January 29, 2015

Reasons Why You Should Visit Scotland

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Last weekend I did something a bit different, I went on a little mini-break to Scotland, to the historic country of Ayrshire (which I hadn’t heard of before). I love a little city break as much as the next person, but usually go to places like Sweden, Paris, Barcelona. You know, places that are a bit…..well, sunnier. But hey, I was still keen for the idea of getting away from the chaos of life for a few days, even if it was going to be just as cold.

There are SO MANY beautiful places in the UK to go holiday. I went to Scotland a few years back (my brother got married there) and realised how breath-taking the views were, but I hadn’t explored it properly. So, this was my chance to escape for a quiet weekend.

So how did the trip come about? The lovely people at Visit Scotland asked if I wanted to experience some rural Scottish countryside (on not just any weekend; BURNS night weekend), and obviously I said WOOP/yes please.

It’s super easy to get to Glasgow airport from Gatwick. As soon as the flight takes off and you snuggle down to have a little nap the plane seems to be already descending, it is a really really short flight. From Glasgow we got in a hire car and cruised on down towards Prestwick where we had a little gander by the sea. We went to Costley’s an iconic cake shop which was the BOMB and had everything from homemade shortbread, cakes, truffles you name it. When the coastal views looks so nice and you have a hot mug of tea you sort of momentarily forgive the wind and cold.

Where we stayed: Cosses Country House


Where do I start with how amazing this place is? The views on the way to this place were incredible; driving right along the sea front with the waves nearly hitting the car. It was the perfect road-trip environment, long roads zig-zagging around rolling hills, looking out to the sea, with the radio on. When we arrived, the owner, (Susan Crosthwaite) greeted us and gave a us a little tour of our suite; there was the bedroom (so much light and a view which was just green grass and hills for miles); a bathroom with a big bath and power shower in the corner (with home-made tea-tree oil bath wash and shampoo, so good). There was also a living area opposite the bathroom with a sofa and LOTS of books and a TV (so basically my ideal room). The rooms were pretty retro and one of the comments on my Instagram made me smile “that looks like straight out of dream phone.” We went for a wander and soon found a massive pond, surrounded by green hills and outdoor candles and man-made paths. We were plied with amazing wine, good chats and GREAT FOOD (more on that below) and a roaring fire. (You can’t beat a roaring fire). On the website this B&B is described as a “special retreat and perfect venue to get away from it all” – and that’s exactly what it was.

What we ate: Quail stuffed with Haggis, Lagoustine for main, followed by cheese, followed by Creme Brulee.

The  won awards for her amazing cooking so we were pretty excited to be able to sample it. Not going to lie, I was a bit apprehensive about trying the Haggis. But the way it was cooked was amazing, the meat was from a really good butcher and it was stuffed inside a roast Scottish quail on a bed of tatties and leeps (obvs). A proper Burns night classic.

The Saute Ballantrae Bay Lagoustine was served on a bed of Cosses wilted Swiss Chard, and finished with light saffron cream sauce with a side of leek risotto (the leeks were from the garden).

The cheeses were all local and the oatcakes were homemade (everything was homemade, literally). Then the dessert was a black and red currant creme brulee. The white wine was AMAZING – I forgot to ask what type of wine it was – but I downed about three glasses and then had a nightcap too.

What we did: Walking, sight-seeing, got some FRESH AIR

The peace and quiet was SO good. Not a sound. A far cry from the booming Hackney area I live in. OK ok, I admit our weekend was like we had suddenly morphed into a pair of 80 year olds. But we really enjoyed it. I feel like I was BORN to live in a fast-paced city; I love the intensity and busyness and hustle, but when things get a much (as they often do) it is amazing to go somewhere near the sea and just have some fresh air in the lungs and headspace to reflect. We visited a castle called Culzean Castle and just explored the massive area. The views were amazing as the castle hangs off the side of a cliff, and we sat on the rocks and chatted and threw stones and generally just CHILLED. OUT and soaked in the sea air.

I really recommend a little trip away to Scotland. It’s right on our doorstep and has so many amazing things to offer (plus 2015 is the year of food and drink in Scotland). Thanks again to #VisitScotland for the trip.

Click here for information www.visitiscotland.com/tasteourbest.


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