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From Capital to Countryside: Exploring Scotland’s Splendour

June 5, 2024

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Leaving behind the hectic everyday life for fresh air in my lungs and mud caked onto my Barbour boots.

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Approaching Edinburgh’s embrace, a tranquil calm washed over me. Amidst the symphony of Scottish accents swirling around, and the verdant landscapes painting a picture below, I found solace in the purpose driving my escape.

Our journey unfolded like a tapestry woven with sixteenth-century streets and the rolling hills of Perthshire, each sip of Scottish whisky adding depth to the experience. Choosing our accommodations was a breeze; in the realm of Scottish hospitality, Gleneagles reigns supreme. And with the recent introduction of Gleneagles Townhouse, seamlessly blending with its legendary countryside estate, planning an itinerary spanning Edinburgh’s urban charm to the tranquility of the countryside was a seamless endeavour.

Duration: 5 nights, six days–consider expanding your custom itinerary.

Why We Love It: Multi-generational families, heritage trips, city getaways, and milestone celebrations.

Style of Trip: City chill meets cool outdoorsy countryside.

IMAGE COURTESY OF UNSPLASH

Itinerary

Day 1, Arrive in the Capital: Edinburgh

Our first stop: Gleneagles Townhouse. A quick taxi ride, and within ten minutes, our driver, doubling as a tour guide, kindly offered to snap a photo of the spot where Harry Potter was filmed. It was an early indication that the people we’d meet on this trip wouldn’t just extend hospitality but would genuinely ensure Scotland embraced us!

Nestled in the heart of Scotland’s capital, St. Andrew Square, Gleneagles Townhouse unveiled its charms. Crossing its unassuming threshold feels like entering an exclusive club—a sentiment not entirely misplaced, considering the hotel also hosts a members’ club catering to the city’s creative minds. Architecture enthusiasts will marvel at the transformation of this former Bank of Scotland into a sleek, thirty-three-key retreat. After a meticulous five-year renovation, it now exudes a plush ambiance, with hues of pink meeting green to create a paradise. As I savoured a coffee amidst The Spence’s velvet banquets, beneath the mesmerising dome ceiling, the allure of the present moment eclipsed any desire to be elsewhere, this place is special.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

We embarked on a leisurely stroll along St. Andrew Square, keen to get some exploration under our belt on the first day. Indulging in Dishoom’s renowned daal, we then consulted the meticulously crafted map provided by Gleneagles Townhouse, using it as our compass to traverse Waverley Bridge and delve into the cobblestone pathways of Victoria Street.

Nestled in Grassmarket, a district steeped in history dating back to the 14th century when it bustled with agricultural trade, you’ll encounter shops brimming with Scottish-made treasures. Prepare to succumb to the allure of Harris Tweed, perhaps even leaving with more than intended. Consider a visit to Walker Slater for impeccably tailored tweed suits, coats, and accessories, available in both men’s and women’s boutiques. Alternatively, lose your heart to a charming blazer at Kiltane, a keepsake certain you’ll want to take home with you.

IMAGE COURTESY OF HARRIS TWEED

When dinnertime arrived, the choice was clear: a quintessential British meal of fish and chips in a cosy pub atmosphere. Amidst the plethora of options, we found ourselves nestled in a booth at The World’s End. As the day wound down and we sought a nightcap, returning to our sanctuary seemed only fitting. Gleneagles Townhouse’s rooftop gem, Lamplighters, offered an exclusive haven for hotel guests and members alike. With its panoramic city views and inviting ambiance bathed in natural light, lively conversations flowed effortlessly, making it the perfect setting to round off our day.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Day 2, Exploring Edinburgh

While the Royal Mile may dominate the capital’s thoroughfares, Edinburgh hides myriad historical and cultural treasures beyond its bustling main artery. With WeGalavant’s assistance, coordinated through the Gleneagles Townhouse team, you can secure tickets to Edinburgh Castle, an iconic U.K. landmark. Plan your castle excursion wisely; allocating a minimum of two hours allows ample time to explore its labyrinthine halls. During our visit, even with time constraints, we savored glimpses of The Great Hall, St. Margaret’s Chapel, The Queen’s Embroideries, and the Honours of Scotland, each housed within its sprawling complex.

Alternatively, if your tastes lean towards the artistic, the National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery beckon with their world-class collections, promising a journey through some of humanity’s finest artistic achievements.

IMAGE COURTESY OF UNSPLASH

As the day unfolded, we carved out a moment to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, nestled just a stone’s throw from the city centre. For those intrigued by the fate of the Royal Yacht Britannia after watching The Crown Season Five, Edinburgh holds the answer. Our exclusive tour commenced with a grand red carpet welcome, followed by a captivating journey through the meticulously preserved chambers of the vessel. Walking the very corridors where Her Majesty entertained royalty, dignitaries, and luminaries from across the globe left us spellbound. Witnessing her modest twin bed nestled within the State Apartments added an intimate touch to our exploration. We concluded our immersion in royal history with a delightful afternoon tea, complete with champagne and scones aboard the yacht, an experience that undoubtedly etched itself as a highlight of our Edinburgh escapade.

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As our final evening in the city unravelled, we savoured a memorable dinner at The Spence. This esteemed restaurant, welcoming hotel guests, members, and non-guests openly, treated us to a culinary journey of modern Scottish-inspired dishes crafted by Head Chef Jonny Wright, each expertly paired with skillfully balanced cocktails.

For a sweet finale, the piña colada baked Alaska for two proved to be an unexpected delight not to be missed. And for those with a penchant for robust libations, indulging in “The Scientist” cocktail, featuring Glenfiddich twelve-year-old whisky, promises to transport you straight to the heart of Scottish reverie.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Day 3, From Capital to Countryside, Auchterarder

Our third morning in Scotland commenced with a lingering farewell meal at The Spence before our scheduled transfer to Gleneagles. As a sleek Range Rover pulled up to the Townhouse’s entrance, there lingered a bittersweet pang as we bid adieu, swiftly replaced by an eager anticipation for the next chapter of our journey.

The scenic drive to Gleneagles unfolded over just over an hour, during which we swapped tales with our amiable chauffeur, delving into the rich history of Gleneagles’ esteemed golf courses. Welcomed by Helen’s warm wave upon arrival, we were enveloped in the embrace of the entire Gleneagles team.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

A highlight of stepping into the ninety-nine-year-old estate is the heartfelt greeting from Richard, a twenty-three-year veteran whose expertise spans every facet of the guest experience. From his beginnings in food and beverage, Richard now serves as the Lobby Host, orchestrating the bustling activity in the lobby while ensuring guests feel right at home—perhaps even arranging a well-deserved libation or two as they settle in.

Adorning the walls, a gallery of photos featuring icons like Sir Sean Connery and Andy Murray, alongside esteemed golf pros, evokes the hotel’s storied legacy. After settling into your abode—families, take note of the spacious Two-Bedroom Whisky Suites—engage with the Playground Planners. While your WeGalavant Club Curator customizes your itinerary pre-arrival, the dynamic nature of travel allows for on-the-fly adjustments. Refine your tee times, archery lessons, and picnics based on your evolving interests, with the option to rent wellies and a Barbour jacket for added comfort.

Strolling through The Retail Arcade, explore boutique offerings ranging from clothing to homewares and beauty products from esteemed brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm. Come evening, a reservation at The Birnam, the recently renovated restaurant, transports diners to the heart of Italy or, more accurately, the Scottish countryside. We found ourselves captivated by the tantalising seafood pasta and pesto-marinated olives, reminiscent of seaside bliss. However, it was the Amalfi lemon sorbet washed down with limoncello that stole the spotlight. If you’re keen for another libation, The Century Bar beckons with its timeless charm.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Day 4, Get Immerse Yourself in Scotlands Wonder

Our first full morning at Gleneagles dawned with anticipation for a day brimming with activities. Before diving into our agenda, we made our way to breakfast at The Strathearn, where the front desk recommended requesting a table in the Orangery. Amidst the seamless orchestration of breakfast service, it was impossible not to marvel at the surroundings. The toughest decision of the day? Choosing between indulging in Nutella pancakes from the made-to-order menu or exploring the buffet laden with delicacies like cured Scottish salmon, individually fired shakshuka, an array of fresh-squeezed juices, and a tempting bloody mary bar.

Fuelled and ready, we ventured to the links for our tee time, where golf at Gleneagles beckoned enthusiasts from across the globe. We tackled The Queen’s Course, known for its accessibility among Glen’s trio, and marvelling at the scenic vistas. Gleneagles, recently host to The Ryder and Solheim Cups, has rightfully earned its reputation as a haven for sports enthusiasts. Alongside the par-68 Queen’s Course, the King’s Course, a Braid-designed masterpiece, and the Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course offer alternatives for avid golfers to explore.

Returning to the property, we prepared for dinner at “The Strath,” affectionately dubbed by the Gleneagles team. An evening here unfolds over three courses, a more condensed affair compared to the nearby two-Michelin-starred Andre Fairlie, renowned for its elaborate tasting menus. Concluding our evening with a nightcap at the American Bar was a fitting finale.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Day 5, A full on Day of Falconry, Gundogs, and Shooting

On our last full day at Gleneagles, we dove into what the estate excels at: activities. After breakfast, we wandered over to the Falconry School for an introduction to the ancient sport, guided by the delightful Keenan, a seasoned Falconry Instructor. The entire adventure team exudes a deep connection to their work, but Keenan’s enthusiasm—whether with the gundogs or the impressive array of birds—truly made our visit memorable. He led us through a Gundog course and introduced us to Callie, the liveliest of their thirteen expertly trained dogs.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

For lunch, we strolled back to The Garden Cafe, a laid-back spot on the property featuring salads, freshly baked pastries, and an array of caffeinated drinks. This mid-day meal energised us for our final adventure of the day, just a short drive away at the Shooting and Fishing School. Initially unsure about how much I’d enjoy the lesson, my apprehension melted away as soon as we met our instructor, John. We started with clay pigeon shooting and then moved on to archery, rounding out a fantastic afternoon.

Dinner on our last evening took us back to the golf course, where we had a reservation at The Dormy, offering stunning views of the King’s and Queen’s championship courses. As we savoured shared plates of mouthwatering Indian curries and crispy tandoori breads, we reminisced about our epic trip’s highlights.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Day 6, Departure Day

On our final morning in Scotland, we felt a twinge of sadness knowing it was time to leave. However, the anticipation of a spa treatment after our room service breakfast made the farewell easier. The Resident Spa provides a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation, offering treatments like the Highland Healer massage or facials with Tata Harper or Dr. Barbara Sturm products. Before leaving, we swung by The Retail Arcade to pick up artisanal items, including the delicious jam served on the property. We departed Gleneagles not with a goodbye, but with a promise to return soon.

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

The Hotels

Gleneagles Townhouse

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Nestled in the lively St. Andrew Square of Edinburgh, the Gleneagles Townhouse presents a grand yet cosy retreat with its 33 guestrooms. This elegant property, featuring a discreet entrance, exudes a glamorous neo-Victorian ambiance. Each room reflects the building’s noble heritage, boasting high ceilings, antique rugs, and free-standing tubs. The all-day restaurant offers a variety of international dishes, including west coast langoustines and pumpkin and feta tarts. At the rooftop bar, Lamplighters, guests can enjoy cocktails inspired by author Robert Louis Stevenson while taking in panoramic views of the city.

WeGalavant Perks:

Room upgrade & Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability, Daily Full breakfast, £75 hotel credit to spend and more.

Gleneagles

IMAGE COURTESY OF GLENEAGLES

Gleneagles, an iconic country estate and luxury destination for nearly a century, is situated just an hour’s drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. This five-star retreat, set within 850 acres of Scotland’s rugged natural beauty, offers a diverse array of pursuits for every season. Visitors can enjoy three championship golf courses, falconry with a Harris hawk, horseback riding, tennis, off-roading, gundog training, Michelin-starred dining, and an award-winning spa. Gleneagles promises a world of unforgettable experiences.

WeGalavant Perks:

Room upgrade & Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability, Daily Full breakfast, £75 hotel credit to spend and more.

Reach out to your WeGalavant Club Curator for more info on booking.

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