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Gleneagles: Luxury Family Break in Scotland

Gleneagles is not only a Scottish landmark hotel with championship golf courses and two Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s also a haven for kids as well as adults. The luxury 5 star hotel near Edinburgh calls itself the Glorious Playground and it’s clear to see why.

view of the front of Gleneagles hotel with two children and father holding hands walking towards the entrance

Disclosure: Some of the experiences at the hotel during our stay were complimentary, however, all views, opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no extra cost to you. Thanks as always for your support! See my disclosure policy here.

Luxury Family HolidayS In Scotland

Dating back to 1924, the iconic hotel sits below the Ochil Hills on 850 acres near Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross. Built by the former Caledonian Railway Company, the hotel also boasts its own railway station.

view looking over the hills with the water feature in the foreground and bench overlooking the landscape

Now owned by the Hoxton Hotel group Ennismore, its seen a transformation which honours the hotel’s Art Deco heritage. Creating the most popular place to eat, drink, dine and golf in the Scottish hills.

The long sweeping picturesque driveway, passes manicured croquet lawns which leads up to the lavish country estate. On arrival, friendly doormen dressed in warm tweed jackets and kilts greet. Well, you are in Scotland after all.

Luxury Rooms at Gleneagles

There are 232 rooms including 27 suites, all spacious and beautifully appointed. We stayed in interconnected Estate doubles in the Main House. These rooms all offer impressive views over the gardens, grounds and countryside.

A clever mix of classic and contemporary, the use of subtle colours and the low key Scottish touches created a lovely blend. The comfortable seating area with armchairs and coffee table looking out to the grounds and grand driveway providing the perfect spot for a coffee from the Krups Nespresso machine.

room inside the luxury gleneagles hotel in scotland

The padded luxe bed, draped in fine bed linen comes with a menu so guests can specify the firmness of their pillow. There is plenty of storage and wardrobe space, and complimentary fluffy bathrobes for all the family. During the enforcement of new measures, a usually stocked minibar came filled with only water and fresh milk. A plus, as I can’t bear finding UHT in hotel rooms.

sima sat on the side of the bath in the gleneagles luxury hotel with and black floor tiles and marble worktops around sinks

The bright and airy bathroom is complete with twin sinks, a huge free-standing bath, large shower unit and filled with Asprey Purple Water toiletries. The only thing I did miss was a magnifying mirror, which is standard for most hotel bathrooms.

Food and drink at gleneagles

There are eight restaurants and bars, not all of which were open with social distancing measures in place. The ones we experienced did manage to experience were exceptional:

Strathearn Restaurant

The grand fine dining restaurant offers Franco-Scottish, in surroundings inspired by 1920s first-class rail travel. The almost theatrical space comes with all the old school fine dining trimmings, expect walnut trolleys, silver cloches, butler trays and waiters who still carve and flambé at the table.

view inside the restaurant with dark wooden beams, blue velvet sofa style chairs and tall floor lamps

Breakfast is also served in the majestic space and as you can imagine is a full royal affair – silver teapots, fresh pancakes to order and a full Scottish breakfast if the heart so desires.

Birnam Brasserie

view of French chairs and mosaic floor in the Birnmam Brasserie

For a more casual affair and a slice of Parisian cafe chic, the family-friendly Birnam Brasserie hits the spot. This was one of my favourites serving French-American cuisine. In the winter garden find yourself amidst vines and green foliage, round marble-topped tables, French cafe chairs and a beautiful mosaic floor.

THe Dormy

Head to the Golf Clubhouse and find a hearty menu of grill classics, comfort food and specialities from its tandoor and pizza ovens. The curries are delicious and a treat with beautiful views across the King’s and Queen’s Courses.

Glendevon Room

Indulge in a decadent afternoon tea in the Glendevon. A grand country house room looking over magnificent panoramic views of the rolling Ochil Hills of Perthshire.

view of the family sat at a table for 4 surrounded by wine, tea, water and afternoon tea

With a glass of Verve Cliquot in hand, savour the tastes of foodie delights such as the Isle of Mull cheddar, garden rosemary and onion puff, pea and broad bean tart and tiers of delicate finger sandwiches.

view of the colourful warm flaky scones, Valrhona chocolate, orange and praline choux and the most delicious morello cherry, pistachio gateau with vanilla sable on the layer of the afternoon tea cake stand

There is no resisting the sumptuous sweet treats of warm flaky scones to 65% Valrhona chocolate, orange and praline choux and the most delicious morello cherry, pistachio gateau with vanilla sable.

The Garden Cafe

view of the garden cafe with egg blue chairs, glass ceiling above the counter and green foliage

If you’re not up for a full afternoon tea but still fancy a slice of cake and coffee, the garden cafe is a great option. They also offer a selection of light bites and an irresistible ice cream station.

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles

inside the Andrew Fairlie restaurant with dark surroundings, lights on paintings and silver centre ceiling display light

The only two Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland (there are no three stars in Scotland) can be found at the Gleneagles. Andrew Fairlie specialises in French cuisine with a Scottish twist.

sima's daughter eating children's meal on a gold seated corner chair

We luckily secured a last-minute booking and dined as a family, the staff were great with the kids and adapted dishes for their tastebuds. Look out for more on our experience in a separate post.

Century Bar

view inside the Century Bar at Gleneagles hotel with marble tops, red pillar posts and tiled floor centred around a lit up cabinet of alcohol

The stylish looking Century Bar is a great stop for a coffee, bite to eat, cheeky cocktail or post-dinner whisky from their very extensive list. High ceilings, dark wood accents, art deco lighting and rich furnishings creates an atmosphere of understated elegance.

Picnic by the loch

view of a wicker picnic basket with all accessories on a blue table cloth

Or not as the case may be with the Scottish weather. The idea was to enjoy a family picnic on the banks of the loch, but rain put the kibosh on that. Instead, we were asked to head to the Pantry. This was no ordinary pantry. This was a Gleneagles pantry.

Resembling a traditional country-house kitchen the picnic basket was laid open with flasks of hot drinks, gift-wrapped sandwiches tied up with string and a plethora of tasty goodies from salads with lobster tail to lamingtons.

Activities at Gleneagles Luxury Hotel

sima walking down the path in the gardens of the gleneagles hotel

The Glorious Playground boasts many activities to keep every age group and interest happy. From off-road driving (with scaled-down Land Rovers for kids) to fishing and falconry for the outdoors type and shooting and archery for the competitive ones. There’s even a ferret school and gundog classes, you certainly won’t be bored.

Every activity does come with a princely price tag, so you may want to narrow down your outdoor pursuits. Below are some of the ones we experienced during our stay.

Gleneagles Golf CLub

It’s about time the one thing this hotel is famous for is mentioned – Golf! World-renowned for its golf courses, they’ve played host to The Ryder and Solheim Cups. There are three championship golf courses and one 9-hole course and is also home to the PGA National Academy for Scotland.

view of golfers on the gleneagles golf course

Probably considered a sin by every golfer on the planet, we were actually not there for the golf. It was all about experiencing the hotel and its many other offerings. If you’re not a golfer don’t miss out on enjoying Gleneagles golf course. Collect a complimentary bike and cycle around it.

view of Simas children one wearing red on an orange bike and one wearing blue on a black bike overlooking the views of Ochil Hills

The views of the Ochil Hills is nothing short of stunning. Families can also book a family golf lesson at the PGA National Golf Academy of Scotland.

view of sima and two daughters on grass and bikes

Tree climbing and zip wire

view of the wooden door 'the trail yard' gleneagles

Enjoy the heady heights of the treetops with a family tree climbing and zip wire session at the Trail Yard. Manage the expectations of younger members as there is a minimum height of 140cm.

view of the children & sima on the outdoor climbing area wearing blue hard hats

For those not as tall there are the low ropes with a minimum height of 100cm, where they can swing from each obstacle course all harnessed up.

HORSE RIDING and Stable tour

The Gleneagles 50-acre Equestrian Centre offers indoor and outdoor lessons as well as show jumping, dressage and polo lessons. The horse are well trained and friendly and many are ex show jumpers and RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association).

children in purple and blue rain jackets stroking a white pony

The horse riding sessions were all booked up but we did manage to book a Family Stable Tour. You don’t get to ride a horse but have the opportunity to meet the beautiful horses with a one-on-one. Learning about all their funny likes and dislikes was the best bit, like sleeping in dressing gowns after their shower – Such pampered equines.

Facilities at the gleneagles

Spa and Health Centre

The spa experience during our visit was slightly different to normal with restrictions in place. Booked in for an aromatherapy massage, entrance to the spa is only allowed at the time of the scheduled treatment. There is no access to changing rooms instead, guests use the sanitised treatment room. The therapist and I both wore a mask throughout the consultation. During the massage, I was able to remove mine and remain face down for the entire treatment. Even with the new rules in place, the massage was 100% worth it and I felt very safe with the procedures.

view of the spa waiting area with blue sofas and sand coloured cushions on a wooden floor and green foliage

During normal times these luxury facilities include a full wellness centre with two pools, an outdoor hot pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, gym and Spa café. There are also indoor and outdoor tennis courts, the latter still available to use.

view of the tennis courts on gleneagles hotel

Little Glen

The colourful and vibrant Ofsted registered creche with supervised care is for 2-9-year-olds. Families are offered two hours per day complimentary, thereafter it’s £10 per hour. However, 0-2 year-olds must be accompanied in Little Glen by parents. There’s an indoor treehouse and it also has a child-sized Gleneagles train which puffs from its own station.

The Den

view of the children in the hexagon cushioned chairs in the wall of little glen creche

For older children, the Den is a unsupervised children’s zone which houses PS4s, Xboxes, a cinema space plus a mammoth snakes and ladders grid that covers the floor and wall scrabble.

sima daughter playing a large scrabble on the wall in the Den

Open from 9am-10pm. Access is by card (over 10s can have their own card), under 8s must be supervised by parents.

Bob & Cloche

The beauty lodge is in a separate building on the estate. Dressed in soft pastels and golds, with leather chairs, velvet chaise lounges and vintage drinks trollies, the former gate lodge has the feel of a stylish living room.

They provide a range of treatments from hair, make-up, manicures and pedicures. My only regret not heading in to relax, unwind and be pampered.

Retail arcade

Inspired by the historic arcades of London and Paris, even retail therapy is available with the Gleneagles arcade. There are several high-end boutiques from jewellery to rare whiskies and designer children’s clothes to beauty products.

view of all the alcohol in the Gleneagles arcade

The corner shop is great for beautiful stationery and sweeties, whilst the Gleneagles shop offers its own line of luxurious handcrafted leather goods and fine foods. We came home with a stash of delicious Gleneagles shortbread (spoilt with them being left on our pillow every night during our stay) and their yummy marmalade from breakfast.

How to get to Gleneagles Luxury Hotel?

For its rural setting, Gleneagles is surprisingly accessible. One of the easiest ways to get to Gleneagles from London is via a 5-hour direct train which stops at the Gleneagles Station on the estate. Guests are collected by a complimentary car and whisked to the hotel.

From elsewhere, the best way is by flying into either Edinburgh or Glasgow, both of which are an hour away from the property.

We actually drove from London, in normal times this would be 7.5-8 hour drive. With less traffic on the roads, we managed the journey in 7 hours. A somewhat record according to the staff at this luxurious Scottish hotel.

Final thoughts

view of sima holding the hand of younger daughter in purple rain coat alongside eldest in blue walking along the path with gleneagles hotel to the right surrounded by grass

The Gleneagles luxury hotel has been a longstanding bucket list entry. Our stay at the iconic hotel exceeded our expectations. The sprawling estate has it all along with exceptional and friendly service. An amazing place to experience Scotland, its influence is throughout the hotel from the food to the decor.

Although famous for its golf course, it has so much more to offer. The only problem with booking a stay is you’ll never want to leave.

The Gleneagles Hotel | Auchterarder | Perthshire | PH3 1NF | Website

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  • kerry 12th October 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Oh now I really want to go Sima My husband is a keen golfer, and this is his dream golf course. I of course am all about the hotel! I love the picnic in the pantry, it looked amazing. Looks like a wonderful family stay. Thank you for sharing x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 13th October 2020 at 8:35 am

      This should definitely be on your 2021 list Kerry. It’s a totally dreamy stay.

  • Angie Silver 14th October 2020 at 1:29 pm

    We’re planning to go next year!!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 16th October 2020 at 4:19 pm

      You guys will have such a great time!

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More


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