Blair Atholl’s secluded Woodland Lodges are the ideal location for a reinvigorating rural escape that is as action-packed or laid back as you want it to be.
Set in a patch of gated woodland a stone’s throw from Blair Castle and its extensive grounds – which you’ll have free right to roam – our luxurious Scandinavian-style lodge offered convenience, comfort and a golden opportunity to take it easy and unwind.
Budget or boutique?
While a short stay at the Woodland Lodges is affordable and shouldn’t bust the bank, it’s a slight stretch to say you can bide here on a meagre budget. Modern, spacious and pine-scented, our lodge was all we could reasonably hope for, so rest-assured you’ll be getting your money’s worth. Don’t forget that access to the sweeping Blair Atholl estate is all part of the overall deal, but do bear in mind that entrance to Blair Castle and some of the outdoor activities will be unavailable during the winter months. Best to phone ahead and check.
The 11 Woodland Lodges are self-catering and equipped with a large kitchen and all the mod cons you could possibly require.
The village of Blair Atholl has a small convenience store which is a ten-minute walk from the estate – just make sure you note down its opening and closing times to avoid going hungry. Alternatively, your next nearest food shopping options will involve a drive along the road to The House of Bruar or in the opposite direction to Pitlochry.
Wining and dining
The House of Bruar is just a short drive due west of Blair Atholl and definitely worth a visit for a little fancy dining or boutique shopping for tartan, tweed and posh cheese in lavish surrounds. Just bear in mind that the prices here are likely to be as breathtaking as the local scenery.
Within walking distance of the lodges is the Atholl Arms Hotel which serves traditional Scottish fare at its tartan-rinsed restaurant.
With no regrets whatsoever, we indulged in afternoon tea at the five-star Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa. Overlooking the River Tummel, it has recently installed outdoor dining pods with dynamic lighting and bluetooth capability – which excited our young daughter no end.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Woodland Lodges are well positioned for exploring the nearby hills and glens. Mountain bikes can be delivered direct to your lodge at your request and, from the stunning Falls of Bruar to the more challenging Banvie Woods, there are no shortage of trails in the vicinity to satisfy cyclists of all abilities.
If pedalling up steep and muddy woodland trails isn’t really your kind of thing, get in touch with Land Rover Safaris for a bespoke tour of the area. Owner Sandy has worked on the estate for most of his life and is a fount of knowledge concerning this part of Scotland. Over the course of our three-hour safari we took photos of roaming roe deer and caught fleeting glimpses of wild hares and even a golden eagle – one of just four which nest high up on the glens around Blair Atholl.
Should you be in the market for a little light entertainment during your stay, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre has a programme of events throughout the year. Theatre lovers from all over the Highlands flock here for the big shows which in the past year have included top-rated productions of Chicago and The Wizard Of Oz.
Our hosts were kind enough to make us up a hamper of House of Bruar luxury goodies and foodstuffs to take away with us. I’m almost out of their signature marmalade, so may need to make another journey north soon.
A trip to Blair Atholl is guaranteed to go down a treat with all ages no matter the season. It’s the ideal choice for a rejuvenating staycation that will get you up close and personal with mother nature for an affordable price.
Starting prices for a one-bedroomed lodge start from £280 Monday-Friday (four nights) or Friday-Monday (three nights) until the end of March. For further prices contact 01796 481263.
Woodland Lodges, Blair Castle Caravan Estate, Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH18 5TL (01796 481263, blair-castle.co.uk)