As I stood on the porch of my latest 'home from home' I was filled with my usual eager anticipation. Opening the door, I peeked my head inside and had a quick scope around. My first thought was 'Wow!' and the smile on my face reassured Mr Adventures Around Scotland that our new abode for the weekend was as lovely as we had hoped.
'It's like a show-home' I declared excitedly, before we kicked off our shoes and padded across the springy carpet to explore our surprisingly spacious holiday lodge.
We had been invited to stay at an ABI Ben Lomond Lodge in Loch Lomond Holiday Park and compared to other lodges I have stayed in recently, this was on another level with luxury bespoke fittings and co-ordinated soft furnishings. It really did feel like a bijou show-home and I was immediately ready to move in!
I probably shouldn't have been surprised as ABI specialise in designing quality hand built holiday homes that can be purchased by anyone wanting their own permanent holiday escape.
The open plan kitchen and living area was lovely and bright with patio doors leading out to a large porch with views to Loch Lomond and two big squishy sofas to relax on. The main bedroom had a little en-suite dressing room and bathroom, and a second twin bedroom and shower room meant that a family or larger group could stay there comfortably.
While I was busy nosying in every drawer and cupboard (and there were a lot!), Mr Adventures Around Scotland was distracted by the gadgets and before I knew it he had connected up his phone to the built in sound system and the discreet speakers in the ceiling burst into life. Although I'm not usually into gadgets, even I was impressed with all the modern touches including USB fittings on the sockets.
Our lodge had everything we needed for our stay and then some! Once every nook and cranny was thoroughly investigated we decided to venture out and explore our surroundings; with the sun in the sky and Loch Lomond literally on our doorstep it would have been rude not to!
Our ABI Ben Lomond Lodge was set within the lovely Loch Lomond Holiday Park, near to Inveruglas on the west side of the loch. I was impressed by the well stocked shop which is adjacent to a resident's lounge and launderette. As our lodge was fully equipped with a washing machine this isn't something we needed but is still a handy facility.
This is a great area to explore the Scottish outdoors and if you are feeling adventurous there is an option to hire bikes, kayaks or paddle-boards on site.
As we passed the play-park, I couldn't resist a shot on the swings, I mean look at the view to Ben Lomond, it just had to be done!
We really wanted to cosy into our lodge for the evening so we decided not to venture too far beyond the holiday park. A quick drive to the Falls of Falloch and a stop at the viewpoint at Inveruglas was followed by dinner back at our lodge and a relaxing glass of wine out on the deck before flopping into our comfy bed.
Despite visiting Loch Lomond countless times, I always find something new to do and the following day we opted to take a boat trip from nearby Luss to the island of Inchcailloch. The crossing was a fabulous experience as we travelled around many of the other islands that dot the loch and listened to the fascinating commentary from our skipper. I honestly think I learned more about Loch Lomond on that trip than on any other visit!
Inchcailloch is a small island so we had plenty of time to explore most of the walking trails before the next boat returned to pick us up. We walked up the summit to the lovely viewpoint and continued on to an old burial ground with some interesting grave stones before before heading to the beach to watch for our water bus back to Luss.
Luss has to be one of Scotland's prettiest villages and when we arrived back from our island excursion, the earlier dark clouds had been replaced by blue skies, good old Scottish weather! We sat at a table outside the Village Rest Cafe and enjoyed some tea and cake in the warm sunshine before taking a leisurely amble through the picturesque streets lined with colourful flower coated cottages.
When it was time to head back to the lodge for dinner, we opted to avoid the busy A82 road and took the much quieter and more scenic route through Glen Douglas and Arrochar. This is a nice little detour if you have the time.
At the end of a busy day exploring it felt good to be able to relax in such sumptuous surroundings. After dinner I even treated myself to a big frothy bubble bath and it was total bliss to light my little aromatherapy travel candle and soak away the day with a glass of wine and a magazine.
By the time I was out the tub, the rain had returned with a vengeance but Mr Adventures Around Scotland and I weren't bothered as we put the fire on and cosied up for a night in front of the TV. As the deluge continued outside, we felt snug as two bugs and I felt spoiled being able to watch the stormy weather over the mountains through the patio doors while warmly cocooned inside our lovely lodge.
The following morning I was still trying to decide where we should head that day. Loch Lomond Holiday Park is in such a great location that there are countless options with Glencoe, Arrochar, Perthshire and the Trossachs all within easy reach. In the end I decided that we should head south to the town of Helensburgh.
Our first stop was at Fruin Farm which is one of my favourite new discoveries as it has a lovely little restaurant and art gallery, however it is their small collection of animals that made my day. Being able to get up close to their alpacas, llamas, goats, sheep and horse mean that I will now be detouring this way whenever I'm in the area. They even offer alpaca walks and llama treks which is my idea of a dream day out so I can definitely see a return visit on the horizon!
Just down the road from Fruin Farm is The Hill House, said to be the finest example of a residential property by artist, architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. If, like me, you are a fan of his work then this is a must visit. It is a gorgeous house to wander around and a real testament to his genius.
Our final stop was at the beautiful, 200 year old, Geilston Garden. an oasis of tranquility just outside Helensburgh. This was the ideal spot to enjoy a picnic lunch and reflect on our fantastic weekend in this beautiful part of Scotland.
That evening we pottered about the holiday park and spent time on the beach gazing over to Ben Lomond and feeling totally relaxed.
The next morning I took my tea outside to savour the views one last time, sad that our stay had come to an end but feeling all the better for it.
Although my stay was based in Loch Lomond, you can enjoy an ABI life at holiday parks all over the UK.
If you have always fancied owning your own holiday home then the ABI website is the perfect place to start. Decide on your ideal location and choose from their range of luxury holiday homes to create your own perfect escape whenever you feel like it.
Disclaimer - ABI very kindly invited me to experience their Ben Lomond Lodge. All other activities mentioned were arranged and paid for by me. As always all opinions are based on my own experience.
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