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"Scottish luxury with loads for the whole family to enjoy…"
It's probably best known as a place of pilgrimage for golfers (the Ryder Cup 2014 will take place here) and the site of a former G8 conference, but Gleneagles is also a luxury family destination. Mumsnet were invited to spend a couple of nights there for the Spring half term to see what was on offer.
Situated about an hour outside Edinburgh, there are many ways to get to Gleneagles - particularly if you're heading here from the other side of the UK. The hotel can arrange transfers from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports - and handily there's a railway station less than a mile from the hotel which links it directly with London and the South East. That's actually down to the history of Gleneagles which was set up when the golfing mad GM of the Caledonian Railway Company thought it would make a great spot to build a hotel and golf course and persuaded his company to add in a railway station in the middle of nowhere. Luckily his gamble paid off.
It may have begun as a place for the rich and famous to do the Scottish season (Charlton Heston was an early President of the club) but the hotel's now a firm favourite for families too. The place was simply packed with children of all ages when we were there - from babes in arms to hulking teenagers enjoying the numerous sports facilities.
And what facilities they are! Pony mad children will be suitably impressed by the massive horse riding stables complete with indoor heated arenas- there are even a few Shetland ponies for the teenies to try out. Young golfers can join their parents round the course for free, as well as getting lessons. There's a large swimming pool complex with outdoor hot tubs and children's pools. And there's also numerous other outdoor activities from off-roading in minature electric landrovers to archery and falconry. We had a go at falconry ourselves with an introductory session which was a fascinating insight into this age-old sport.
The hotel seemed particular popular with multi-generational groups - we took my Dad with me and it was a perfect place for him to enjoy time with his granddaughter and for me to enjoy time with him too.
Our rooms were in the modern Braid House which adjoins the main building. Our estate rooms were simply massive with huge bathrooms and a sofa bed for our daughter. You can also get adjoining bedrooms or go for adjoining rooms and suites- sleeping up to six children or four adults. As you'd expect from a luxury hotel, everything is thought of from child-sized bathrobes and slippers through to a babysitting service when you'd like a break from the family. We spotted one couple at reception blissed out on sleep telling the staff that this was the first time they'd been away from their small children and had consequently enjoyed the sleep of kings.
As we went in half term there were a lot of activities on offer for children of all ages from handicrafts to splash parties in the pool. Parents of children aged two and up get two hours of free childcare in the Playroom each day, while older children can wander in and out of The Zone with its gameboys and table football whenever they like.
Food-wise there's a large choice of restaurants - you can opt for mediterranean cuisine in the laid-back Deseo restaurant or go for burgers and grills in the recently revamped Clubhouse. Families with older children will certaily enjoy the more glamorous Strathearn with its focus on great steaks and traditional Scottish cuisine. And, if you avail yourself of the babysitting service or persuade your teenagers to amuse themselves, there's always the two Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie restaurant on site for a particularly special meal. Out of the ones we tried we probably most enjoyed the friendly service in Deseo and the food in the Clubhouse, particularly at lunchtime with its view over the 18th green.
There's no getting away from the fact that this is a pricey place to stay - we spotted a few celebrities and their families while we were there - but the fabulous location and numerous state of the art outdoor actitivies make this the perfect spot for an active family.Read moreLess
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