FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
The health benefits of being outdoors are well known, so taking a break where you have access to glorious countryside is sure to make you feel fabulous
SF's subscribers get back to nature on holidays with access to the great outdoors
Macleod House & Lodge REVIEWED BY ZOË & ANDY BING FROM FORFAR
Whatever your political views, I don’t think you could fault Donald Trump for picking the wild and beautiful Aberdeenshire coastline to site his golf course and hotel. Set on Menie Estate, MacLeod House is a former victorian shooting lodge which has been transformed into a watchword for luxury.
Once we’d driven round the ‘Versaille’ type fountain at the front and squeezed in next to an Aston Martin, we thought we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. But this wasn’t quite the big, brash experience we were anticipating; much more intimate, much less intimidating and less gilt.
As soon as we arrived, smiling staff were on hand to whisk our luggage up to our room which was spacious and ridiculously comfortable. The bed was so large and sumptuous if you took a run at it you might not resurface until next Tuesday. The shower, if fitted out with some furniture, could probably double as a spare room. All beautifully appointed in marble with white fluffy towels to match and, joy of joy, some Trump monogrammed slippers.
We began our evening with some delicious, locally distilled gin and tonics in the renowned whisky bar and then moved on to the relaxed but sumptuously furnished dining room for the six-course taster menu. The loin of Ross-shire lamb with almond mousse, smoked shallot purée, pomme dauphin and leeks and red wine jus was a highlight for us. After a hearty breakfast, one final treat; a tour of the golf course. Beautiful rolling sand dunes and sea views. Hard to trump it really.
Westside Woodshed REVIEWED BY MADDIE SMITH & ANDREW PRICE FROM EDINBURGH
Although Eastside Farm is only a short drive from Edinburgh, it really feels like an escape to the countryside. After slowly driving along the bumpy farm road to the Westside Woodshed, you are deep in the heart of the Pentlands with scenic views in every direction. We arrived on a Friday evening to a tray of delicious scones with butter and jam and quickly made ourselves at home in our luxurious surroundings.
The Scandi-chic timber cottage is decorated to an exceptionally high standard with underfloor heating and a wellequipped open-plan kitchen. The whitewashed wooden walls and glass doors mean it is bright and airy and allows beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The cabin is ideally situated as a jumping-off point to some of the best Pentland hills walking routes, but for those who prefer to relax, it comes equipped with an outdoor wood-fired hot tub. It requires lighting and maintaining a fire to heat the water but everything you need is provided along with a handy set of instructions.
It takes about three to four hours to get the tub to a suitable temperature. My boyfriend was in his element out in the sun, tending the fire, beer in hand with only the sound of sheep and chickens for company. He enjoyed it so much that by the time we tried to get into the tub, the water was more suitable for cooking spaghetti than a relaxing dip. However, it wasn’t long until it cooled down to the perfect temperature and we stayed out there for hours. It was the perfect getaway.
EASTSIDE COTTAGES, PENICUIK, MIDLOTHIAN EH26 9LN www.eastside cottages.co.uk Prices from £550 per week
Balmedie, Aberdeenshire AB23 8YE www.trumpgolf scotland.com/ hotel Prices from £125 per person