Home Nature preserves Winter Holidays: The Hideaway Experience at a Working Farm in Dundee

Winter Holidays: The Hideaway Experience at a Working Farm in Dundee


If a farm getaway wrapped in luxury and shrouded in relaxation sounds like the Christmas present you’ve been looking for, then look no further than Hideaway Experience near Dundee.

The Balkello Farm, in Auchterhouse, is not only a working farm, but houses luxury huts for adults only – large wooden lodges, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic south-facing views over the Fife Hills – all equipped with state-of-the-art spa facilities to offer guests the ultimate disconnect from the pressures of everyday life.

During a two-night stay at the newly opened Stargazers Hideaway, I spent most of my time bathing in the outdoor hot tub, relaxing in the sauna, and reading a book by the stove. wood, without forgetting to taste delicious local products and to enjoy a visit to the family farms.

Agritourism is a growing industry here in Scotland, with many farms across the country opening their doors to visitors to enjoy a country getaway – offering accommodation, farm tours and farm experiences. with a fork, and much more.

Caroline and Ross Millar, of Balkello Farm, have been at the forefront of the trend for over a decade now, opening their first refuge to visitors in 2005 and more recently they opened their fifth and final refuge, the Stargazers – well positioned . and named to provide guests with the best views for stargazing.

The idea for Hideaways arose out of Caroline and Ross’ love of traveling and staying in luxury properties for adults only. They saw an opportunity to offer a unique vacation destination in their own farmhouse that could combine both modern luxury that can often be associated with an urban destination, like spa facilities and modern furnishings, but with decor. perfect countryside.

Visitors staying in Balkello also have the option of vacationing on a working farm where the Millar family raises sheep and cattle, as well as growing barley, wheat and rapeseed.

Caroline is a strong advocate for the role agritourism plays as a selling arm of agriculture and this was reflected in the extra touches included in my stay, with the opportunity to taste a selection of delicious meats from the local butchers James Pirie and Son, Newtyle, which were kindly left in my fridge on arrival.

Hideaways are perfect for couples and were designed by Caroline and Ross in an open, relaxed layout with all rooms opening onto each other and enjoying the same spectacular farm views.

Guests can use a modern fully equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar and dining table. In the next room you will find a living room with a wood-burning stove which can also be enjoyed from the master bedroom next door, and finally the beautiful open bathroom and the spa which opens onto the terrace and the hot tub.

All guests receive a welcome booklet with details of the facilities included in the Hideaway as well as places in the surrounding area that they can enjoy as part of their experience, which included dates and locations of the markets and shops of local producers, hiking trails, restaurants and bars.

The first morning I went to the recommended Grewars Farm Shop, a 10 minute drive from the Hideaway and was blown away by the wonderful products on offer, ranging from locally sourced fruits and vegetables to a fantastic range of cheeses, meats and canned goods, to great gifts, including handmade chocolates and a large selection of Scottish gins.

After filling my car with many delicious treats, I returned to the Stargazers for a relaxing afternoon courtesy of the local masseuse, Karen, who arrived to treat me and my partner to treatments in the comfort of our own refuge.

Prior to their stay, guests have the option of adding a range of extras, including spa treatments, flowers, and food packages from Newtyle’s local butchers.

If, like me, you are someone who has a hard time switching off, then the spa facilities located in the Hideaway will certainly relieve any tension. The beautiful bathroom is equipped with a free-standing bathtub and a double overhead shower, completed by a sauna and a relaxation room.

More subtle touches that make your stay even more enjoyable include a music system present throughout the Hideaway, as well as the outdoor hot tub, so you can set the perfect background music to complete your stay.

During the warmer months there is a hammock, lounge chairs and a day bed on the terrace for guests to relax and a state-of-the-art barbecue and stylish in-house bar, complete with cocktail shakers, glasses and drink recipes for customers. .

Vacationing at the Hideaways is the perfect romantic getaway and has provided the perfect setting for marriage proposals, as well as couples celebrating an anniversary, anniversary or honeymoon – one of the Hideaways even being aptly named. title The Honeymooners.

For those looking to explore the countryside, they can enjoy a number of beautiful walks on their doorstep over the Sidlaw Hills and beyond.

The beautiful Tentsmuir Nature Reserve is just a 30 minute drive away and Lunan Bay is 45 minutes east, where guests are encouraged to visit Arbroath for a famous Arbroath Smokie. In order to support local farmers, it is recommended that guests take a trip to St Andrews to visit Balgove Larder and its steak barn restaurant.

In 2020 and 2021, like many businesses, The Millar’s unfortunately had to close its doors to customers due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Since reopening their farm this summer, they have been able to do so in a way that makes visitors feel comfortable and safe with strict cleaning and hygiene procedures in place.

As the demand for spending time in the countryside continues to grow, Hideaways provide the perfect escape from crowded cities and busy lives for a weekend of luxurious relaxation, but with the added element of soaking up life. on a working farm and support local producers in dealing with it.