Category Archives for "Blog"

couple walking on path of Monzie Estate at sunset
May 04

Tips for Crieff – Shopping, Eating and Events

By Monzie Estate | Blog

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Shops in Crieff

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!

Snacks

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. 

Staying Active

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!

And of course you can always roam around beautiful Monzie Estate and check out our beautiful holiday cottages. SaveSave

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Feb 01

Half term at Monzie

By Monzie Estate | Blog

 

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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).

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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!

Nov 12

Hogmanay get-away at Monzie Estate

By Monzie Estate | Blog

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.

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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:

  • Crieff Hogmanay in James Square has been a year in the making! The local community have been fundraising and planning all year to bring you an evening full of great music and fun. With a great local line up you are sure to dance the night away. For all the latest news and updates, take a look at their Facebook page – Crieff Hogmanay
  • Take part in the traditional Flambeaux Procession though Comrie. An evening full of tradition, fire, music and merry-making.
  • For something a little more refined, how about an evening at The Royal Hotel Hogmanay Gala Dinner. Start your evening with Champagne and canapés, followed by a 5 course dinner and dancing into the wee hours of 2016. Bookings are essential, so make sure you don’t miss out.
  • If you’re looking for an excuse to drag yourself out of bed on New Years day, this is a great one. Pitlochy’s Scottish New Year celebrations is an afternoon of music, food, dancing, with the chance to win some great prizes in the raffle.

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 info@monzieestate.com to book or call us on 07815 737130 if you have any questions.

Nov 12

Our first Christmas event at Monzie Castle

By Monzie Estate | Blog

We are very excited to be hosting our first Christmas event at Monzie Castle. Come and join us on Saturday 21st November for a special Christmas experience.

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.

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Atlas of Monzie Estate says ” we woof you a Merry 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.
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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.

couple walking on path of Monzie Estate at sunset
Jul 24

Exciting events in our area

By Monzie Estate | Blog

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.

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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.

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-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 Festivaltaking 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.

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Jul 14

Elderflower Cordial

By Monzie Estate | Blog

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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

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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.

Jun 17

Places to go, things to see..

By Monzie Estate | Blog

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?”

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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.

 

Crieff Visitor Centre and Caithness Glass

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!

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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!

Jun 12

Rhubarb and Custard Cake

By Monzie Estate | Blog

IMG_7977A 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. IMG_8029 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!

400g Rhubarb
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..

May 15

A step in the right direction..

By Monzie Estate | Blog

Given the utterly stunning surroundings, we can obviously see why most of our guests like to use our cottage as a base to explore the area on foot.

Perthshire has a rich variety of beautiful landscapes and is home to some of the finest and accessible scenery in Scotland.  There is the general misconception that it always rains in Scotland.. Don’t believe it!

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Walking is quite underrated – it’s simple, free and one of the most easy ways to get more active and become healthier.  There’s so many gentle walks through the grounds of the estate, where you will stumble upon the most pleasant sights.

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We particularly love the long summer nights when the sun doesn’t set till long after 10pm, allowing for us to take a gentle stroll to the top of the hill after work to watch the sun go down.

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It’s such a positive exercise in so many ways, so we’ve put together a list of our top 5 walks nearby.

Lady Mary’s Walk is a popular route in Crieff which runs along the banks of the River Earn.  Pack a picnic and find a well placed seat and viewpoint along the path.  Lady Mary’s walk has been upgraded, which makes it accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs, aswell as bikes.

The Birks of Aberfeldy is an easy circular walk where you’ll discover just what inspired poet Robert Burns to write a poem about the Birks of Aberfeldy.

Glen Lednock circular walk is a popular walk among the locals.  Walk between the peaceful oak tress and beech trees and discover the impressive “Deil’s Cauldron” where the river plunges through a narrow gorge.

Famous for its mountain hares and tremendous views at any time of year, Ben Chonzie isn’t Scotland’s most difficult, or most remote Munro and easily achieved in half a day.

The wooded hill to the north of Crieff is The Knock of Crieff, which is about 6km from Crieff town centre.  Be sure to reach there top for the breathtaking views over the Highlands to the north and Upper Strathearn, Ben Vorlich and Comrie to the west and Muthill, the broad fertile valley floor and the Ochil Hills to the south.

May 08

Father’s Day – June 21

By Monzie Estate | Blog

With a welcome hamper of local ales waiting for you, you will be guaranteed a relaxing break at Monzie.  It’s always nice to find something different that stands out from the usual repetitive gifts like socks, ties and chocolate. Surely he deserves something more special, and trust us – your Dad will be thrilled!  ©Frank Marr

On the edge of our Estate not far from our cottage, and tucked up on the rolling hills lies The Foulford Golf Course.  A little hidden gem where you feel like you’re on top of the world.  If you don’t want Dad to be away for too long, this is the perfect little 9 hole course.  Or why not join him with a picnic, find yourself the perfect spot to sit back and soak up the stunning surroundings.

 

 

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