Christmas in Crieff is a magical time and we are are offering our guests a special rate for a 2 night stay of £100 for Kip MacLyne and £120 for Keltie Den complete with a £10 Crieff Card and festive treats when you arrive at Mill House!
Exclusive Christmas offers on Monzie Estate
**1 night special deal on 6th December only** £40 for a room in Mill House to take advantage of Crieff’s Late Night Shopping event! Shoppers will be offered a glass of bubbly or mulled wine by businesses and carols performed by Brass Central Strathearn will be played in James Square. This evening is sure to get you in the festive spirit!
**2 night special deals between 1st and 12th December inclusive** £100 for our smallest room, Kip MacLyne or £120 for the larger Keltie Den. This will include festive treats on arrival at Mill House and a £10 Crieff Card to spend in Crieff’s independent shops!
Alternatively there is some availability in the unique holiday cottages on the estate: **3 night stays in beautiful East Gatehouse Lodge or Gardeners Cottage start at £400 and sleep up to 4** This deal also includes festive treats, a £10 Crieff Card, and everything else.
Crieff Hydro are running a winter skating rink from 1st December until 1st January – guaranteed fun for all the family! On December 5th there is a Christmas Choral Evening hosted by Morrisons Academy which promises to be full of festive cheer and is free to attend. 6th December is Crieffs’ late night shopping event where and local businesses are open until 9pm. Other seasonal events in Crieff can be found here!
Crieff offers a huge range of independent shops meaning you can beat the crowds and the city chainstores. We especially like The Crieff Food Co. for locally sourced produce and gifts; Child after Child when shopping for children and JL Gill for those with a discerning taste in fine wine and whisky, speciality teas and coffees and and array of delicatessen. So, come and stay at Mill House for a true festive experience!
Email Us to book or call +44 (0)1764 650095 (office hours) or 07815737130 if you have any questions.
If you would rather go self catering, we are doing special 3 night deals in our cottages: East Gatehouse Lodge, which sleeps 4 and is unique being the original castle gatehouse Brae Cottage which features a hot tub in a fabulous romantic setting for two. Glowry Cottage sleeps 5 and is the perfect getaway for families. Gardener’s Cottage sleeps and is tucked away in a hidden part of the estate for a cosy festive getaway.
Pay a visit to J.L.Gill Grocer and whisky merchant! One of the few traditional high street grocers left in Scotland, but we always walk out with some of the highest quality food and drink found in the area.
The bakers at Campbell’s know the secrets behind producing the best tasting breads, biscuits, cakes and pies. Stop by for the cake of the month, seasonal specialties and/or fudge donuts (our office favourite)!
Fish in Crieff feels like a shop on the shoreline regardless of its location in the middle of Scotland. The owners are excellent fishmongers and sell the finest seafood in the area!
For all other needs, head to McNees! This place stocks almost everything we ever need, even the most exotic ingredients!
Yanns French bistro and lounge is known for its great service and good food. If we are going for a night out, this place is always our first choice!
For lunch we recommend Delivino, a delicatessen and wine café! Check the blackboard for the special of the day or stick with one of their classic 12” pizzas.
Crieff Hydro is less than four miles by road and a great place for all ages! The adults-only Victorian Spa, horseback riding centre and Culcrieff Golf Club are all favourites of Monzie guests.
Choose from a variety of distillery tours at Glenturret Distillery! It’s Scotland’s oldest distillery and home to the Famous Grouse Experience, as well as a tasty restaurant run by Wilde Thyme catering.
Rent mountain bikes from Comrie Croft and enjoy scenic trails or take a guided tour. Don’t miss the Crieff Beer Festival, 10-11 June; Cream o’ the Croft mountain biking festival, June; Crieff Arts Festival, 13-14 August; Drovers’ Tryst walking festival, 8-15 October!
Half term is fast approaching and I’m writing about fun things to do with children. I’m brought back to last October when my sister and her family visited. My nieces and nephew like nothing more to spend the day exploring the estate. We foraged for pine cones and moss for our Christmas wreaths. We baked biscuits and cakes (both cottages are equipped with everything you need for baking) and had a tour of the castle. My nephew George got to try on one of the helmets from the suits of armour and my nieces had great fun riding around the hall on their scooters (clean, mud-free trikes and scooters only).
All three children were fascinated by the Estate’s hydro electric power station which is like something out of a 1950s James Bond movie and we had a trip up the hill to find out where the water comes from. Perfect to blow away the cobwebs, particularly with the winds we have blowing right now!
Walks included the dog and foraging for sticks for the fire, something that was a change from the large city they live in, particularly when they spotted four roe deer with their white fluffy tails, that look exactly like something out of a cartoon. The cottages are surrounded by wildlife. Go out at night and you’ll hear the owl that has a home around the corner from Gardeners, if you drive home in the dark, you might spot him and a mate or two on the telephone wires nearby. I love the hares which surround the castle grounds and the fields around Glowry, they’re so elegant and different. You’ll also spot rabbits, red squirrels, stoats and field mice if you look hard enough.
Glowry now has a pair of binoculars which is a great way to spot birds, if you look hard enough you’ll see red kites, buzzards and a heron. Take a walk around Loch More, you’ll find a pair of swans, geese and lots of wild ducks.
We think there’s more than enough to do around Monzie, but there are plenty of wonderful things to do nearby and we highly recommend that you try out our neighbouring child-friendly activities. Check our previous post on what to do around Crieff.
Come and stay at our cottages, we currently have half term availability. Email us for more information or call 01764 654877. Prices start from £200 for two nights. Stay for a week from £495 which includes complimentary tours of the castle and hydro. Home baked cake and wine included!
The winter weather is creeping in and Christmas and New Years are looming. There’s only 42 until the jolly man in red arrives, and seven weeks until we ring in 2016.
If you haven’t got your Hogmanay planned, have you thought about an escape to the Gardner’s Cottage at Monzie Estate? Located at the end of the Monzie Castle Gardens, the Gardner’s Cottage can accommodate up to 4 people. It is currently available for a week between 28th December and 3 January (or longer if you would perfer). Located two miles down a private road, you can escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet in the beautiful surroundings of Monzie Estate. Though, you will only be a few miles from Crieff, Comrie and Perth if you’d prefer to be in the heart of Hogmanay celebrations.
The cottage will be specially decorated for your arrival/ on Hogmanay to get you in a festive mood. To celebrate this special time of year, as a Gardner’s Cottage guest you are also invited to celebratory drinks (and nibbles) at Monzie Castle. You can then head back to the cottage for a relaxing night in-front of the fire, or attend one of the several Hogmanay events in the area.
Here’s whats on:
If you are interested in staying with us, we would love to welcome you. Be sure you don’t miss out on this beautiful slice of the Highlands at what will no doubt be a very exciting time of year. Please email us at email@example.com to book or call us on 07815 737130 if you have any questions.
We are privileged to have the use, thanks to Mrs C Crichton, of several rooms and kitchens at Monzie Castle where we want to share some fun ideas for crafting and cooking your way through Christmas.
The talented Susan Brebner, a teacher from New Zealand, will be sharing creative ideas to make your Christmas filled with craft and fun. Susan is super woman when it comes to crafts, sewing, baking and cooking and has been sharing (and teaching) her fantastic skills for many years in New Zealand. Not only is she an extraordinary and patient teacher with a fantastic eye for detail, but she loves Christmas crafts and Christmas cooking. We’re also crossing our fingers she may experience her first white Christmas this year!
Susan will be joined by Alexandra Crichton, who has thrown herself into country life since moving to Scotland 18 months ago. Alexandra, with a few tips from Susan, is a master in the kitchen making cordials, cakes, jams and canapés. She has also found a passion for sewing, upholstering furniture, a special fondness for wood and using locally sourced products. Alexandra is also an expert at finding a bargain or two at ReMake.
You will have the opportunity to make decorations and wreaths, that will be a great addition to your Christmas collection at home, or to gift to loved ones. Several of the ideas can be shared with children as a fun indoor activity, which will be very helpful with the winter weather well and truly on its way. Each session has a hands on component, so you will be making something to take away with you. We will also be sharing recipes with you and have food for you to try at each of the break times.
Spots are filling up quickly, so be sure to get secure your place. Tickets can be purchased form Eventbrite and include all materials, morning coffee and lunch, along with lots of food and drink samples throughout the event. All profits go to Rachel House Hospice.
Why not make a weekend of it and stay in one of our holiday cottages! Glowry sleeps five and Gardener’s Cottage sleeps four.
We look forward to seeing you there,
Alexandra and Susan.
After settling into one of our cottages and enjoying the breathtaking views of the beautiful fields and lush, green rolling hills, head over to some lively summer events happening in the area that your family will love.
Here are our top events happening soon…
-Take part in the festivities of the Comrie Fortnight, held annually on the last week in July through the first week in August. On 8 August, take part in an afternoon of fun events and watch the Comrie Pipe Band lead an elaborate float parade through the village.
-Rejuvenate your mind and body by attending a relaxation class at the local Strathearn Arts Space on Saturday morning, 1 August. Don’t forget a blanket, mat and cushions!
– Punch Brothers, Rhiannon Giddens, McCrary Sisters and The Fairfield Four take the stage at the Southern Fried Festival, Perth this year from 31 July to 2 August. Eat soul food whilst enjoying a jam-packed weekend of country, blues, and more.
-Try the bucking bronco, bring your pet to the pet show, or watch heavyweight athletes compete in the Aberfeldy Show from Friday 7 August until Saturday 8 August. There will be Piping competitions, a hill race, wrestling, a horticulture show, craft fair, and more.
-On Sunday, 9 August, head to the exciting Perth Highland Games for a true Scottish experience, cheering on the tug o war games, the pipe band and highland dancers. The family will enjoy rides, amusements and trade stands, with tickets for just £8 for adults, and £4 for children and senior citizens.
-The Crieff Highland Gathering is one of Scotland’s longest running games. Visit on 16 August for a memorable experience of a one-mile kilt race, local and national music, dancers and other exciting attractions.
-Experience live entertainment, arts and crafts and brilliant exhibitions at the Crieff Arts Festival, taking place from 22 to 23 August. Thriller writer Helen Grant will join a range of authors and poets for a literary event happening at Strathearn Artspace on August 22, where doors will open at 10am.
So last week on a warm, dry day just as the tiny buds were beginning to open, we gathered some sweetly-scented flowers from the nearby Elder tree. Elderflower cordial is so simple to make and one of the most refreshing drinks of the summer – mix it with some soda water, or sparkling wine if you fancy
2½ kg white sugar, either granulated or caster
2 unwaxed lemons
20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
85g citric acid
Fill a bowl with cold water and give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs.
Put the sugar and 1.5 litres of water into a large saucepan. Gently dissolve the sugar. Pare off the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons into rounds.
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Lift flowers out the cold water, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse overnight.
Strain the liquid and fill sterilised bottles.
The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Or freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.
If you’re looking for places to go and things to see on days out with the kids, then you’ll be amazed at how much Perthshire has to offer, whatever the weather. There’s something for everyone with a range of activities to engage with all ages. Our cottages are just a short drive from all theses attractions because we too are familiar with the kids shouting from the back seats “Are we nearly there?”
Come rain or shine Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre offers a full day out with all the elements you could ask for: animals, play areas indoors and outdoors and loads of activities to get stuck into. The animals are split into the domestic farm and exotic areas, with handling available in the Hatchery and regular feeding sessions. There’s plenty of lovely picnic spots with benches around the park. No pressure to prepare a picnic though, the restaurant serves delicious homemade food where you can relax and still enjoy the stunning view over the Perthshire hills.
Remake Scotland is a creative reuse organisation which aims to divert potential landfill and encourage grassroots creativity. They encourage everyone to make good stuff from old stuff while learning to use tools with confidence. They have a popular scrapstore which provides individuals with cheap and alternative art and craft supplies.
Discover the wonderful art of glass making. Have you got what it takes to be a glass maker? Great fun for the kids, you can spend time working with one of our skilled glass makers and create your own paperweight which you can have inscribed and keep forever. A lovely little memento of your holiday to Crieff!
Crieff Ceramics at Bennybeg is very relaxed for families. A pottery painting studio with a cafe and a small soft play area for younger children makes it an ideal spot for a few hours, while the kids decorate a masterpiece to remind them of their holiday at Monzie!
Drive up the The Sma Glen which has stunning scenery. Head towards Aberfeldy where you’ll find a huge a range of experiences at Highland Safaris. While you’re in that direction, The Scottish Crannog Centre is a unique and interesting place to take the family to learn all about crannogs, which are a type of ancient loch dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland that date from 5,000 years ago! The centre has an amazing reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch dwelling, based on excavation evidence from a 2,600 year old site of ‘Oakbank Crannog’, which is one of the 18 crannogs preserved in Loch Tay!
A perfect weekend at home would not be complete without baking a cake, and with the chance to use some homegrown produce from the garden makes it even more delightful. Main crop rhubarb, which arrives in Spring has deep red stalks tinged with green, and it’s leaves are a brighter green. Always be sure to pick the best stalks – the firm, plump, red ones.
Although too sharp to eat raw, baked slowly with a sprinkle of sugar makes it oh so delicious.
I always like to keep the ingredients simple and the method straight-forward, pretty much just because that’s the only way I like to bake. You know you’ve baked a real winner when it disappears the same day.. Must be quicker next time to get a photograph of the cake itself!
250g pack butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
150g pot ready-made custard (I used Ambrosia)
250g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g golden caster sugar
Icing sugar, for dusting
Bake the rhubarb first and carefully drain off the juices before it cools. Do the usual buttering and lining of a cake tin – I used a 23cm loose-bottomed one.
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Reserve 3 tbsp of the custard in a bowl. Beat the rest of the custard together with the butter, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and sugar until creamy and smooth. Spoon one-half of the mix into the tin, add some of the rhubarb, then cover with the other half of the cake mix and spread it out as well as you can. Top with the remaining rhubarb, then spoon over the remaining custard.
Bake for 40 mins until risen and golden, then cover with foil and bake for 15-20 mins more. As always, it’s ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then when cool dredge with icing sugar.. and devour..