sake of a second opinion, of course? Dilemma- love apricots, can’t abide walnuts. Cherry n coconut scone was my favourite ever.

    • Well Jo, it does sometimes happen that we swap a little piece, and this was one of those occasions. I was very happy to taste that cake as it was particularly delicious. That scone wouldn’t have been a good choice for you, but perhaps just apricots would be a winner? Cherry and coconut is an excellent combination in a scone. Have you tried blueberry and coconut? That’s another good one.

  9. Hello Lorna,

    Fettercairn looks like an utterly delightful little spot. The city elders who commissioned the arch deserve recognition for having the prescience in 1861 to limit car traffic to one vehicle at a time! Genius.

    And your cafe looks very special indeed, I especially like the childrens entertainment and the butterflies in the loo. Oh yes, the cakes look mouth watering too πŸ˜‰

    • Hi Finn, that’s true, it was a stroke of genius as it turns out!

      I must have lunch at that cafe some time, to see if it lives up to the high expectations I have of it after the small refreshments. I’m looking forward to another trip to that loo, and quite possibly a little mooch in the kiddies’ corner.

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