A short break at Murrayshall Hotel, near Scone, Perthshire, with a friend proved to be a great place for outdoors fun combined with good food and great hospitality.
A warm welcome at Murrayshall
It was the lovely open fire in the lounge and the equally warm welcome that I will most remember about my stay at Murrayshall, a hotel that offers an escape from busy lives in the heart of beautiful Perthshire.
There were plenty of other highlights – and I’ll come to those later – but when my friend Lynsey and I returned cold from a snowy run on trails close to the hotel one winter’s morning, we were greeted with such great hospitality.
The staff couldn’t have been happier to oblige and despite our wet running shoes, wild look and chattering teeth, they insisted we sit in the large and comfortable armchairs right next to the fire. They brought us coffee and towels and told us to stay as long as we wanted.
Lynsey and I agreed that the atmosphere at the hotel was much more relaxed than we’d expected. I confess, when I’d first arrived outside Murrayshall the night before for a short break and a catch up with Lynsey (she lives in Glasgow and I am in Inverness so Perthshire was the perfect meeting point), I worried the hotel looked at bit posh and stuffy.
It is a grand and historic establishment, set amid a 365-acre country estate. Indeed, Murrayshall dates back more than 400 years and is the former home of Lord Lynedoch.
Yet today, and after a widescale renovation, the hotel, which includes 40 rooms and suites, provides the perfect balance of luxury with comfort and relaxation. The atmosphere is not so laid back as to be unprofessional, but rather the staff and surroundings made us feel very welcome and at ease.
A great stay at Murrayshall Hotel
Lynsey and I shared a beautiful twin room and enjoyed dinner, bed and breakfast break at Murrayshall Hotel. We dined in the Lynedoch Brasserie. A bright and cheerful place to eat, we struggled to decide what to have for our evening meal.
There was a lot of great choices on the menu. The dishes are created by an award-winning chef and it was good to note lots of seasonal and local ingredients.
Lynsey and I broke off frequently from our non-stop catch-up chat to delight in the great taste combinations. Our favourite starter was the mushroom risotto and we both enjoyed nicely cooked cod wrapped in pancetta. A pineapple dessert with coconut ice-cream hit the spot of being both delightfully sweet and perfectly tart.
In addition, the staff were attentive but not overly so. There is an art to this and they got it right.
After our meal, we headed to the cosy sofa and armchairs in the lounge bar to order a night cap. No one hurried us and we were able to carry on our chat in front of the open fire until we decided to head to our beds.
Thankfully, there was no formal dress code and we were able to relax in causal clothing. It’s great to see hotels these days that offer luxury surroundings but still let guests feel at home in casual clothes.
We both slept really well in luxurious beds and a peaceful room. It was also a surprise to wake up and draw back the thick curtains to see a deep blanket of fresh snow on the ground.
The breakfast was also served in the brasserie area and there was a great choice of cooked options, both traditional and more modern, as well as a selection of “continental” choices.
We worried a bit that we might have ate too much to enjoy our planned run, but it is hard to resist when someone is happy to make and serve you your exact choice of breakfast!
I think we may have missed a trick by not booking in for an afternoon tea – the hotel’s afternoon teas look delish – but we were busy exploring the nearby hills and mountains.
Another nice touch was a really good coffee machine in our room and large homemade rounds of shortbread.
Lots of outdoor pursuits at Murrayshall
Murrayshall is a hotel, golf course and destination estate. Golf is still very much an attraction for guests and there is a 27-hole parkland course. But there so much more to do outdoors in the immediate estate and close by in Perthshire.
This region at the heart of Scotland boasts a superb outdoors playground, whether you are a walker, runner, cyclist or even keen to try activities such as kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.
You don’t need to go far if you fancy a stroll. There is a network of coloured signposted walking routes around the estate and these trails aim to showcase some of the most of the spectacular vistas, as well as offering the chances to see local fauna and wildlife.
Slightly further afield, around Scone and Perth, you’ll discover plenty more walking options. Walk Highlands for ideas depending on your fitness level and aspirations.
A popular local walk is to Kinnoull hill and tower. According to a song written in its honour, “To the people of Perth, no mountain on earth can compare with the Hill of Kinnoull.” Lynsey and I took in the summit of Kinnoull as part of our 10-mile running route from the hotel.
I also did a fantastic run-hike of a popular Corbett, Ben Vrackie.
We also spotted nearby Deuchny Hill Bike Park with plenty of mountain biking trails during our run.
The Tay, Scotland’s longest river, is just a couple of miles away from Murrayshall. You could try stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing or kayaking on the river or a purpose-built lagoon, all under the watchful eye of expert instructors.The sessions are suitable for most ages, with wetsuits and safety equipment provided.
You could also join a guided tour by boat or kayak that heads under an 18th century A-listed bridge through the heart of Perth, or further downstream on the Tay to Newburgh in Fife and finishing at Lindores Abbey distillery. Among wildlife which can be viewed on the way are otters, herons, kingfishers, beavers, seals and birds.
For land lovers, it’s possible to try your hand at target archery, bushcraft or raft building. Or how about sampling a mini-beast safari or hire a bike for a ride along the riverbank?
The Tay is also renowned for salmon fishing, which is available on the much sought after Cargill beat between January 15 and October 15.
For groups, many activities can be provided in the grounds of Murrayshall such as Highland Games, mini triathlon and team-building. Just ask at the hotel when you book for more details about outdoorsy things to do.
To find out more about prices, offers, rooms and food, see Murrayshall Hotel.
- Note, Murrayshall covered the cost of the hotel, dinner, bed and breakfast for two in return for an honest review.