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Early January UK (possibly Scotland) snow holiday? Crazy idea??

(23 Posts)
Wiifitmama Sat 20-Jul-13 20:27:55

I am thinking about a winter holiday and love the idea of somewhere somewhat rural, snowy, cozy fire, kids playing outdoors. Is this crazy? Unrealistic?

We live in London and would need to travel by train. We will not rent a car once there so need somewhere accessible by train and then walkable to nearest shops etc. But not a city break.

It would be first week of new term in January that we would go (homeschooled kids). The kids are not littlies. Ages 5,9 and 12. I would love somewhere with an indoor pool too (not asking much!)

So my questions are: is this doable? Is it crazy? It is worth traveling so far? Where to go?


Wiifitmama Sat 20-Jul-13 20:53:28

No Scottish people on here tonight? Or maybe everyone thinks I am nuts?? smile

stargirl1701 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:55:02

Aviemore is easily accessible by train as is Fort William.

Both the Cairngorms & Nevis Range will have snow but it may or may not be at low levels.

mummymeister Sat 20-Jul-13 20:55:55

If it is rural then it is going to have accessibility issues. when you live in London and are used to bus/tube/train its difficult to imagine how crap it can be where there is only one bus a week on a tuesday!! if it is snowing then more so. if you go and are quite prepared to stay holed up in a cottage doing not much then it will be fine. however, being stuck somewhere possibly with no power possibly with shops distant in the winter isn't going to be that much fun realistically. if you want to do this sort of break then you would be better off in a small hotel imo or even a more "luxury end" resort. however if you travel by train a lot then you know that a hint of snow and they stop running. trying not to be the merchant of doom and gloom but these sort of holidays always sound idyllic in theory but, having been on one, the practice is a whole heap different.

Wiifitmama Sat 20-Jul-13 20:59:52

Yes, the thought that the snow we crave may totally disrupt our travel did cross my mind!

And also the accessibility thing too. We have done it very successfully to small villages in places like Devon, but always in the warmer months.

We can't do a hotel. Too expensive for 5 of us and my dh has medical diet issues that mean we need to self cater.

What sort of luxury resort? Can you think of one in particular to recommend?

stargirl1701 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:00:12

The Hilton at Coluymbridge (sp?) is lovely. The chalets are fab but will probably be booked for this Jan.

SirChenjin Sat 20-Jul-13 21:02:17

Agree with Mummymeister.

We may or may not get snow, but we usually get freezing winds, ice, horizontal rain and sleet. It's not easy to get around - despite what you might think, Scotland does not handle snow as other countries who get snow for months every year, which we don't. I would be tempted to wait until much nearer the time to see what the weather is going to do, otherwise you might not get as far north as you would like once Scotrail decide the wrong type of weather is affecting the lines.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 21:02:23

I think very rural scotland in January, without a car, could be difficult.

But if you are happy to change trains and stay in a town check out a little Perthshire town called dunkeld. It's got a train station, nice river walks, some lovely shops/coffee stops etc. if it looks a bit small Pitlochry is bigger.

The rail line from edinburgh to Inverness stops in a few places but IMHO dunkeld is nicest. A bit quiet in January but I like quiet.

Don't rule out edinburgh. Not far on the train and you don't have to travel too far to end up somewhere rural.


stargirl1701 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:08:56

What about Perth? It's technically a city but about the size of a small town.

Wiifitmama Sat 20-Jul-13 21:13:40

The Hilton lodges look amazing! But I do understand what everyone is saying about the disruption and weather. Thanks for that. Perhaps abroad is a better idea. I just wanted to avoid flying (the expense, the hassle, the fear blush)

Wiifitmama Sat 20-Jul-13 21:17:30

Ok, sell me on Edinburgh! Is there a resort like the Hilton one near there? I don't mind travelling into Edinburgh by train to sight see. I don't really want to stay in the city though.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 21:17:55

I wouldn't be put off by the weather... Apart from the awful winter 2009/2010 most of the time things run ok!

We often holiday in scotland - have done so in winter - and it's always been great, even if the weather is erratic. It does get dark earlier though.

Another great time to visit - especially Perthshire - is October.

stargirl1701 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:23:24

Gleneagles is very naice! grin

Parklands Hotel in Perth is lovely. The Royal George in Perth is really central and very historic (Queen Victoria stayed there twice).

Duchally Estate near Perth is more like the Hilton.

Atholl Palace in Pitlochry has stunning views.

SirChenjin Sat 20-Jul-13 21:34:57

I've lived in Scotland for the last 35 years, and I can assure you travel is not always that easy! Edinburgh is lovely (but then I would say that grin) but I'm not sure where you might get a Hilton type resort fairly nearish on a train line. The Peebles Hydro is about 45 minutes south of Edinburgh - I've heard mixed reviews, some great, others not so - but has a pool and seems to be good for families. What about Edinburgh itself - lots to do in the city centre, and you could get a nice hotel in the Old Town. Dunkeld is also lovely.

stargirl1701 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:37:09

Dunblane Hydro? (Train station)

Crieff Hydro? (Not sure about train here)

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 21:40:41

Peebles hydro is great - but no train. There is a bus though from edinburgh. Peebles itself is a lovely town.

Dunblane is also a good call. But not as charming - or rural - as dunkeld. (Could happily live in dunkeld)

stargirl1701 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:42:35

Not heard good things about Dunked Hilton from 3 people who have stayed there in the last 3 months.

SirChenjin Sat 20-Jul-13 21:51:13

Yes, bus from Edinburgh to Peebles, not a train - sorry, should have said. There isn't a station at Crieff anymore, which is a shame as the Hydro there is fab.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 20-Jul-13 21:55:46

What about the snow train then? I bet it'd be quite reasonable price wise for the week you're thinking of.

We fly to Geneva in the 2nd or 3rd week of January each year and get the flights for between £400-500 for 4 of us plus luggage (including skis).

Snow would be much more guaranteed and travel much less likely to be disrupted.

wigglybeezer Sat 20-Jul-13 22:04:54

Crieff is nice, we had a January holiday there once, lots of activities and last time my friend stayed there David Tennant and his wife were there with their little girl, it is famously child friendly. It is not on a train line but is the kind of o LE fashioned hotel that would probably collect you from a station ( gleneagles station is about 15 miles away and on the main line from London) I have also stayed at the hiltons in Dunkeld and Coylumbridge and Macdonald resort in Aviemore and used to live almost next door to the Hilton in Dunblane. My advice, Crieff Hydro is the nicest building and has very some very nice lodges, nice wee town, good walks and views. Aviemore, less attractive buildings, lodges bit more basic but much better pool, more highland scenery, easy for transport, good outdoor activities, plenty buses to ski slope that go through lovely forests and past Loch Morlich. Coylumbridge is 2/3 miles nearer the ski slopes with lovely forest walks virtually from the door. Dunblane, too suburban, Dunkeld too quiet.
My advice; perfectly doable to rent, a cottage or lodge in Aviemore or Coylumbridge as there is easy access to many walks and activities from the villages, using the ski shuttle bus, a bit of walking or hiring bikes. You can also pay to swim in the nice hotel pool in Aviemore.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 22:13:32

Good advice from wiggly - you won't get bored in aviemore. Great for DCs. Almost guaranteed snow!

Edinburgh is amazing. If you don't want a city break and want to be on a train line though its harder as trains don't generally go to the more remote places apart from the Inverness line (aviemore etc)

Piffpaffpoff Sat 20-Jul-13 22:20:18

Another vote for Aviemore, ideally Coylumbridge. There's at least one direct train a day to and from Kings Cross or take the sleeper! Once you are at Coylumbridge there are loads of lovely walks on the doorstep, the ski bus stops outside on the main road, there's a pool etc. Inverness is about 30 mins away by train and that's always our bad weather day trip out when we are there. Lots to do, lots of nice cafes for cake and hot choc.

JollyHolidayGiant Sat 20-Jul-13 22:32:35

I think Aviemore would be good.

We are in NE Scotland and had snow from late Jan to early April this year. The trains ran most days but were sometimes delayed.

Aviemore is set up for snowy weather so there'd be plenty to do.

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