The Summer Howf: The Perfect Rural Retreat near Edinburgh

Is there anybody out there who doesn’t love a wee rural road-trip?

NAAAAAAAA.

When you live in a country as beautiful as Scotland, it would be rude not to pop off on regular jaunts in search of some ‘scenery therapy’. There’s an overwhelming selection of clean, green, awe-inspiring locations in our relatively wee country, and one does not always have to venture too far from the city to enjoy them.

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When I’m off on a mini-adventure, the accommodation is as much a part of the experience as the location itself. I’m a lassie who doesn’t do things by halves, so each dreamy countryside or coastal destination I venture to must be matched with a cute/quirky/magical place to rest my head. In fact, I’m often drawn to a particular point on the map following the discovery of an unusual place to stay. For the September weekend, this method of selection saw me lured to pretty Perthshire by an idyllic hideaway known as the Summer Howf.

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Just a few winding country roads, sunshine coloured fields, and a rather narrow stone bridge away from Dunblane, sits Craighead Farm. This lovely stretch of land is home to a choice of three attractive accommodations, including the Summer Howf. What sets this wee felly apart from the others is its summery, compact cuteness, wrapped in a parcel of meticulously maintained gardens, giving visitors the gift of serenity and seclusion.

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The accommodation itself is a freshly painted summer house with a bright and calming interior, welcoming bed, tasteful accessories and multiple panel windows to admire the surrounding scenery. With glamping (glamorous camping) luxuries like crockery, cooking utensils, electricity and a heater, the Summer Howf is what weekend breaks are all about. OH, AND THERE’S A HAMMOCK!

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Right outside your doorstep there’s a a double hob covered by a wooden canopy, a water tap and picnic table for alfresco dining. Not to mention the fire pit with low seats for some essential BBQ action and for post-light time huddling to absorb the heat and melt some marshmallows 😀 The fairy lights just finish it off don’t they?

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When curiosity beckons you to wander around the farm’s garden, you’ll soon discover that the exterior features are just as special as the wee den itself. Wavey pebble paths, secret-garden-style leaf archways, wooden bridges and super-sized bushes and plants, link each delightful part of the garden with the next. There was something about these gardens; in my imagination I could see the resident gnomes coming to life, dancing and skidaddling round the natural playground once our campfire had burnt out and we had fallen into an unsuspecting sleep.

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Unsurprisingly, the farm was home to some non-human guests too. There were a pair of super friendly pussy cats (especially when we had the BBQ going), turkeys, goats, ducks, chickens, OSTRICH, horses and my favourite… HAIRY COOS!

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The resemblance is uncanny.

The chickens provided us with fresh eggs in the morning, which I enjoyed poached, just in case you were wondering 🙂 The rest of our food supplies were sourced from supermarkets in nearby Dunblane. “Not just any supermarkets…”. Aye, you’ve guess correctly – there’s an M&S Simply Food. Mmmm.

Now don’t worry if you have forgotten something, just down the garden from the Summer Howf is the “Wash Howf” which has a wee honesty shop for any essentials, including snacks, candles and additional fire wood. Nice touch. We got our marshmallows and skewers from there – YIPPEE! The same building, which is attached to the main house, has a communal kitchen with a fridge/freezer, microwave and sink, plus a toilet and shower. It had everything we needed.

We just LOVED the Summer Howf 

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Quick Tips for staying at the Summer Howf:

  • Being the ‘Summer’ Howf and all, it’s only open from May – Oct.
  • Embrace the early COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOO from the resident rooster . It’s all part of the experience and he was there before you!
  • Take a torch for your journeys down the garden to the toilet during the night.
  • Explore the surrounding area; Dunblane, Doune, Stirling and Callander are all a short drive away and between them are packed with historic sights and bakeries 😀

Overall Verdict?

I was feeling rather chuffed with myself for sourcing and organising this wee getaway. I hadn’t expected such cutesy and considerate attention to detail; the setting and the summer house definitely surpassed my expectations. This glamping trip absolutely fulfilled its purpose as a wee escapism from the city for the weekend. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

We paid £80 per night for The Summer Howf  in September. To book, visit the Craighead Howf website

Do you have any recommendations for cute little places to stay in Scotland? Tell me tell me tell me!

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