Gleneagles Hotel and Sporting Estate, Auchterarder


The last time I visited Gleneagles was for the ultimate romantic weekend with fine dining, champagne cocktails and luxury spa lounging. Ten years on and two children later, I wondered how the experience would measure up for a family visit.

Gleneagles is one of Scotland’s most iconic luxury hotels. With its 1920s heritage and stunning setting amidst the Ochils it’s a pretty special place. On arrival at the hotel it is easy to imagine the glamorous socialites of the Roaring Twenties parking up in their shiny motor-cars. The hotel had a multi-million pound renovation in 2015 and it has been undertaken sensitively, maintaining and celebrating the Gleneagles heritage.

The hotel is set on an estate of 850 acres, it has 232 luxury bedrooms and nine restaurants. Like a village, it manages to create a homely, intimate and welcoming feel for families.


We stayed in an Estate room in the newer, more family-oriented part of the hotel, Braid House. The clever part is the way the old and new wing of the hotel merge seamlessly without compromising any of the luxury.

The bedroom had everything you would expect from a five-star room, sumptuous Scottish textiles, king-size bed, a pillow menu, and a working fireplace. The children’s favourite was the enormous bathroom where they enjoyed an hour-long bubble bath. These rooms also have balconies with views across the estate, perfect for a little solitary quiet time while the kids enjoy a movie.


On arrival we had lunch in the stunning Century Bar. The Century bar is a beautiful room of jazz age glamour and art deco origins. We sat on a red velvet banquette and marvelled at the collection of old and rare whiskies.

I ordered the most amazing Scottish smoked salmon selection, cured with London Dry Gin, juniper, seaweed and whisky barrel oak shavings which was classically served with capers, onion and lemon. There were great options for small people ranging from delicious burgers and fish finger sandwiches. When my son asked for a plain cheese sandwich our waiter smiled and promptly brought out a beautifully presented, crusts off, masterpiece.

Throughout the hotel, staff are incredibly professional, very unstuffy and nothing ever feels like it is an inconvenience.


The hotel has an arcade of luxury shops where you can buy cashmere, watches, diamonds or a child-sized Land Rover. The arcade leads to the spa and swimming pool and beyond are the children’s play areas. The Little Glen is a fully supervised creche for young children and The Den is an adventure hangout for tweens and teens. My boys favoured this area in the evening as a hang-out after an activity packed day.


There are so many activities including tennis, falconry, golf, gundogs, horse-riding, fishing, shooting, archery, cycling, ferret racing and lots more. It can be a little overwhelming planning a schedule that keeps everybody happy and occupied but at the same time is realistic and not too crammed.

Problem solved; the hotel has dedicated playground planners to help create the perfect itinerary.

We met Caitlin our playground planner and she guided us through the activities and decked the boys out in complimentary Barbour jackets and wellies.


With Glasgow and Edinburgh only an hour away and historic castles, whisky trails and stunning walks all around, you could fill your days travelling from here. However, Gleneagles is a destination and you really don’t need to leave the Estate. The thing we enjoyed most were the family activities where we could all play together. The family golf lesson was great fun and our teaching pro, Clarke, was the picture of patience.

A big highlight for all of us was the family falconry lesson. None of us being accustomed to ‘taking hawks on the glove’ we found it thrilling. Iona, our falconry instructor, introduced us to the resident peregrine falcon.

It looks like staycations and outdoor learning are now firmly on the agenda and the hotel has recently appointed an Outdoor Adventures manager to lead a new programme of even more activities to encourage kids to get outdoors and explore nature.

Kirsty Anderson

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