Countryside Rejuvenation: Murrayshall Country Estate, Perthshire – Review

By Gilly Pickup

7 months ago

Let's go to the country


The luxurious Murrayshall skilfully combines style and comfort with history and heritage, says Gilly Pickup.

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Hotel Review: Murrayshall Country Estate, Perthshire

Murrayshall

STAY

Spread over 365 acres in the heart of Scotland, Murrayshall benefits from an undeniably stunning setting. The former 400 year old home of politician, army officer and country gentleman Lord Lynedoch, it was converted into a hotel in the 1970s and, since then, has gone from strength to strength. Although it can be difficult to drag yourself away from such glorious environs, historic Perth, the city that inspired Sir Walter Scott to pen The Fair Maid of Perth, which in turn inspired Bizet’s opera, is just over three miles away.

The hotel’s 40 super-comfortable bedrooms and suites, split between the Main House and the newer Balvaird House, benefit from magnificent views which extend for over 20 miles, thanks to its elevated position. What’s more, they love dogs here, so your four legged friend will be made very welcome.

Murrayshall Miller Suite

Miller Suite

Only a hop, skip and buggy-ride away from the main house, you’ll find the Gate House spa, complete with Scottish organic seaweed products from Ishga. Here, in the strong but gentle hands of the masseuse, you are sure to come away as good as new – probably better, in fact.

EAT

Fine dining restaurant Eòlas, pronounced ‘olas’, is the venue for  breakfast, dinner and Sunday lunch – and for those non-Gaelic speakers out there, the word means ‘experience’. Since it is on the west side of Murrayshall, Eòlas is the perfect place to savour stunning sunsets as well as delicious meals. At dinner, starters could be anything from smoked salmon with celery, apple and caviar, or risotto with parmesan and artichoke. Mains cover everything from venison with black garlic and fermented spelt to lemon sole served with herb hollandaise, mussels, haricot beans and polenta. There are plenty of veggie options, too, including the most delicious mushroom pie ever. Without a doubt. No run-of-the-mill dish this, superstar head chef Craig Jackson uses sweet, nutty, earthy, truffle-like hen-of-the-woods mushrooms to produce this delight and yes, the ‘save room for dessert’ phrase may be a cliche, but here you would be nuts not to.

Scallops at Murrayshall

Cairns, the hotel’s more casual dining venue, offers up delights including Highland wagyu beef burgers and real ale battered fish. Fancy a pre or post dinner dram? The stylishly relaxed Barossa bar with its open fire can’t really be beaten.

As befits a luxury hotel, service is faultless throughout. Significantly though, it isn’t robotic; in true Scots fashion, it is genuinely friendly and warm.

DO

Granted, the hotel may be in the countryside, but there’s plenty to do. Golf is a big thing here: Murrayshall has two golf courses and a total of 27 holes. Regardless of season or weather, everyone can play golf here; no handicap certificate is needed, so courses are open to all levels.

Not interested? No matter. There are plenty of other attractions on hand with more palaces, gardens and distilleries than you can shake a haggis at. The powerfully mysterious Scone Palace, once crowning place of Scottish Kings, occupies a unique position in Scotland’s history. Only a couple of miles from Murrayshall, it is a must-visit attraction with glorious gardens where peacocks strut and there is a maze to stroll round too. Afterwards, don’t miss the Palace’s next level afternoon tea.

Scone Palace

Scone Palace © ZACandZAC

Back at Murrayshall, staff can organise any number of thrills for guests to sample, from axe throwing and paddle boarding to laser clay shooting and river kayaking, thanks to local activity centre, Willowgate, or hire a bicycle from the hotel and explore the countryside on two wheels. If that sounds too energetic, there are opportunities for whisky tours to local distilleries where visitors enjoy tastings while seeing ‘the water of life’ being made.

Waymarked walking routes loop around the Estate or for those who prefer, the hotel offers guided walks. The cast of wildlife you’ll see when out and about includes roe deer, red squirrels and probably beavers, cuckoos, woodpeckers, buzzards and red kites too.

Axe throwing with Willowgate

Axe throwing with Willowgate

THE FINAL WORD

This is a hotel which rejuvenates and relaxes with a great team who you can be sure will look after you during your stay. It also has a wedding licence and couples can choose to marry in the main house or in summery weather, in the picturesque walled rose garden. Murrayshall provides easy access to Perth, Dundee and Edinburgh.

Deluxe Suite bathroom

Deluxe Suite bathroom

BOOK IT

Rooms at Murrayshall start from £199 per night including breakfast. murrayshall.co.uk

Fly from London Heathrow airport to Dundee with Loganair loganair.co.uk