The choice of unique accommodation in Scotland has exploded over the last few years, with an ever-growing number of people (myself included) looking to spend the night somewhere more memorable than a bland hotel room.
I've stayed in a few unique places recently including a fishing boat, railway signal box, yurt and converted train carriage and I've become a bit addicted to taking staycations in quirky residences around Scotland!
Airbnb is fast becoming my go-to website for affordable or unusual accommodation and this summer I stumbled on an absolute gem in Glenwhan Gardens when I was searching for a little getaway.
The Shepherd's Hut at Glenwhan Gardens in Dumfries and Galloway ticked all my boxes -
Needless to say, I booked it immediately and a few weeks later myself, Mr Adventures Around Scotland and Willow the dog set off for our four night break in the stunning Rhins of Galloway, one of the most underrated parts of Scotland in my opinion.
Despite regularly visiting this area of Scotland, I'd never actually visited Glenwhan Gardens before and although it is only a short detour off the main road, you do need a car to get around if you stay here.
As we approached the Shepherd's Hut I was delighted that it was even cuter in real life than in the photos, however it is the setting in the gardens that makes this such a special place to stay.
Inside the space is cosy, compact and full of character. We had everything we needed including a small kitchen, wood-burning stove, water, electricity, a super comfy bed and the added bonus of a shower room with toilet, not something you usually find in accommodation like this.
Outside there is a little sitting area at the front and a private garden at the rear which is raised up to provide views across the garden and out to towards the Rhins of Galloway and Luce Bay. There are also bird-feeders along the front fence which we topped up during our stay and loved watching all the different varieties that stopped by for their breakfast and dinner including a daily visit from a great spotted woodpecker which was a real treat.
When the sun was shining we opened the doors wide and Willow enjoyed stretching out and sunbathing on the furry rug!
The real beauty of the Shepherd's Hut is it's unique setting among the stunningly beautiful Glenwhan Gardens. The gardens reminded me of books I read when I was younger where the characters would step through a secret portal into an enchanted world. Every day we spent at least a couple of hours weaving our way through the magical trails, discovering lily pad topped ponds and hidden sculptures among exotic flowers, brightly coloured shrubs and shady trees. A resident peacock and guinea fowl just added to the magic.
Beyond the gardens is a wilder moorland with pathways that take you through a totally different landscape and give you an idea of what the entire site looked like before the gardens were planted. Amazingly, Glenwhan Gardens are mainly down to the passion and vision of one woman, the owner Tessa Knot, who has dedicated her life to developing the plot since 1979.
The big bonus of staying at The Shepherd's Hut is having the gardens all to yourself after the public visitors have gone for the day!
It would actually be very easy to spend most of your time in the gardens as they are so pretty and relaxing. There is also a little tearoom with some lovely fresh food and home-baked cakes. As the tearoom is dog-friendly we opted to have lunch there one day with Willow and the salad from the garden was amazing! We also bought some cake to take back to the hut for Mr Adventures Around Scotland's birthday, which went down well with some strawberry wine as we sat outside that evening enjoying the scenery and complete tranquillity.
After a few days I felt totally de-stressed and had the best sleeps in ages! At night there was complete silence which probably helped with my undisturbed slumber although getting to sleep was a bit more difficult after I discovered how clear the night sky was as there is very little light pollution. I could have spent all night gazing out the little window next to the bed at the countless stars twinkling above.
When we weren't exploring the gardens, we enjoyed discovering new places in the Rhins of Galloway and visiting some old favourites. I'll be writing a blog post soon with my list of top things to do in the area.
The nearest main town to Glenwhan Gardens is Stranraer which is about a 10 minute drive away and although there aren't many tourist attractions in the town, there are supermarkets and a good choice of shops and cafes.
We loved our 4 nights away in this unique accommodation and I know that we will definitely book again in the near future. If you're looking for a unique place to stay in Scotland then I highly recommend the Shepherd's Hut at Glenwhan Gardens!
Incidentally, if you haven't tried Airbnb before, I really do urge you to give it a look as I've discovered some great places in Scotland and abroad through the site. If you use my referral link you can also get £25 off your first trip (subject to terms) so now is a great time to try it out and maybe even enjoy a relaxing break at Glenwhan Gardens for yourself.
Do you enjoy staying in unique accommodation like this or do you have more suggestions for quirky places to stay in Scotland? Let me know in the comments below :-)
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