Discover Peter Pans Enchanted Land

Take a tour of Moat Brae, The house and garden in Dumfries that inspired Jm Barrie to create Peter Pan

Discover Moat Brae Gardens & House

The garden which was J M Barrie’s ‘enchanted land’ and famously inspired Peter Pan lies to the north and northwest of Moat Brae house. It extends down a steep slope to a retaining wall just above the river Nith.  Below the wall, and out of view from the house and garden, there is a public riverside path. The garden looks out across the river to the water meadows and beyond to the rolling hills of the southern uplands, in south west Scotland.

The original layout would have been made after the house was designed in 1823 but it is thought that the very little that now remains of the early garden design relates to Victorian times.  Perhaps this is appropriate as the period when Barrie played pirate games with the Gordon boys in the garden was in the 1870s when he was a pupil at the neighbouring Dumfries Academy.

One important garden feature remains – the sandstone plinth which once held a statue of Peter Pan.




Yorkshire Festival – 100 days of Art & Culture

Welcome to 100 days of world class music, dance, theatre, film, art, sculpture and one or two art forms there probably isn’t a name for yet. Welcoming the Grand Départ of the Tour de France – the world’s largest annual sporting event and one of the most spectacular. The festival is the first in all its long history, the tour has never seen anything like it. We want you to join us, be part of it, bring your friends and family, share as well as enjoy the experience and help us celebrate the very best of Yorkshire creativity.

47 ambitious projects, hundreds of fringe events, 6,000 square miles of world class Yorkshire talent. #BEPARTOFIT

Dates: 27th March 2014 – 6th of July 2014

Find out more, to download Yorkshire festival brochure click here

Meet Nicola – Our New Conference & Events Coordinator

They say all good things come in small packages…well the same can be said about me…Nichola…the new Conference & Events Coordinator for Aston Sheffield. I have great things planned for 2014/15 and am absolutely delighted, and excited, to announce that my new, and long awaited Wedding Brochure has arrived and is available to view online. So, it’s safe to say, that along with sunshine and daffodils…spring and love is well and truly in the air!!

Aston Hotels 2014 Wedding Brochures arrived and are available to download from here

From Field to Factory to Fork

Last Thursday Shonagh and Robin attended the ‘Support your Ambition’ event at Easterbrook Hall.  Organised by Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce the format of the day was carried though a theme of ‘From Field to Factory to Fork’ with inspirational keynote speakers from all three industries giving an insight into the routes into those industries as well as some top tips of what employers may be looking for.  The event was capped off by a series of question and answer sessions between employers and potential employees which left the employers with lots of ideas to consider on developing the future talent required to sustain the major industries in Dumfries & Galloway.

Season Opening at Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House Re-opens After Winter Closure

2014 is set to be another remarkable year at Chatsworth with so much to see and do, including exciting calendar of events and exhibitions. The house garden, farmyard and adventure playground is open every day from 16 March – 23 December 2014.

What’s on:

Michael Craig-Martin at Chatsworth

16 March – 29 June 2014

Included with house entry

A major display of contemporary sculpture in the garden with new works made specifically for this exhibition. Inside the house, Michael Craig-Martin brings his own approach to highlighting sculpture from the Devonshire Collection, and selects visually arresting portraits for the Old Master Drawings Cabinet, including drawings by Hans Holbein, Annibale Carracci and Ghirlandaio.

View our fantastic Chatsworth break offer:

Aston Hotel Dumfries confirms their relationship with the national charity “Cash for Kids”,

Aston Hotel Dumfries today confirmed their relationship with the national charity “Cash for Kids”, the Hotel aims to support, assist and boost brand awareness for the charity.  

Cash for Kids is Bauer Radio’s network of local charities, which operate across 21 areas around the UK. Our mission is to respond to the needs of children in our communities, and we aspire to enable all children to live life to the full and achieve their individual potential. 

The charity was established to channel the care of the local community into the welfare of their own youngsters. We use the power of our radio brands to deliver initiatives for the sick and underprivileged children in our communities, to benefit local children and give the most disadvantaged a better and brighter future.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to support “Cash for Kids”. To be given the opportunity to support young people, disadvantaged groups and the unemployed offering them careers and opportunities within the industry is such an honor “says Robin Thomson, General Manager Aston Hotel Dumfries. 

The Aston Hotel Dumfries recently launched a Marco Pierre White Wheelers of St. James’s has announced its plans to convert into a Holiday Inn by IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group).

The Holiday Inn brand strength will firmly place Dumfries on the map as a leisure destination in Scotland, with the hopeful result being increased leisure traffic, increased job creation with the end goal of tackling the issue of unemployment and poverty head on.

West Sound Cash For Kids Charity Manager & Breakfast Show Host Tommy Jardine said “ We are absolutely delighted to have the support of the Aston Hotel Group, this will allow us to help even more underprivileged children across our region. We continue to have no administration charges with our charity, meaning every penny raised goes direct to the children. We look forward to a successful partnership with the Hotel Group in the coming year”.

The Hotels alignment with the charity will allow customers and colleagues the chance to work together to support a local cause at the heart of the Dumfries community.

The hotel has numerous fundraising events planned for the year ahead with the culminating event being that of the “Cash for Kids’ Christmas lunch, the biggest fundraiser of the year, raising over £32,000.00 in 2013, of which Aston Hotel Dumfries is the Main Event Sponsor.

For more information on how you can help out the “Cash for Kids” charity, contact Tommy Jardine on 01387 250999 or alternatively email him on .

Brand new Starbucks coffees at the Aston

Brand new Starbucks coffees at the Aston

Fancy a Cappucino,Frappuccino, Mocha or just a standard Americano, our brand new Starbucks will be open 24hours a day!

The Starbucks in our Aston Hotel Sheffield provides a relaxing lounge area where you can enjoy your favorite cup of coffee.  This monument to all things caffeine offers a wide variety of specialty drinks, pastries, confections and even tea.

Open 7 days a week, be sure to come join us for your favourite drink (hot or cold…)

Holiday Inn Darlington North rebrand

“The novel concept will offer our clientele a brand new hotel, contemporary restaurant and state of the art conference facilities, allowing our guests to enjoy great food, relaxed atmosphere and great service” says Patricia MacInnes, General Manager at Aston Darlington. “The feather in the cap of the new concept is our addition of the Starbucks offering, allowing guests the flexibility to eat in, eat out or enjoy take-away items in their rooms”

Our newly refurbished Holiday Inn Darlington North hotel

Staying at our soon to be launched Holiday Inn Darlington North will not be your standard hotel experience. Our hotel has undergone an extensive refurbishment of the common areas, restaurant, bar and selected bedrooms, not to mention the addition of brand new mini-gym.

Our newly refurbished kitchen will produce flavoursome, wholesome food served with a local twist. our All-Day Dining, Take-In and Room-Service offering will offer you whatever you like, wherever you like, whenever you like … from your Open Lobby, to your room or a take away lunch!

Just in case you miss our restaurant, be sure to at least join us for breakfast. Our lavish breakfast buffet will be the perfect way to start your day without breaking the bank.

Brand new Starbucks coffees 

Fancy a Cappucino,Frappuccino, Mocha or just a standard Americano, our brand Starbucks will be open 24hours a day!

Holiday Inn Darlington North opening day  

On Friday the 28th of February, Holiday Inn Darlington North will be opened to the world.   So whatever your need, our new Open Lobby is the perfect place to relax and unwind while enjoying your favourite drink, or making the most of a productive working breakfast, lunch or dinner.   We look forward to welcoming you to our new hotel…



Fame – The Musical

Think 80s, legwarmers, neon colours and fingerless gloves – add all this to a dance school and what do you get?

The return of FAME – The Musical!!! The hit musical is returning to Darlington Civic Theatre 10th-14th June. Set in the New York of today at the world famous High School for Performing Arts New York, young talented hopefuls undertake the journey of their lives. Ambition, triumph, heartbreak and romance conspire to steer them off course, and the pressure is too much for some. But, these kids are determined to live forever and FAME is the feel-good sensation that you will never forget! Bursting with dynamic dance routines and unforgettable songs that have been reimagined for 2014 including; Fame and Let’s Play a Love Scene, FAME – THE MUSICAL has enjoyed seven West End runs since premiering in the USA in 1988 and continues to be performed all over the world.

Why not make a weekend of it and book a room at the Aston Hotel Darlington? Click here to Book Now


Lumiere Durham 2013

For four nights in November 2013 Durham City will once again be transformed by a series of light installations and projections from leading regional, national and international artists and organisers. Residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy a sense of celebration as they explore the new nocturnal landscape of the city. Familiar and forgotten features and spaces will be given a new life as they become the subject or background for beautiful illuminations and projections. This year’s festival is certain to be just as popular with artworks sprawling right across the city in a sprinkle of winter magic. The light creations will range from large-scale projections, to neons, to installations using the latest LEDs, created by artists and lighting designers from near and far including pieces created by artists from the North East as part of the successful brilliant competition. Lumiere is a huge success that has quickly become a major event in the North East. We do recognize that large numbers of people in a small medieval city do present challenges and so we’ve worked closely with our partners to develop an event plan which will deliver a safe event that is more enjoyable for all visitors. Priority tickets for the city center can be booked in advance, and the full program of events for this unforgettable event can be found at

Why not make a weekend of it and book a 2 night stay at Aston Hotel Darlington, which is approximately 15-20 minutes away.  Click here to Book Now