Gleneagles Townhouse
Words by Tatler’s Astrid Joss

Green Time Over Screen Time

March 2024

‘It was exactly how I pictured my dream half term escape. Winding up the picturesque drive the hotel's grand facade magically came into view as did a charming pair of doormen in kilts. Our luggage appeared to disappear into thin air, warm drinks placed directly into our cold hands and a sturdy arm offered up, guiding us inside to a roaring fire. And so it began…..

Naturally, the children were in a mad rush to see the room. Light and incredibly spacious with a luxurious country house style we felt more than at home. What stopped them dead in their tracks was the sight of their welcome gifts. A slick water bottle, snack box, bug hunting kit, sundial and compass along with a very smart backpack were laid out on their beds, beckoning them on an adventure and no doubt high jinks.

Armed with their new kit and very own Adventure Guide they set out into the Glorious Playground – all 850 acres of it. Acting like a passport of sorts, the guide aided them in unlocking clues, leading them to destinations across the estate to collect stamps and chronicle their discoveries with a promised reward once all stamps were collected. I contemplated heading to the spa but had also become fascinated by this brilliantly put together task.

The next day commenced with the legendary breakfast. Our eyes were on stilts. The children packed their snack boxes with treats ready to start their bespoke Adventure Programme organised by the in-house Playground Planners. Here all sorts of childhood fantasies are dreamt up to make your stay exceptional from a bedroom teepee to crafting the perfect array of outdoor activities including archery, zip-wiring and tree climbing. Mine befriended a ferret each which they played and raced with to their great amusement followed by a good hour with highly skilled gun dogs. There were real tears as we said goodbye to their new friends. 

Kids Journey adventure guide

Dinner was an incredibly glamorous affair at the Strathearn. Huge floral displays, giant velvet booths and waiters in white gloves occupied this other-worldly space.  Oysters, caviar and champagne popping – the things a mother’s school holiday dreams are made of! The children sampled gourmet Scottish specialities including crab, prawns and steak while pudding was a theatrical event. Flames went sky high as a Crêpe Suzette was prepared in-front of their overwhelmed (with joy) eyes. “That” my son declared at the end of our 5 courses, “was the best experience of my life.” And so it came to a close…. but not for long. We are already planning our return. ‘