Getting away from it all is great, but what if you are too far away from anywhere else? Often, countryside manor hotels provide a wonderful escape, but fall short when they aren't within walking distance of any other attractions.

Not at Dunkeld House Hotel. Despite having all the trappings of a grand baronial property -it was originally built as the country retreat of the Duke of Atholl- the hotel is just a short stroll away from the centre of Dunkeld and its myriad of tourist attractions.


A tree-lined gravel path leads from the hotel entrance directly down to the banks of the majestic River Tay, a gorgeous spot to sit and watch the sun go down on a summer evening. The river is pretty enough in itself, but make sure to follow it for a mile further, around a 15 minute walk, to reach the centre of Dunkeld.

For guests who want to hole up within the hotel, however, there’s a highly-rated, recently-renovated restaurant to be enjoyed within Dunkeld House. Specialising in local Perthshire produce, the menu reflects the seasons and showcases some of the finest local ingredients.

Trying to choose from the summer ‘Garden Room’ menu was a tough task, with sun-dried tomato risotto, pork belly with peanut and venison with red wine vinegar just some of the options on offer. I opted for the Scottish salmon with bacon and tarragon, served with cauliflower puree and pickled cauliflower. Perfectly cooked, the salmon was an ideal dish for a summer’s evening that left me nicely satisfied without being too full. My dining partner chose the pan-roasted chicken breast, with roasted red pepper and thyme stuffing and courgette puree. I couldn’t resist trying some myself, and it was rich and comforting while managing to remain light.

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Not over-filling on our mains meant that we had room for dessert – my highlight of any meal. The strawberry and white chocolate mousse with meringue shard was wonderfully fresh, with an added surprise of some popping candy on the side. But the real star of the show was a salted caramel tart, with chocolate espresso mousse and salted caramel ice cream; the exact kind of indulgence I hope for in a pudding. Delightful.

We headed back into the hotel bar to enjoy a glass of wine accompanied by a live pianist, an unexpected treat given that we were staying on a Sunday night. From there we retired to our room via the grand main staircase, a touch of grandeur that harks back to the hotel’s aristocratic origins. We were staying in the Birnam Suite, one of 15 suites in the hotel that boast individually elegant designs. 

The Birnam Suite boasts dramatic interiors, with statement wallpaper and showstopping light fixtures as well as a large four-poster bed. A cosy window seat was the perfect vantage point to watch the River Tay meandering past – but my highlight was the freestanding rolltop bath located at the end of the bed. Situated perfectly in the middle of the bay window, I was able to enjoy a long soak while watching the sun sink lazily behind the trees outside. Heavenly.

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The next morning it was back down to the restaurant for breakfast; with the choice of a generous buffet as well as made-to-order options. I plumped for eggs Benedict, which were cooked to perfection and set me up for the day in style.

Before checkout there was time for one last treat, a trip to the leisure club to enjoy the pool, sauna and dip in the hot tub. There was a fully-equipped gym, too, if you are that way inclined, but I felt after a couple of lengths of breaststroke that I had satisfied my exercise quota for the day.

After checkout I strolled down the River Tay to see the sights in Dunkeld, including a pastry from the renowned Aran Bakery, before wandering back to the hotel to fetch my car and drive home. With just over an hour’s drive to get back to Glasgow, Dunkeld House really does provide the perfect country escape that isn't too far from civilisation.