In Scotland they take many things seriously, particularly their golf, their countryside and, most fondly of all, their whisky.
“If you don’t yet know, golf was invented in Scotland.”
As one of Scotland’s finest five-star resorts, Gleneagles is a luxury destination in itself. It even has its very own train station, which is on the main London to Inverness line (it’s around five hours from London).
When the hotel opened in June 1924 it was shamelessly described as the ‘Riviera in the Highlands’.
With the range of activities on offer it’s easy to see why. Aside from golf there’s horse-riding, polo, shooting, archery, gun-dog training, falconry and off-road driving to pursue. Or enjoy its tennis courts, pool, gym, croquet and pitch and putt before winding down with a treatment at its ESPA spa, which includes Scotland’s first ESPA Life wellness centre.
Plus you can check out Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant – Andrew Fairlie – where you’ll dine on gourmet, French-influenced cuisine.
To build up your appetite for a fantastic feast embark on a two-hour Hermitage and Braan Walk. You’ll discover hidden grottos and superb waterfalls among the woodland, also bridges and spectacular trees in the wild garden of the Hermitage, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
If walking is not your thing, embark on an exhilarating Land Rover Safari with Highland Safaris, based around an hour’s drive from Gleneagles, which will take you on a journey through Scottish heritage and its exclusive Red Deer Park and Gold Panning Centre.
If Highland Perthshire has taken your breath away, head to the 18th century Blair Castle, less than an hour’s drive from Gleneagles. The ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to the Atholl Highlanders (the last remaining private army in Europe), is situated in the heart of Scotland’s magnificent woodland with the Highlands as its backdrop. The Castle itself features a walled garden, a whimsical gothic folly, a tranquil wooded grove and a red deer park.
Visitors can find something even more ancient in the heart of Scotland, the Fortingall Yew.
“Known to be more than 3,000 years old this giant tree stands in Fortingall Churchyard and is said to be the oldest yew in Europe.”
And no trip to Scotland is complete without the taste of its indigenous ‘wee dram’. Enjoy the taste sensation of a Single Malt at Dewar’s World of Whisky Distillery, where visitors will discover an interactive exhibition, distillery tour and the opportunity to taste a selection of whiskies in the nosing and tasting bar.