A Self-Catering Stay at Crieff Hydro
In the summer we spent a week at Crieff Hydro (and, yes, it has taken me a ridiculously long time to write about it here – life just took over, as it does). So in this little rewind to our summer holidays, here’s how we spent our week in one of the lovely self-catering lodges.
We stayed in a 3 bedroom lodge (our bedroom was a family room with two single beds tucked behind a dividing wall) which had ample space for all six adults and two children. There was a spacious open plan living/kitchen/dining area and three ensuite bathrooms. The lodge had stair gates, bed guards and a high chair (and we could have had a travel cot if Flora had still needed one) – all set up for families. Our lodge was about a 5 minute drive from the hotel, in a lovely quiet area near woodland. I often walked from the lodge through the woodland to the hotel, which took around 20 minutes.
We started our first full day by heading to the hotel swimming pool. (Staying in the lodges, you are able to make use of the hotel facilities). There is a big main pool and a smaller (very warm) baby pool. I love that they had a whole section with spacious family changing rooms, which just makes life that bit easier with two young ones, and you can adjust the temperature of the showers.
Also on day one, we explored the hotel and the grounds, taking the kids to the great play park, playing crazy golf and then watching them on their pony rides.
We loved the crazy golf, with its Scottish landmarks and attractions in miniature, and played a number of times. (There is a charge for this).
Polly the Pony
This was Isaac’s second time on Polly (he had a pony ride the first time we stayed at Crieff Hydro, when he was two) and Flora’s first experience. They both absolutely loved it and went twice that week (you do have to pay for pony rides, which is £5 per child). They do two laps of the small circuit and the young man who walked around with them made them feel very at ease, chatting as they walked.
Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre
This was our first trip to Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, which is just outside Comrie, seven miles from Crieff, and we all loved it. The littles could get up close with the animals and we had a bag of feed (you can feed most of the small animals). They loved feeding the goats and llamas, and getting to stroke animals in the Hatchery (chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises). Such a lovely experience for them, their little faces were lit up with excitement.
There are play areas, an indoor play area, tractors circuit, and a Wild West area, so as well as all the animals, there is lots to keep the littles entertained. We’ll definitely be back next year.
As much as I enjoyed splashing about with my kids in the swimming pool, I loved escaping to the beautiful Victorian Spa. You have to book your session in ahead (a two hour slot) and I think it cost about £10.
I love spending time here and always leave feeling completely relaxed (and usually head upstairs for a spa treatment!).
Isaac went to some of the activities in the hotel, including Science Boffins and sand art. In the afternoon, we went to the nearby Crieff Ceramics to do some pottery painting. We had Isaac and Flora’s hands and feet printed when we were there two years ago, and we did the same again this summer. The staff were lovely and so helpful. Next time, I’m putting the kids in Big Country and going to paint myself a tea cup or two…
We booked the kids into the Big Country creche for about five sessions during the week (you can choose from a morning, afternoon or evening session) and this is included in your stay. (And you can book them in up to two sessions per day). It’s recommended that you book this beforehand as it can be busy. Both my wee ones loved the creche, giving us time to hit the spa and relax a bit.
The kids absolutely adored the quad pods, where they were pulled behind a quad bike in these cute little seats with their own steering wheel. There is a charge, but for Isaac we bought what I think was called the Wee Explorer package which included a ride on a quad pod, a go at water peddling and crazy golf.
Taking full advantage of having grandparents around, we left the littles for a morning at Big Country and another Polly ride, and set off for a day trip. As an Outlander fan and always keen to venture to places new, we drove to Culross (described as one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland – I concur) and stopped at Doune Castle on the way back (Outlander themed blog post to follow!).
Drummond Castle Gardens
I’ve been to Crieff four or five times but never visited Drummond Castle Gardens before this year (I have no idea why). Keeping with the Outlander theme, it was used in Season 2 of the TV series as the location for the gardens at Versailles and is one of Scotland’s most impressive formal gardens. It is absolutely breathtaking and I loved wandering up and down the paths, admiring the beauty in every direction.
During our stay at Crieff Hydro, we also enjoyed the disco and the ceilidh, held in the hotel in the evenings. The kids had a ball and enjoyed a range of activities during the week, as well as time just playing in the lodge, and I managed to get some much-needed me time. Which is all this mother could ask for.
This is not a sponsored post – I wanted to share our experience here as I’ve always really enjoyed our family holidays at Crieff Hydro and I wanted to give you an idea of some of the things you can do during a stay.