Set in its own magnificent 850-acre estate, Gleneagles 5 Red Star Resort is only one hour’s drive from magnificent day trip destination Edinburgh.
If you didn’t know much about Scottish culture before you arrived at Gleneagles, you soon will. Edinburgh shouts culture from its Gothic spires, gargoyle-encrusted steeples and copper-domed rooftops; it celebrates its culture and history with pomp and pride. With such gloriously over-the-top architecture, it’s no surprise that great creatives throughout the centuries have found inspiration here: ghoulish history, bloody legend and ghosts are embedded in its ancient walls.
Exit the 12th-century cliff-side castle from which hot oil was once dispensed on English raiders and enter the narrow alleyways of the Old Town, where real-life grave robbers became the model for Robert Louis Stevenson’s short story ‘The Body Snatcher’. Stroll past neoclassical museums, fronted with Doric pillars and intricate curlicues and the Georgian crescents so beloved by Edinburgh-born Arthur Conan Doyle come into view. So well conserved are the streets, you almost expect a horse and carriage to come clattering down the cobbles or for Harry Potter to go flying by. It’s the dramatic cityscape of which set designers dream.
Not that Edinburgh is preserved in aspic. Beyond the ancient castles and their braying bagpipers is a lively town heaving with students from the city’s four universities and in August, revellers at the world’s biggest arts festival. Wherever you walk, streets buzz with music and performers: gold-painted mime artists; pierced punks juggling flames; a shepherd in tweed showing off his sheepdog’s skills.
There is only one certainty when visiting this city: you’ll need well-worn shoes and an umbrella. It’s hilly, cobbled and often enshrouded in what’s romantically referred to as ‘Scot’s Mist’, or in common parlance, rain. A fine place to start exploring is Edinburgh Castle, not just for its history, but also for its heavy views. On a clear day, you can see for miles: to the north, over the Princes Gardens and New Town towards Leith Docks and to the south, over the turrets of Old Town to the Pentland Hills.
For a hit of adrenalin, there’s and exhilarating walk from the castle to the extinct volcano that is Arthur’s Seat and down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse . Containing oddities such as a tapestry made by Mary Queen of Scots with her own hair, the Queen’s official Scottish residence provides a clever snapshot of royal life through the ages. It’s a regal contrast to the maritime-inspired, almost-20-year-old architecture of the neighbouring Scottish Parliament by the Catalan Enric Miralles.
Whatever the weather, you are sure to find something to do in Edinburgh as the city is filled with fine restaurants, quirky corner shops, historic buildings and much, much more. Prepare to be blown away by both Scotland’s capital and also Gleneagles Hotel which is a sanctuary from the modern world. The hotel itself is a byword for style, elegance and comfort. It offers 3 championship golf courses, and a host of outdoor activities including riding, fishing, off road driving, falconry, shooting and archery. To relax further there’s an exquisite spa with all the latest therapeutic treatments, as well as a range of bars and restaurants, including the Michelin starred Andrew Fairlie.