End of an era as Carfraemill goes up for sale

After 23 years running Carfraemill, Jo and Jim Sutherland are looking for a new owner to take on one of the Scottish Borders’ most iconic hospitality businesses.

By Kevin McRoberts
Saturday, 27th June 2020, 7:45 am
The current owners of Carfraemill, situated near Lauder on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills, are planning to retire.
The current owners of Carfraemill, situated near Lauder on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills, are planning to retire.

Carfraemill – sitting in a stunning countryside location near Lauder, is a popular restaurant, hotel, wedding and events venue.

Owner Jo said: “After 23 wonderful years, it’s time for us to retire from Carfraemill.

“Jim and I are both much nearer to 70 than 60 and it’s time to live our lives as most of our friends now do – in retirement.

Sign up to our daily Berwickshire News Today newsletter

“We had always planned to retire later this year, though there is no doubt that Covid-19 has made it more complicated than it might have been.”

Jim and Jo bought Carfraemill in 1996 and reopened it the following year after a major six-month refurbishment.

A thriving restaurant business quickly developed alongside numerous weddings, funerals, parties and meetings in the hotel’s function room.

The addition of a marquee allowed the functions business to expand and Carfraemill cemented its place as a premium wedding venue for the Borders and Lothians.

The hotel made national headlines in 1997 when owner and farmer Jim Sutherland took on the government following the ban of beef on the bone.

Jim was the first person in the UK to be charged after serving beef on the bone to hotel guests at a prohibition dinner. The case against him was later thrown out at the High Court in Edinburgh and beef on the bone was, once again, back on the menu.

In the present day, Scotland is starting to look to the future with the Scottish Government progressing through its four phases of re-opening.

Mrs Sutherland said: “The dedication and enthusiasm of a new owner is exactly what’s needed at this time. We have a fantastic and experienced team of staff here and a future owner would be incredibly lucky to have them on board.

“Carfraemill is a beautiful building with a rich history and it has played an important role in the big moments of so many people’s lives.

“It’s a business which has long been important, also, to the local economy.

We are sure there is a bright future ahead and know Carfraemill will always be a place for creating memories.”

In terms of the immediate future, Carfraemill will remain closed in accordance with the Scottish Government’s guidelines. Plans are currently being developed for the business to gradually reopen after the summer (including for weddings and events when permitted), whilst a new owner is sought.