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A short break in Aberfeldy, Scotland, with 3 suggested itineraries
Recently I undertook a journey across Scotland, staying at some of the country's best bed and breakfasts along the way. I put together my own itinerary and it was pretty amazing if I do say so myself!
This is the second of four blog posts covering each destination I stayed at, this article features Aberfeldy, a 2.5 hour drive north from my first stop in Ayr. You can use each blog post as a stand alone guide for visiting the featured location or follow the series of blog posts to recreate my Scottish road trip if you have more time.
Either way, I know you won't be disappointed so let's head to my second suggested stop in Aberfeldy...
Where to stay in Aberfeldy
Brae House Bed & Breakfast
I spent 2 nights at Brae House Bed and Breakfast, located in Aberfeldy, a picturesque town within Highland Perthshire. Check out my recommended itineraries below to discover some of the best things to do in and around Aberfeldy.
Brae House is situated within walking distance of Aberfeldy town centre which is home to numerous independent shops, eateries and a local cinema. The accommodation sits in an elevated position with windows that look out to the surrounding trees, hills and mountains.
Although you are just a stone's throw from the bustling town, Brae House is in a lovely quiet position making it the perfect place to retreat to after a busy day exploring.
Owner Patti is a warm laid back host who made me feel instantly at home. She is one of the volunteer Trustees of The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy and well connected within the community so has plenty of local tips and inspiration to pass on.
My guest room at Brae House was comfortable, tasteful and bright with numerous windows providing lots of light and vistas of the lush green landscape. Everything had been thought of from a small dining table and chairs to an ironing board and luxury bathrobe.
Patti had very kindly provided some gluten free shortbread on my hospitality tray so bonus points to her for being so thoughtful! Even better, I could wash them down with some proper coffee brewed up in a cafetiere - I'm not a great fan of instant coffee so I'm always delighted to find ground coffee on my travels - double thumbs up for Patti!
It really felt like Patti had put a lot of thought in to providing little luxuries that really enhance a stay including a lovely selection of Scottish toiletries, fresh milk and an extensive range of DVDs for rainy days.
Most importantly my bed was super cosy and the black out blinds ensured I wasn't woken up by the early summer sunrise which all added up to a great night's sleep.
There are only 2 guest rooms at Brae House so it has that intimate feel of staying in an actual home, however you also have your privacy as the rooms are on their own floor. A spacious guest sitting room provides a space to relax and browse through the stacks of leaflets, books and maps, or just sit and soak up the scenery from the supersize window.
I had let Patti know in advance I was gluten free so she was well prepared at breakfast time with plenty of choices, with many of the items sourced locally including meat and smoked salmon. Even the coffee is roasted a stone's throw away in Aberfeldy and the eggs are fresh from Patti's free range hens often seen strutting about her garden.
I opted for some berries to start and some cooked items to fuel me up for the day. It was another winner of a breakfast cooked perfectly and Patti made sure I had plentiful supplies of toast on the side too. I did note she had splashed out on better quality gluten free bread - I don't miss attention to details like this and think I have to give Patti triple thumbs up for thoughtfulness!
Not only is Brae House a member of Scotland's Best B&Bs, it has also been awarded a 4 star gold. From the minute I booked, to the minute I left, I couldn't help but be impressed by the effort Patti has put in to every part of her business.
If you're planning a trip to Aberfeldy, I can absolutely recommend a stay at Brae House.
What to do in and around Aberfeldy
Now you have your accommodation sorted, you might be wondering how best to spend your time in Highland Perthshire so I've suggested 3 road trips that include some of Scotland's loveliest scenery and a few hidden gems.
THREE ROAD TRIP ITINERARIES
Using Brae House Bed and Breakfast as your base, these routes are all easy to follow. I have included all the highlights so you can personalise each route to your own interests. It is unlikely you will have the time to to visit every place listed so I suggest picking a few places that you definitely want to include and adding in more attractions if you have time left over.
OPTION 1 - AROUND ABERFELDY
BEST FOR - A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
This circular route takes you from Aberfeldy to the nearby village of Kenmore on the edge of Loch Tay and back again. It includes outdoor experiences, historical attractions and local produce.
Scotland is blessed with countless wonderful walks all around the country. Even in cities and towns, you are never far away from a green space filled with nature. Finding rewarding walking trails on my travels around the country is one of my favourite things to do and when I discover somewhere extra special you can be sure I will also share it here with you.
The circular walk at the Birks of Aberfeldy in Highland Perthshire definitely falls in to that category. This beauty spot even managed to captivate Robert Burns who was inspired to compose 'The Birks of Aberfeldy'. Prior to his poem, the area was actually called the Den of Moness and renamed after his lyrics were put to a pre-existing melody and became a popular song.
The route takes you through a mossy woodland and up past tumbling waterfalls until you reach Upper Moness Falls, the highest on the walk. I think it is a pretty magical place and obviously Burns did too, so if you fancy following in both our footsteps, read on...
Birks of Aberfeldy Walk Details
DISTANCE - Approx 2 miles from the designated free car park, add on about 1/2 mile each way if you are walking from Aberfeldy town centre
TIME - The walk takes on average 1 - 2 hours depending on how often you stop to admire the scenery!
TERRAIN - A mixture of designated pathways, wooden walkways and steps. Steep climb on the way up.
DIFFICULTY - Most of the walks I feature on my blog are easy to moderate as I want to include options that most people can manage. I would say that the circular route around The Birks of Aberfeldy is more towards the moderate category as there is some steep climbing in parts. However, provided you have good mobility and a basic level of fitness then it is achievable. If you do need a wee break then there are benches and view points where you can enjoy a wee breather.
TIPS - I would recommend following the trail clockwise - this direction is the most rewarding as you climb up past the many waterfalls but it does involve lots of steep steps. Alternatively you can head anti-clockwise which involves walking uphill on a slope and coming down the stairs on the way back. For the purposes of this blog, I'll be referring to the clockwise route.
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ROBERT BURNS
From the car park turn left and cross the first of several wooden footbridges over Moness Burn. The start of the walk is flat and easy going. Before long you will reach a sculpture of Rabbie Burns sitting on a bench, notepad in hand. Take a seat next to him and take in the scenery that inspired Scotland's National Bard to put pen to paper.
Burns visited in August 1787 and a little further along the way you will find the actual spot that he was alleged to have sat at while composing his famous poem. Although some of the woodland has changed since his visit, the oak, ash, hazel and birch trees are still there.
The birch trees are the stars of Rabbie's poem - 'birks' is the Scots for birch trees .
Taymouth Marina offers luxury self-catering accommodation next to Loch Tay. They recently invited me along to experience their resort which is perfect for those that like to play hard during the day and fully relax in their free time.
Taymouth Marina - Luxury Accommodation on Loch Tay
The area around Loch Tay and Kenmore in particular, is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors. With Munros to climb, forests to explore and just about every water-based activity you can think of available on Loch Tay itself, you are guaranteed to never be bored. The region is a big draw to those looking for an active holiday in Scotland. If you are going to be playing hard during the day, you probably want an accommodation base that also provides facilities to help you fully relax in your downtime. This is the full package that Taymouth Marina is aiming to provide.
After asking for feedback from you lovely folk last year about what you would like to see more of on my blog, I discovered quality accommodation recommendations were high on your list. This is definitely something I plan to do more of and I'm delighted to share my first hotel review of the year with you.
Earlier this month I was invited to check out the recently refurbished Murrayshall House Hotel in Perthshire. I must emphasise that I get quite a few offers to review accommodation and carry out lots of prior research before deciding if a place sounds like somewhere I could potentially recommend - I always decline invitations if I suspect the accommodation isn't up to scratch. I feel it is important to share this with so you can be assured that only the best places to stay in Scotland, based on my personal research and experience, make it to my blog.
After reading glowing public reviews about Murrayshall House, I was keen to find out what all the fuss was about and I'm glad to say it easily surpassed my high standards.
Murrayshall House Hotel is situated in Scone which is in the Perth and Kinross region of Scotland. It has a peaceful feel as it is surrounded by 365 acres of countryside which also incorporates two 18 hole golf courses and a driving range.
However, it is also only just over 4 miles from Scone Palace, the crowning place of Scottish kings, and just over 3 miles from the city of Perth, making it an ideal base for exploring this part of the country although you would really need a car if you were staying here as it is a bit off the main road.
Check out my Perthshire travel blogs for more local inspiration
Murrayshall House has an interesting history, dating back to 1664 when it was initially owned by Sir Andrew Murray whose descendants, the Earls of Mansfield, still occupy nearby Scone Palace. It remained in the same family for 260 years, with modernisation carried out in the 18th and 19th century. In 1927 it left the family and was bought by local businessman Francis Norrie-Millar, the founder of General Accident. In 1973 it was sold again and developed into a hotel. The hotel has recently undergone a major refurbishment, combining tasteful contemporary Scottish decor with retained historical features.
If golf is your thing you might be interested to know that the golf course was designed by Hamilton J. Stutt who was involved with the building or improvement of many famous courses including Turnberry and St Mellion Old Course.
There are 40 bedrooms and suites offering a choice of accommodation and from checking the website rates, the prices are pretty standard for this level of four star quality, ranging from £170 to £250 per night at the time of writing. It is worth noting that these are the maximum rates and the hotel does seem to offer much better deals on their website which are really good value so be sure to check them out.
I stayed in room 2 which I believe is going to be renamed The Millar Suite and it was amazing! On entering I was super excited to see the carved four poster bed and immediately felt like a proper pampered princess. The suite itself was huge with a comfy sitting area, a separate dressing room and an extra big bathroom. I did a little tour of my suite on my Instagram stories and got quite a few 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahs' and admiring comments which is always a good sign.
The decor had just the right hint of traditional Scottish with a contemporary twist and I loved the giant period feature windows with views towards the Strathmore Valley and Grampian Mountains. Of course having been recently refurbished it also had the modern extras you might expect like a giant TV and plenty of sockets. The only extra I would add is some fluffy dressing gowns and slippers to complete the luxury experience.
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