Christmas at Crieff Hydro with the Extended Family
As my Fathers 70th birthday was approaching we were trying to think how we could celebrate. Previously we had been lucky enough to have two trips to Crieff Hydro as a family of five. One staying in a lodge and one in the hotel itself. For us, although it is an 8 plus hour drive from Norfolk, it is a perfect getaway as it also enables us to visit family en route, and the hotel is accessible for us to meet up with friends from Glasgow whose daughter Eilidh has a very magical whizzy wheelchair.
And so it was arranged that my brother and his family would go from Edinburgh, my parents from East Lothian and us from Norfolk for the big celebration. The kids have been dragged on long car trips to Somerset and Scotland from being tiny babies and things have improved from having three under 2 years with stops every 40 minutes to feed/change and clear up vomit. We now have technology to confiscate which is the prefect bribery and have perfected in car snacking with cheese, nuts, crisps and 4 litres of water per long trip. Toilet stops are dictated by me as I am the one with the weakest pelvic floor of five. I can make it to 4 hours if dehydrated by Vesper Martinis 🍸🍸the night before.
We had a combination of packages for over the festive season as we arrived on the 29th of December. Some days offer a £25 freedom dining allowance for adults and less for kids, others include a full board option.
There is an inclusive kids club which is open three times a day for up to three hours at a time which you need to book well in advance especially at busy times. The morning of the 1st of January was clearly very popular as we missed out!
The hotel had a jam packed festive activity programme including ceilidh sessions, and faithful regulars such as a twice daily film in the little cinema, a brilliant pool and one of the best in hotel gyms I have visited. There is a lovely spa but we didn’t go on this visit. The hotel was beautifully decorated and very festive and all staff were friendly and more than happy to help.
Our room was 259 and had an adjoining room for the kids with bunk beds and a single as well as a lovely bathroom with bath (hurrah!) and White Company products.
The only issue with our room was that it was above the smoking shelter so there were a fair few episodes of arguments, singing and generally raucousness which woke us up in the middle of the night. Lara was fast to tell the partying guests to shut up out her window.
We swam every day and ate between the Meikle restaurant – a bit posh, and the Brasserie- more relaxed. The kids enjoyed lots of time outside on the trampolines in the grounds which were visible from the Brasserie, and Pokemon hunting in the gardens. There are lots of beautiful walks though the forests which are clearly marked from the hotel.
We had booked the Aloft Experience and on the day we planned to do this it was freezing and sleeting. We reluctantly dragged the kids to the equipment hut, but I have to say this was one of the best experiences we have had with the children! They were all very enthusiastic and there were no complaints. The instructor, Duncan, said he had never had a family so underdressed (we are all always too hot and 3 of us just had T shirts on) or heard so much swearing on the zip lines(possibly me.) The only top tip I would suggest is to wear gloves!
The celebrations for my Fathers birthday went well. The Grandkids had a ball and I didn’t punch my brother. So all good. We had a fabulous , but brief meet up with our best Weegie friends and even got to fit in a few cocktails.
Homeward bound 3 arguments, 3 sat nav reboots , 2 U turns and a confiscated iPad and we weren’t even out of Crieff but we made it home in one piece after a heroic 8 hour drive.
Next trip …… Suffolk!!
NB: Ailsa paid for her trip and has simply submitted a guest post. All views and opinions her own.
Featured Image: Flickr