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Home | News | Hideaway Hotel in Scotland Hosts Secret D-Day Landings Strategy Meeting
11th June 2021

Hideaway Hotel in Scotland Hosts Secret D-Day Landings Strategy Meeting

What do the D-Day landings of World War Two and a secluded hideaway hotel in Scotland have in common?

Around 75 years ago, Knockinaam Lodge, then a private residence, was the secret rendezvous for a critical strategy meeting between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Dwight Eisenhower, Allied Supreme Commander and later the 34th President of the USA as they planned the finer details of the strategy for the D-Day Landings which led to victory in Europe

A D-Day Landings secret meeting that remains shrouded in mystery

Knockinaam Lodge is easy to reach but has a sense of remote hotel solitude that gives it an air of mystery and to this day mystery and intrigue continues to be associated with this historic meeting. Old time residents of the nearby town of Stranraer tell stories about that time, they recall visits by Winston Churchill as one of the best kept secrets of World War Two. The locals knew Churchill was here and he was seen by many people while he was driven through the town, but no one said a thing

Of course, no-one knew that this historic meeting took place to plan the D-Day Landings. That remained the secret of the owners at Knockinaam, who have passed on this significant information to subsequent owners of this hideaway hotel in Scotland

For this crucial meeting to agree the final preparations for the D-Day landings with their Chiefs of Staff, it is rumoured that Churchill flew into nearby Cairnryan, now the ferry port to Belfast, which at that time was a large sea plane base. From there, Churchill was motored to Knockinaam where he spent two nights. General Eisenhower flew to Turnberry and drove to Knockinaam Lodge but only spent the day

Knockinaam Lodge hideaway hotel – a story straight out of a mystery novel

The secrecy surrounding this D-Day Landings meeting is almost as good as a mystery novel and Knockinaam Lodge has other hideaway hotel secrets to share, with its association to a classic mystery novel. This Scottish hotel also enjoys a unique place in literary history, being the inspiration for John Buchan in his classic ‘The 39 Steps’. Knockinaam was the house that its hero, Hannay fled to: “…as he came over the hill to see a grey stone Victorian hunting lodge with its vast expanse of lawn sweeping down to the sea…”

With such a description it isn’t difficult to understand why Knockinaam Lodge was chosen for this critical secret meeting. Both men and their Chiefs of Staff would have been cocooned in what is now one of Scotland’s most secluded hotels, while being easy to reach. Enclosed within a private cove, the men could safely shaped the plans for D-Day

Dumfries and Galloway coastline helps with D-Day Landings preparations

A key part of the D-Day Landings strategy was to create movable harbours, necessary since planners regarded it impossible to secure an existing functioning port on the Normandy Coast

Investigations began as far back as 1941 and after much debate regarding the D-Day plans, prototypes were created in North Wales. They were then floated up the coast to Garlieston in Wigtown Bay, xx miles from Knockinaam. The coast and beach in Dumfries and Galloway were chosen for testing due to similarity to those of Normandy. The whole area was cleared of inhabitants and declared off limits and hundreds of engineers and support workers were homed in military camps. By summer 1943, tests were complete, and construction began of the then named Mulberry Harbours on the River Thames and River Clyde

The D-Day operation was launched on 6th June 1944 with the Normandy landings. A turning point in the Second World War and one of the most famous military operations in history

A Secluded Hotel in South West Scotland

The D-Day Landings meeting took place 75 years ago in 1944, when Knockinaam Lodge was a private home. The remote solitude of Knockinaam was the appeal for Prime Minister Churchill and General Eisenhower for this top-secret meeting and it is said that Churchill often stayed at Knockinaam Lodge to meet key people involved in the war effort

Today, as a secluded hotel in Scotland this same unspoiled 32 acres, where Knockinaam sits looking out to sea, is in one of the most peaceful and beautiful parts of Scotland. Guests choose between 10 individually designed rooms and every attention to detail is considered to ensure guests feel completely looked after while feeling right at home. World leaders may not stay to plan vital strategic operations any longer, but everyone is a VIP at Knockinaam

Churchill Room at Knockinaam Lodge Hotel

For fans of Sir Winston Churchill, a stay in the genuine bedroom he slept in while in residence at Knockinnam Lodge is a must. This characterful room has many references to this great wartime Prime Minister and features an early Victorian concrete soaking bath, the original from when he stayed

A room tastefully designed to appeal to everyone, it has memorabilia that will remind guests of this legendary British figure who was famous for his many rallying speeches that kept spirits up during these adverse times. Guests come today for the sense of seclusion in this hideaway hotel and as they look out to sea, they may hear the immortal words of Winston Churchill: “We shall fight them on the beaches; we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”

Surrender to the tranquillity of Knockinaam Lodge as you reflect on the events of D-Day 75 years ago and imagine what went on within this secluded hotel in south west Scotland and the activities along the coast of Dumfries and Galloway that contributed to this famous military operation, which brought to an end World War Two

To book your stay in any of our 10 individually designed rooms, including Churchill and Hannay click here.


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