The minute you arrive at Crieff Hydro – a hotel mostly known for its beautiful grounds, self-catered properties and an abundance of facilities, you are welcomed by the balcony of the stunning Victorian dining area and the rolling hill gardens, elegant with a touch from the past.

Once known as the Crieff Hydropathic Establishment, founded in 1868, this was the first hydropathic hotel in Scotland that its founder believed pharmacopeia based on water, exercise, water treatments and simple country food could make a difference in one’s life!

I generally feel much more calm when by the mountains and the lush Scottish countryside. This is not to say that there is nothing in the big cities for me: While I may not own a wee countryside cottage and I live in a flat in the city centre, I still hope that one day we will move in the countryside and own a big house with a garden. But up until then, places like Crieff Hydro, immersed in the greenery, will do! Call it an illusion of mine or something that I keep telling myself in order to convince me that it is indeed true, but I believe there is a strong correlation between happiness and being exposed to the fresh air and the elements of nature during the weekends, in a way it energises me and helps me go through the week. It also helps me finish my books, move my body a bit more and be more mindful, in general, it makes me feel better and my working weeks following a weekend getaway are more productive.

In search of soul serendipity and countryside walks, we reached Crieff Hydro just before the sunset. We checked in our self-catered house for the weekend and quickly headed out for some lunch at the Basecamp, a cafe by the activities centre that has a balcony area with magnificent views of the mountains and the town of Crieff, just a few meters away from our place. Cruzy was all too exited and kept sniffing the grounds while we enjoyed our coffees in peace. It was so nice to have him off the lead and let him run around while we read our books with nothing to worry about!

Our self-catered property was a two floors house with a beautiful balcony and soft finish furniture that had everything we needed to make ourselves from breakfast to dinner. It came with some croissants, a bottle of Prosecco, Brodies coffee and tea, all courtesy of the lovely Crieff Hydro team.

We slept in one of the downstairs bedrooms and let Cruzy have the living room upstairs. It was such a spacious place, we could have easily invited a few friends to come along and join us for the nights, and perhaps cook a delicious meal for them too and all sit around the dining table with a glass of wine (or two), but instead we chose to enjoy the tranquillity of being in one of the most beautiful places in Perthshire, just the three of us!

Our home away from home!

On Day 1 of our visit, we did nothing more than exploring and walking around the countryside pathways, reading books and relaxing in the cosy balcony with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. When the time for dinner came around, we headed at the Brasserie where we had an enjoyable meal by the gardens.

We had the pressed ham terrine and calamari for starters, and the roasted monkfish in Keralan fish curry and the Gressingham duck breast with hoisin ginger glaze and crispy duck spring roll.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was festive with many locals enjoying their dinners with their families and one stag do ordering one dish after another. The service was fast and we really enjoyed our meal together, a rare occasion seeing the different work schedules we follow these days as a couple.

Chocolate and walnut moelleux, sauce au caramel and vanilla ice-cream, for him
White chocolate dome cheesecake with sweet wine poached pears and toasted almonds, for myself

If you know me at all, then I am sure you know there’s nothing I enjoy more than having cheesecake and even more if it is a white chocolate cheesecake, and this is exactly what I had for dessert that night. Build in a dome and well presented in a dish with strawberries, toasted almonds and spun sugar decorations on top, it was the delight of the night! I enjoyed it with a cup of tea before we followed the pathway back to the house, a 10′ minute walk with a torch through the woods! On this note, I’d like to say that if you are scared of the dark then there is a transfer service 24/7, just ask for it at the reception of the hotel or give them a phone call, it’s just that we fancied getting ourselves in a little adventure and needed some fresh air after our big meal πŸ™‚

Day 2 was a bit more adventurous! We woke up by the sounds of singing birds and headed to the hotel for breakfast. Unfortunately, there was a power cut but they quickly managed to take care of everything and offered us some food at one of their restaurants. I tried to take a few pictures to show you how nice it was all set up but with children’s faces around I decided to respect the privacy of the residents and put my camera on the side, I hope you will forgive me for this.

After breakfast, we headed to the activity centre for archery – my first ever time giving it a go! If you have watched my Instagram Stories from the trip, they are Highlighted under my profile if you want to go and have a look – then I am sure you know that luck was on my side as I kept hitting the targets in the red circle.

Even though we had only 45′ to spend on this activity before catching our bus to take us to Perth from where we took the train to Pitlochry for our attendance to the Enchanted Forest, we thoroughly enjoyed this activity and promised to book ourselves again next time we are visiting Crieff Hydro, this time hopefully with the family!

The rest of our visit went flying by as we rushed to walk Cruz for one last time in the grounds before departing for a night at the Enchanted Forest.

Our stay at Crieff Hydro was short but sweet, there is still so much more we’d like to do such as visiting the spa and perhaps trying one of the other activities, but I know this time will come soon as we have already booked another weekend for Spring 2020! Until then I will be looking at our pictures of the trip and hoping that the time will come soon for us to be in this lovely place!

Anastasia

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