The Gift of Memories
by Eilidh Armstrong
Hidden jewels peppering the West Coast of Scotland await you this festive season. From the glittering coast to the rolling hills of the countryside, Ayrshire is packed with a bounty of lodges, cabins, glamping pods and other alternative stays for you to indulge in with your nearest and dearest. These secluded woodland retreats make for the perfect magical weekend hideaway this Christmas where you can unplug from life and let nature envelope you in its quiet surrounds. You can chase away the nip in the air by going for a dip in a secluded hot tub before curling up in front of the wood burner; the perfect combination for enjoying the winter weather. Escaping to the country has never been so easy.
Jack’s Alt-Stays is the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland. The boys think of their one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.
Each of their five Cabins comes with its very own theme and story. You can expect clever interior design and a one-of-a-kind artist’s wall mural. They’ve also created a totally unique and fully immersive, smart-home-tech-enabled, sensory experience.
Enjoy cosy Netflix nights or relax in their wood-fired hot tubs. Their location is ideal for a secluded island retreat, yet only a short stroll away from local bars, restaurants and experiences – a perfect balance.
Prices from £89 per night
Freedom Fields Glamping
Freedom Fields combines its idyllic countryside setting with a luxury standard of glamping to create the perfect couple’s getaway.
The two pods, Heather and Braken, are set apart from each other, providing guests with a secluded, tranquil spot to enjoy the wood-fired hot tubs. Keeping comfort in mind, they also come with king-sized beds and comfy couches for you to unwind.
Located near the Galloway Forest Park’s borders and only a short walk from the quaint village of Straiton, you have everything you need right on your doorstep and can enjoy a jaunt through the forest at your own leisure before cosying up in front of the electric wood burner.
Prices from £315 for 2 nights
Elsay May Lodges
Nestled within the hills of Turnberry, you will find the truly unique, Elsay May Lodges, boasting stunning view over Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran. There are four uniquely themed lodges all furnished with locally handmade wooden furniture and Hygge woodturning stoves.
Dogs are well looked after with goodie bags and a cosy bed provided as well as each lodge having its own secure garden for your pets to enjoy while you relax and take in the sea views from your private Japanese Ofuro hot tub. You can also wake up to a freshly cooked breakfast fresh from the farmhouse kitchen with a choice between full Scottish, continental and vegetarian, all delivered to your lodge.
Prices from £460 for 2 nights
Mount Freedom Cabins
Step back from reality and onto a movie set with these three breathtakingly beautiful and bespoke cabins, all well-spaced out, to ensure you can enjoy the natural surrounds and wildlife undisturbed. You will struggle to escape the sea views that stretch into the distance, even from the outdoor bathtub that lies sheltered away under the cabin’s veranda.
While you will find a stash of basic amenities within the cabin, there is also a lovely harbourside restaurant, the Anchorage, that offers fresh locally sourced food, only a short walk away.
You can head for a walk along the coast or pay a visit to Culzean Castle, before curling up in the rocking chairs by the outdoor fire. There’s also a wood burner for when the nip in the air chases you inside.
Prices from £165 per night
Gadgirth Estate Lodges
Recently refurbished with a modern contemporary and traditional lodge feel, these exceptional lodges come equipped with your own private hot tub so you can tip your head back while taking in the woodland and riverside views. There is a choice of six lodges, all with stand alone designs, sleeping from two people up to six, making this an ideal break for the whole family to enjoy.
Set on the banks of the River Ayr, you are well placed to take advantage of the many walking trails as well as golf courses and beaches. There is also the lovely, welcoming touch of a hamper on arrival packed with bread, milk, butter and eggs to help you settle in.
Price from £425 for 3 nights