Book your staycation in beautiful Perthshire and you can rip up the rule book on where you lay your head!
In a year where we’ve all revisited our ‘holiday essentials’ list, the need for a real experience, packed with memories and joy, has never been greater. For some, that will mean relaxing in the quiet and tranquillity of daily hikes through nature, for others it will be the hustle and bustle of lively shops and loved-by-locals restaurants, and for a few it will include throwing themselves from a bridge while attached to a giant rubber band!
In Perthshire, that feeling of freedom and joy can start with a search for your accommodation. We all seek out a little something special when we book a holiday and with this list of accommodation providers you can take that to the extreme - quirky, fun, unique... in fact, I feel the urge to break into song with a burst of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
From glamping with llamas to a suite in the Palace, a home for a hobbit and a treehouse under the stars, read on for truly inspirational ideas on holidays, short breaks and overnight stays near Perth.
All of our quirky accommodation choices are self-catering, making them a winning choice for families, couples and individuals looking to holiday in Scotland. Remember to check with your host what's available at the property - here are some tips for the things we often forget!
Quite apart from the fact you can choose from all of these quirky, fun accommodation types, there are also some additional benefits to choosing self-catering over hotels or B&Bs.
This secret getaway, tucked between the picturesque Perthshire villages of Abernyte and Kinnaird, is a hidden gem. On the south-facing hillsides of Guardswell Farm, you will find 170 acres of grassland pasture, woodlands, pondlife and wilderness, not to mention incredible panoramic views along the river Tay, down to Glencarse, and across to Fife. A small flock of Hebridean sheep and a herd of Angora goats roam here; it’s a stunning location and somewhere you too can call home, at least for a short while.
For those who seek the simple life, Guardswell is an escape from the pace of the modern world. This is self-catering accommodation which embraces fresh farm air, the sound of birdsong and wildlife, the open breeze – and no wi-fi or television. Enjoy a digital detox with conversation, board games and the sweetness of silence (though 4G is available if needs must).
There are several types of accommodation at Guardswell. The Infield sleeps two: a romantic retreat with a glass gable wall overlooking the Carse of Gowrie and a stargazing window positioned above the mezzanine super king size bed. Or take your bubble to Guardswell Farmhouse – perfect for relaxing with friends, its wooden floors, sheepskin rugs and cosy red Aga provide a warm welcome for up to ten guests.
Guardswell Farm is all about being eco-friendly and sustainable, from its homemade handsoaps to its fresh farm flowers and produce from the vegetable garden; sheep’s-wool insulation and locally grown and milled wood cladding; not to mention solar electricity, wood-burning stoves and fire pits. Go off-grid and discover the beauty of the slow life.
Two miles north of Perth lies the majestic Scone Palace – crowning place of Scottish kings, the original home of the Stone of Destiny, and surrounded by 100 acres of glorious grounds. Famous for its rich heritage and colourful history, this grand stately home also provides five-star luxury accommodation in its elegant Balvaird Wing.
This unique apartment within the Palace is designed to accommodate up to six guests on a self-catering basis. Live like a king (or queen) in the exquisite sitting room, dining kitchen, and three spacious bedrooms.
The MacGregor Room has a super king size bed and en suite bathroom with an original, very deep, bath. Colonel Andrew’s Room is a twin bedroom with king size beds and en suite bathroom with separate shower. Lady Carnegie’s Room also has two king size beds and en suite bathroom with shower.
Each room enjoys its own distinct style, including canopied beds, open fireplaces, classic furnishings and a touch of tartan. The kitchen is fully equipped and the Palace can arrange bespoke welcome packs, picnic lunches, or even a private cook and housekeeping service. In addition, guests will receive a complimentary tour of Scone Palace.
In the Palace grounds, you will find the Murray Star Maze, a children’s playground, the Kitchen Garden, ancient woodlands and abundant wildlife – all right on your doorstep. Try salmon fishing on the river, test your swing on a nearby golf course, or explore the cultural attractions of Perth city.
Ideally located just one hour’s drive from Edinburgh and one and half hours from Glasgow, with breathtaking views over the parklands and the River Tay, this is a holiday home fit for royalty.
Close to Pitlochry, this popular holiday park nestles amongst spectacular mountain scenery in the shadow of Blair Castle itself. First-class facilities on site, combined with the local shops, cafés and visitor attractions, make this a great destination for a short break.
Blair Castle Caravan Park hosts ten new camping pods, overlooking the river with views across to Tulloch Hill. Situated in a quiet section of the camp, the pods give you all the joys of camping, but with the comfort of solid walls and a good night’s sleep.
This type of accommodation allows you to camp with class, with electric lighting, heating, sockets and wi-fi. The sofa bed sleeps two adults, with room for kids to stretch out on the floor. Each pod has a generous allotted space outside for you to relax over breakfast, or enjoy an evening barbecue. Dogs are welcome.
There is so much to do on holiday in this area, you are spoilt for choice. The park itself boasts nine acres of green space, with a children’s play area and putting green. The resident Highland cows, ducks and red squirrels will enthrall the kids.
An extensive network of off-road trails is accessible to walkers and cyclists straight from your door. You can hire bikes, or try a Segway tour from the adjacent Segway Ecosse. There are opportunities to fish, or go off-piste in a Land Rover. And brand new here are the beaver tours: a memorable nature trail with an expert guide, taking a closer look at these wonderful creatures.
Comrie Croft – the award-winning hostel and eco campsite – claims a fine spot in the foothills near the edge of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. With superb mountain views and easy accessibility from the central belt, you find yourself well positioned to enjoy the great outdoors. The starting points to climb Ben Chonzie and Ben Vorlich are both a short drive away, or experience the thrill of wild swimming in the still waters of nearby Loch Earn.
Varied accommodation is on offer at Comrie Croft. The comfortable, self-contained farmhouse is best for families or small groups, with a private walled garden and a picnic table and fire pit. Alternatively, the steading has newly refurbished private en suite rooms but, with its well equipped communal kitchen and barbecue, retains the convivial vibe of a hostel. A big group may book the steading for an exclusive break.
Of course, many guests are attracted by Comrie Croft’s peaceful and secluded camping grounds. Eco camping distils the joy of wild camping but adds clean toilets and hot showers. Pick the low meadow for easy access to the facilities, or the high meadow for added privacy. For something quite different, Nordic Katas are on site: handmade tipi-style tents nestled amongst birch trees, entirely waterproof and with a wood-burning stove inside – perfectly snug in all weathers.
Comrie Croft sits within its own network of cycling trails, each graded according to difficulty. There are rope swings for the kids, and the Tea Garden café for when the whole family has worked up an appetite. The café offers hot meals in generous portions, delicious homemade cakes and fresh coffee. At the well-stocked farm shop you can purchase local and organic produce, handcrafted gifts and, of course, logs for the fire (and don’t forget sausages and marshmallows!)
At the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, in the Glen of the Fairies, where salmon leap and mountain crags tower above your head, hides a secret sleeping place … but surely this is the stuff of dreams? Dalnoid Cottages and Treehouses make their home by the Blackwater river in Glenshee, an area renowned for its rugged natural beauty, and offer you self-catering holidays that are truly something special.
The two octagonal treehouses at Dalnoid are architect-designed and as sophisticated as any deluxe hotel suite. The Scots Pine Treehouse is surrounded by ancient pine trees, and accessed via a secret archway and bridge. Inside, the large open-plan space holds a super king size bed below a vaulted ceiling where you can stargaze through the glass pyramid skylight.
There is a wood-burning stove, bathroom with his and hers wash basins, walk-in rainfall shower and freestanding bath, and fully equipped kitchen. Patio doors open onto a wraparound deck and hot tub, complete with bluetooth speaker.
Tiptoe under fairy lights to the Silver Birch Treehouse, also the epitome of comfort, with incredible views through floor to ceiling windows and extended decking for outside dining. A spiral staircase leads you to your private hot tub.
These magical treehouses are for couples only, the ultimate romantic getaway.
Alexander House is located just three miles from Gleneagles, amongst the beautiful hills of Perthshire. Only an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow, you find yourself in the heart of Scotland with incredible scenery and countless adventures on your doorstep. In the grounds of Alexander House, you can get back to nature with glamping – all the pleasures of camping but with the ease and comfort of luxury accommodation.
In a sheltered corner, there are three yurts available. These roomy, circular tents – both wind and waterproof – are a cut above anything most of us would remember from childhood camping holidays. The yurts each have a comfy king size bed with crisp sheets and marshmallow duvet, a private en suite bathroom, and a stovetop wood burner with a basket of logs provided. Take a dip outside in your very own wood-fired hot tub or enjoy a meal al fresco to admire the views across the Gleneagles estate and beyond.
For a really unusual change of scene, how about a few nights in a converted horse lorry? These cute cabins on wheels are a great quirky choice for those seeking a life less ordinary. Family friendly (bring the pooch), kids will love the wee nook over the lorry cab where they can sleep. ‘Juniper’ also has a double bed and clawfoot bath, and ‘Thistle’ a queen size bed and shower room. The wood-fired hot tub is a given.
This neck of the woods is full of attractions to keep you occupied, not to mention well fed: golfing, spas, cycling, afternoon tea and a plethora of other outdoor activities and foodie options are all in close reach. Or simply relax and put your feet up at your new home from home (bottle of bubbly optional).
Atmospheric Loch Tay is the largest loch in Perthshire and one of the deepest in Scotland. The Ben Lawers mountain range runs along its north border and its fresh waters are the home of salmon and also the site of several historic dwelling places known as crannogs. Nowadays, sailing and watersports enthusiasts abound.
Contemporary accommodation is available on the shores of Loch Tay at multi award-winning Loch Tay Highland Lodges, within easy driving distance of Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow. Wooden glamping pods provide a fun alternative to camping; dog-friendly and sleeping up to five. In a peaceful area of the holiday park, take in the elevated view from your private picnic area and fire pit.
The geodesic glamping domes, overlooking loch and mountains, are modern and spacious retreats, perfect for a couple or the whole family. With timber floors and bean bag seating, a wood-burning stove and outside barbecue, cosy up and spend time with your loved ones. Premium glamping domes include a hot tub.
There are ample facilities on site to ensure your glamping holiday is hassle-free: the camper’s kitchen and lounge, shower and toilet block, and drying room and laundry area.
Finally, lochview hideouts are compact wooden lodges complete with all the essentials – your own shower room, kitchenette and dining space. There is also a wall-mounted TV … but nothing onscreen will compare to the vista from your front door.
On the outskirts of the pretty village of Auchterarder and just a few miles from all the attractions of Gleneagles resort is the idyllic self-catering holiday home, Otter Lodge. With stunning views of the Ochil Hills and Craigrossie Hill, a short stay here places you right at the gateway to the Highlands with countless excursions and activities at your fingertips.
This plush accommodation with private parking earns its outstanding reviews with a friendly welcome and meticulously kept interior (with cute otter details!) There is one double bedroom with an en suite shower room, and a twin bedroom, both guaranteeing a quality night’s sleep on luxury Hungarian down pillows and Egyptian cotton sheets. The bright open-plan lounge, dining area and kitchen have all mod cons, including a dishwasher, flat-screen TV and Bluetooth soundbar.
The immaculate garden benefits from a raised patio with outdoor seating. Chill out to the sound of birdsong, with dinner and drinks, or have a wander into town for shops, cafés and restaurants. There is a private river for fishing behind Otter Lodge, or take any number of day trips into the local area for golf, cycling, horseriding, falconry, whisky tours, wildlife walks and more.
Where the Scottish Highlands meet the Lowlands, you can find 40 acres of beautiful oak and beech parkland protected by Historic Scotland. This tranquil estate gives ample space to the Loch Monzievaird holiday lodges, quiet and secluded, yet just two miles from the lively market town of Crieff.
More than 20 Scandinavian lodges are available, some housing up to eight people, some suitable for smaller families or groups. These self-catering chalets are well spread out over the grounds, ensuring your space and privacy, and each has an elevated position assuring you magnificent views over the loch.
The lodges are designed for comfort with open plan living areas, a galley kitchen and comfy beds or bunks. A thoughtful starter pack awaits your arrival with all the essentials you may have forgotten (loo paper, washing up liquid…) Enjoy fine weather on the outdoor deck with hardwood furniture and a sun lounger, or linger over your meal at the picnic table with large rotating barbecue.
Several sports and pastimes are available to you here. On site, there is a Frisbee golf course, foot golf, games room and a disc golf course. Have fun on the water in a rowing boat or pedalo, or jump in for a swim. You can fish in the loch, take a stroll around it, or ride the zip wire across it. However, if an adrenalin rush doesn’t float your boat, perhaps one of the lodges with a sauna might be what you’re looking for.
On a working farm, close to Loch Leven, a low glass-fronted building nestles close to the earth. Sleek and modern, yet blending perfectly into its natural environment, this is the distinctive eco property Earth Ship. A single-storey design with room to sleep seven, this holiday lodge is an attractive and quirky destination where family and friends can relax in a secluded spot with many local attractions.
Closer inspection reveals Earth Ship as unique in both style and substance. The spacious, open-planned living area with wood-burning stove and panoramic views across the countryside and loch is an inviting space to unwind. Three luxurious bedrooms, three bathrooms, an enclosed garden and private hot tub ensure your absolute comfort. Stylish décor is punctuated with pops of colour, upcycled furniture and other fun touches (one wall is a map of the area).
In addition, the Earth Ship is a model of ecological living and sustainability. Built into the hillside, it faces south for maximum natural heat and light. Added insulation comes from the farm’s own straw bales and sheep’s wool, and long-lasting recycled tyres. The building itself is made from recycled materials and stones sourced from local sites, it derives energy from two wind turbines on the hill, and water comes from a nearby stream.
There is plenty to do in the surrounding area. Near the Earth Ship you will find the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, popular with walkers and hikers; anglers can enjoy trout fishing at the loch; or you can take a boat trip to historic Loch Leven Castle. Loch Leven is a National Nature Reserve and a haven for birds and other wildlife.
A treat for two is in store at The Old Furnace – a gorgeous, one-bedroom apartment set within the historic Keathbank Mill in the bustling market town of Blairgowrie and Rattray. This A-listed building dates from the mid-19th century and once housed a huge water wheel turned by the power of the River Ericht alongside to spin flax and jute.
In this fantastic setting overlooking the river, you find a modern, well-equipped holiday home with private parking for two cars. Entering through the front door set within the original mill chimney, steps lead you down to the cosy living area. An L-shaped sitting room adjoins the kitchen and dining space, all flanked by sliding patio doors which open onto an attractive terrace with outdoor seating and river views.
The spacious double bedroom with king size bed is light and airy, one wall made up of glass doors overlooking the river and opening out to a romantic Juliet balcony. Indulge in a long lie, listening to the swirling currents outside, then climb a few steps to enjoy the unusual hexagonal rainfall shower.
The Old Furnace is in a great location for guests to visit the local pubs and small independent shops in Blairgowrie. Wander along the riverside paths, or secure a permit to fish for trout and salmon. Blairgowrie Golf Club is open to visitors and offers award-winning courses and club facilities.
“It is a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort”. The home of Bilbo Baggins, as described by Tolkien, has inspired a real-life Burrow in the Scottish countryside near Braco, north of Dunblane. A labour of love for owners and creators Ian and Heather Keir, this holiday destination is a dream come true for fans of The Hobbit and all those looking for a peaceful, off-grid retreat.
The Burrow at Craighead Howfs is a joyful celebration of the hobbit world – a cosy den made from natural materials, built into the hillside, with handmade doors, windows and furniture. Full of nooks and crannies, this beautiful little refuge houses a double bed under a star-gazing window, a wood-burning stove, and hand-carved wooden sinks. Spring flowers grow over the roof, and a pretty lochan and woodland are close by.
Spotlessly clean with hot water and logs provided, the Burrow is perfectly comfortable, but given its rural location you will require suitable footwear, and a torch. There is outdoor seating for a second breakfast, and local wildlife thrives roundabout. This accommodation is for adults only.
“It had a perfectly round door like a porthole … floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs … deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond”. (JRR Tolkien). It’s no wonder the hobbits loved the Shire – you won’t want to leave either.
Responsible travel and tourism protects the landscape and boosts the local economy, culture and diversity of the area you visit, which in turn keeps the landscape natural and beautiful for other people to enjoy in the future. By choosing to think about how you can make your trip more sustainable you can enjoy Perthshire in an eco-friendly way. Have a think about the following before you visit us or head out for the day.