25 May 2019
Hen Party Ideas | Dance Class | Make Your Own Dance Routines

Hen Party Ideas: City Dance Parties comes to Alexander House

Happening in locations across the UK, City Dance Parties has captured the imagination of people who love to dance or want to learn to dance. The company provides unforgettable dance experiences for Hen and Stag weekends, corporate getaways, birthdays and girly weekends. Whether you have two left feet or consider yourself a pretty mean mover, this is one dance party that’s guaranteed to get even the most reluctant dancers boogying all night long! And now we’re delighted to announce that these fabulous dance sessions can be booked at Alexander House.

Who better to make the introductions than Jenny from City Dance Parties…

We have a huge range of styles to choose from, whether you want to sizzle with a sultry Salsa or Strictly-themed dance class or fancy stepping back in time for a Roaring 20s, 80s or 90s Masterclass. How about learning the moves from your favourite film – maybe a routine from Grease, Dirty Dancing or a Disney film. Or you could learn a new style of dancing and choose a Bollywood, Burlesque or Belly Dancing class, there really is something for absolutely everyone – the hardest step is choosing which class you want. There’s also the option for a bespoke masterclass if there’s a style you think the bride/birthday girl would really love! In the past we’ve run sessions with a Billy Elliot theme, an Elton John Masterclasses, even a Magic Mike-inspired dance class.

Hen Party Ideas | Dance Class | Make Your Own Dance Routines

We aim to make our dance sessions relaxed, fun and confidence-building experiences that are suitable for ALL ages and abilities (we mean it….we’ve run a Beyonce dance class for a 70th birthday before!), and is guaranteed to get everyone having a giggle and building some special memories altogether.

Turn Alexander House into your very own personal dance studio

“As you’ll be staying at Alexander House, it’ll be in a lovely relaxed setting, with gorgeous scenery, and you can even pour yourself a glass of bubbly or a G&T during the break – perfect for anyone needing a bit of Dutch courage to get their dancing shoes on! To add to the fun, longer sessions include a prize of a bottle of champagne for whoever is judged to be the best dancer or, if yours is a hen party, given to the bride-to-be as part of the hen party gift bag she’ll receive at the end of the class.

Hen Party Ideas | Dance Class | Make Your Own Dance Routines

“City Dance Parties is all about creating the best experiences possible. We have a 5-star rating on TrustPilot, Facebook and Google Reviews for our classes.

Not only that, we recently won the British Wedding Award for ‘Best Hen and Stag Provider’.

Wow, we’re so excited to welcome City Dance Parties to Alexander House – their fun dance sessions are going to make weekends away go with an even bigger swing. So get booking and don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes!

05 May 2019
Spring Holidays in Scotland | Holiday Ideas - Perthshire

Spring is in the air at AH!

It’s that time of year again – the air smells sweet and the ground is covered with a beautiful carpet of bluebells. Waking up to the stirring sound of birdsong is bliss, it’s a lovely soundtrack that provides an ambient background to early morning activities and, the best part, it’s free to whoever will listen.

May 5th marked International Dawn Chorus Day. If you missed it, why not have a listen to some birds singing on the RSPB website and, better still, get yourself outside! Right now, you can witness plenty of stunning acrobats of nature, Swifts, Swallows, and Martins. If you’re quick, you’ll bag some amazing photos!

 

Spring Holidays in Scotland | Holiday Ideas - Perthshire

Why do birds sing?

Singing, of course, is all about male birds trying to attract a mate. It’s like nature’s very own version of Britain’s Got Talent – birds vying with each other, showing off and trying to convince the females that their fine tunes are proof of their ability to be a fit father! Singing is also a way of males attempting to hold their turf and lay claim to a particular female by singing louder than any others. So that beautiful sound of the dawn chorus is actually all about the males telling the females that they’re still there and, just in case a newcomer has snuck in, the territory is theirs.

Why in the spring do we get to experience such a wonderful natural musical concert? In May and June, our resident bird population is swelled by all the migrant birds visiting from Africa. Listen later in the day as dusk falls and you’ll hear another chorus of singing – this is often provided by male Nightingales trying to lure females for a romantic sunset!

Everyone seems to lead such busy lives, sometimes it’s nice to just take a moment and tune into nature – birdsong is calming and as effective as a mindfulness session, try it!

Spring Holidays in Scotland | Holiday Ideas - Perthshire

Looking for a spring vacation in Scotland?

What better environment in which to enjoy the sound of birdsong than Alexander House. It’s back to nature with all mod cons – breathtaking views, a fantastic area for walking, away from the hustle and bustle of ‘normal’ life with only sheep and cattle as your nearest neighbours. You can enjoy all of this from the very comfortable base that is Alexander House, where you can indulge in a soak in the hot tub whilst sipping a glass of bubbly. Stay in the house itself with family or friends or treat you and your loved one to a cosy retreat in one of our yurts or even our new glamping cabin, Juniper!

We look forward to seeing you!

Spring Holidays in Scotland | Holiday Ideas - Perthshire

Spring Holidays in Scotland | Holiday Ideas - Perthshire

22 Mar 2019

Alexander House – exploring the local area

We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes where you can enjoy getting back to nature. But we’re also just a stone’s throw from a plethora of things to do and see. So how might you fill your time during your visit to Alexander House?

Enjoy some retail therapy in Auchterarder

Auchterarder is a charming little town nestled in the quite spectacular Perthshire countryside, with the Ochil Hills visible to the south. Just an hour’s journey from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, the town is accessible from all directions. You may also be aware that Auchterarder is home to Gleneagles, the world-famous hotel and golf course, which is obviously a big attraction.

Auchterarder’s bustling and thriving high street is one of the longest in Scotland, at just over a mile long – for that reason, Auchterarder is fondly known as ‘The Lang Toun’ (long town). It’s also incredibly friendly and there is a wonderful sense of community, where people greet visitors with welcoming smiles. Visit a few times and you’ll soon be on first name terms.

Unlike many high streets, Auchterarder is full of independent shops, run by owners with genuine passion, and variety is what makes the town so interesting. From fashion to tweed jackets and bespoke tailoring, sweet shops to traditional gifts, you’ll find all sorts to buy.

If you fancy eating out you’ll be spoilt for choice. Chocoholics will love the Chocolate Galley, where you can buy handmade chocolates and even book yourself into a chocolate-making workshop. If you’re looking for coffee and cake or a fine dining experience, Max & Ben’s Bistro, Jon & Fernanda’s, Café Kisa, Delivino and The Strathearn are just a few places worth mentioning.

Worried you’ll pile on the pounds during your stay? From Alexander House, Auchterarder is a three-mile walk and a very beautiful one at that – you won’t be disappointed, so make sure you bring your walking boots.

Enjoy an outdoor adventure

Not surprisingly, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities, so here are just a few examples:

The award-winning Phoenix Falconry boasts a collection of over 60 falcons, hawks, eagles and owls. Under expert guidance you can enjoy the experience of flying and handling these amazing birds.

Pheonix Falconry | Things to Do from Alexander House Auchterarder

The Willowgate Activity Centre, based on the River Tay and just outside Perth, offers a wide range of land- and water-based activities, from archery to kayaking – there is no chance of being bored here! 🙂

Willowgate Activity Centre | Things to Do from Alexander House Auchterarder

If you fancy racking up some miles on two wheels, Scotland is a great choice. Make sure you don’t just stare at the tarmac, the views will take your breath away if the hills haven’t already. Do pop in to Synergy Cycles in Auchterarder for all things cycling related.

Gleneagles might be the ultimate golf course, but if you’re not up to Ryder Cup standard you’ll find other courses nearby that are suitable for all abilities.

If magnificent gardens are more your thing, then a visit to Drummond Castle Gardens will be a must. These formal gardens, with incredible topiary, are amongst the very finest in Europe.

Drummond Gardens | Things to Do from Alexander House Auchterarder

And after all that…

Relax at Alexander House, enjoy the heated swimming pool, hot tub and games room. Treat yourself to some pampering and book a personal beauty treatment. Life doesn’t get much better than this!

Now all you need to do is decide when you’re coming! We’ll look forward to meeting you soon.

14 Feb 2019
Small and intimate wedding venue near Gleneagles, Perthshire | Alexander House

Are you planning to get engaged in 2019?

So we’re into a fresh new year and with it brings a sense of anticipation. Many of us will have made New Year resolutions, giving ourselves goals and targets to work toward. It’s also a time for making new commitments and asking ‘will you marry me?’, a question asked all over the world as the clock struck midnight. Indeed, Christmas and new year are the most popular times of the year when couples get engaged.

Is it something you’re thinking of but didn’t feel like the time was quite right?

There are bound to be plenty of opportunities throughout the year, and sometimes it’s even more special if it’s a moment in time that has significant meaning to you and your beloved – and all the more romantic the more personal you can make it.

Yurt with Private Deck with Hot Tub - Cheers!

Your engagement will become part of your story as a couple, a chapter that friends will want to hear about and one day, perhaps, your children. So isn’t it right that you think carefully about the where and when?

Perhaps it will be on the anniversary of your first date, that magical first kiss, the day you first professed your love for each other. Maybe you’ll want to return to the first restaurant you visited together or whisk your loved one off to the one place in the world they’ve always wanted to visit.

Propose as you watch a beautiful sunset

Now you can’t get more romantic than that! We may not be able to offer a tropical paradise, but at Alexander House we can promise the most memorable sunsets you can imagine. It’s one of our favourite views and it literally feels like the sky is painting a picture for you.

Small and intimate wedding venue near Gleneagles, Perthshire | Alexander House

There is something rather awe-inspiring and inspirational about watching a sunset, it reminds you just how wonderful the world actually is and will intensify the desire you have to share the rest of your life with the person sat beside you – that question you want to ask will happen naturally.

Do it in style!

Get even more romantic and stay in one of our cosy yurts – choose Bramble or Heather and enjoy the luxury of ensuite facilities and wood burner. Sip champagne in a hot tub made for two as night falls and simply pick your moment – if you are lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis, then your proposal couldn’t get much better.

 

Wood-Fired Hot Tub | Luxury Yurt Glamping in Scotland

Yurts in the Snow - Winter Glamping in Scotland with Wood-Fired Hot Tub Views!

Or go big and invite all your besties

You could add an extra dimension to your proposal by having all your mates with you. Stay in Alexander House and you can invite up to 19 friends to witness your special moment (or at least report back after sneaking away to propose in private) and celebrate in style – why wait when you can have an engagement party then and there!

We think either option sounds like a good story to be able to tell in the future!

Sunset at Alexander House | Glamping & Self Catering Holiday House near Gleneagles

 

 

25 Jan 2019
Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

Enjoy some Turkish delights – introducing our Food Masterclass

Sam’s inspiration for our Turkish Masterclass…

Many of my earliest and fondest memories are of my grandparents. My Nan was Irish and my Dede (grandad) was Turkish. Dede owned a kebab shop called The King Kebab House and I always looked forward to visiting with my mum and twin sister. I’d become absorbed watching the chef working, from his speedy slicing of red cabbage to the preparation of one of my absolute favourite dishes, shish kebab. If we were well behaved, my sister and I would be given a rum baba to share as a treat – a bit like a doughnut, its hole is filled with cream and covered in a gloriously sweet and sticky syrup. They are wonderful memories.

Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

I grew up, not surprisingly, eating an eclectic combination of English and Turkish food and I’m sure that my mixed cultural heritage gave me my love of food and cooking. Whilst I’ve yet to try making rum baba, dolmas is a family staple that is readily devoured. Variants of these delicious stuffed vine leaves can be found throughout the Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Middle East. The word dolmas itself can be traced back to the pre-Ottoman period and the Persian variety of dolmas dates back to at least the 17th century.

Best prepared and cooked the day before, dolmas improve when they’re given time to  absorb all the lovely flavours they are packed with. I tend to warm them up and serve with bulgar wheat and a dollop of natural yoghurt, but they can also be eaten cold. The beauty of Turkish food is that it’s best made in large quantities – perfect whether you’re entertaining or just feeding the family – so one cooking session can provide several meals and very tasty leftovers!

Make Dolmas | Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

 

Try your hand at making some wonderful Turkish dishes

Many of us spend time flicking through recipe books and watching food programmes for inspirational dishes to try. That’s one way of finding new recipes, but how about taking part in our food masterclass instead! It’s an idea that came out of wanting to share with others my own foodie experiences and all those fond memories that make me feel so happy. It’s a happy feeling that seems to rub off on the people I’m cooking with, and that has to be a good thing!

Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

During the class, you’ll learn how to master three classic Turkish dishes – dolmas, Turkish chicken soup and baclava. Plus, I’ll teach you how to make Turkish coffee, the perfect accompaniment to a rich, sweet dessert such as baclava. Take your new knowledge home with you and spread a little Turkish delight amongst your family and friends.

Make Baclava | Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

Choose a fully-catered cookery weekend or book a cooking day as part of a longer stay, we’d love you to join us!

Make Turkish Coffee | Hen Do Ideas | Turkish Food Masterclass Perthshire

23 Jan 2019

The Ochil Hills are right on our doorstep – perfect for an outdoor adventure, even in the snow

We are so lucky to be surrounded by the most wonderful countryside and we’d encourage anyone to head for the Ochil Hills at least once during a visit to the area. Stretching an impressive 25 miles from Stirling to the Forth of Fay, the Ochils feature numerous peaks, the highest of which – Ben Cleuch – measures an impressive 721 metres. The hills are great for an invigorating walk at any time of year and possibly even more fun when it snows – and inevitably there will be snow!

Winter Activities - Snow Shoeing Ochils Perthshire

It’s a great opportunity to discover a winter sport – snowshoeing

Why stay in and suffer from cabin fever when you can get out in the elements for an invigorating walk. Wellies really aren’t going to work, but strap on a pair of snowshoes and you’re set for an invigorating walk. Not only will you be exercising, you’ll be rewarded by the most spectacular views.

Snowshoeing is a great way to keep in shape when the white stuff puts in an appearance, especially if you’ve been forced to temporarily hang up your hiking boots or running shoes. It’s evolved from a necessary method of getting from A to B in snowy conditions over many centuries past to a recreational activity that is growing in popularity – via, of course, the comic-book image of shuffling along on tennis racquets!

The great thing about snowshoeing is that it is such an accessible sport, a really good form of low-impact aerobic exercise, low risk in terms of injury, and suitable for all ages. It’s easy to learn, with just a few basic techniques to master, and far more affordable than other winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding. Newbies to the sport should try relatively short hikes, 15 minutes one way before returning, just to get used to the amount of energy it takes. Get used to walking up and down hills in your snowshoes and how to use your walking poles, and the Ochil Hills will feel like a winter paradise to explore.

Winter Activities - Snow Shoeing Ochils Perthshire

Fancy giving snowshoeing a go?

It’s really easy to get started. You’ll need:

• a pair of snowshoes (there are various types on the market, so do your research)
• warm, waterproof and well-fitting boots
• walking poles
• layers of clothing that can be removed or added as need be and suitable for cold and wet conditions
• waterproof socks
• hat and gloves

If you’re planning a longer hike or are going off the beaten track, you should also think safety and carry basic essentials in a backpack – headlamp, sun cream, first aid kit, knife, matches, shelter, food, water, extra clothes, compass, GPS device.

And at the end of the day…

Head back to Alexander House, relax and warm up in the heated swimming pool or hot tub. Treat yourself to some well-deserved ‘R and R’, indulge in a little pampering and book yourself a beauty treatment – life doesn’t get better than this. Now all you have to do is decide when you’re going to visit! We’ll look forward to meeting you soon.

Credits to:

www.mapstop.co.uk
hikingmastery.com

07 Jan 2019
Large Holiday House Near Gleneagles | Winter Weekend Breaks | Sleeps 21

Winter Holidays in Scotland – embrace the elements!

The mornings are cold and crisp. The trees are bare and the landscape looks bleak when the rain falls. Night falls early. That nip in the air can turn into ferocious biting as light easterly winds give way to arctic gusts. When the sun shines it puts a smile on people’s faces, but it does little to raise the temperature. Winter is here.

The white stuff is inevitable!

It will snow, we can be sure of that. On average, we get around 38 days of snow here at AH. According to the Metoffice, over in the Cairngorms, this rises to 76 days of snow. Thermals, Parka jackets, wellie boots, hats, scarves, gloves and lots of layers become the mainstay of the Scottish winter wardrobe – colder temperatures demand lots of wrapping up even to go for a short walk to the village of Auchterarder.

A 4×4 vehicle is also an absolute must. Certainly, we wouldn’t be without ours at AH – getting up the long driveway would be impossible without it.

Large Holiday House Near Gleneagles | Winter Weekend Breaks | Sleeps 21

But the view as you approach the house on a snowy day is simply breathtaking – it’s definitely a camera moment!

From a light flurry to a thick and glistening blanket of white – the fluffy white stuff makes everything look truly magical. Even the bare trees sparkle when dusted with snow. It may not be the easiest of weather, but the desire to get outside will overcome the lowest temperatures.

Large Holiday House Near Gleneagles | Winter Weekend Breaks | Sleeps 21

Enjoy a bracing walk and feel invigorated by the fresh air. Take in the sight of the surrounding landscape dramatically and beautifully transformed. There is also plenty of fun to be had. Who can resist a snowball fight or an exhilarating afternoon of sledging – snow brings out the child in all of us!

Large Holiday House Near Gleneagles | Winter Weekend Breaks | Sleeps 21

Of course, a Scottish winter experience wouldn’t be complete without hot toddies, hot chocolate or something in front of a crackling fire. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that make the most perfect days.

Large Holiday House Near Gleneagles | Winter Weekend Breaks | Sleeps 25Come and enjoy a wintery stay at Alexander House

It might be cold outside but we’ll give you a very warm welcome and you can enjoy a cosy stay. With enough rooms for 21 people, you could plan a fantastic weekend away with a whole bunch of your besties.

Just the two of you?

We’ve got it covered! Our glamping yurts are perfect, each with a king-size bed, wood burner, electric blankets (you’ll be just toasty) and ensuite bathroom – it’s glamping in very fine style indeed. Yurts Heather and Bramble are picture perfect in the snow. Anyone fancy a dip in the hot tub?!

Winter Glamping near Gleneagles | Hot Tub in the Snow

We hope to see you soon!

08 Dec 2018
Easy Campfire Stew Recipes | Campfire Cooking | Glamping in Scotland

Food & Fire: Fondue Chinoise – a good dish for this colder weather!

This has got to be one of the best open fire dishes ever.

Nothing goes to waste, and it is dead simple to set up, for both veggies, vegans, pescies and meaties alike. (Just don’t mix them all up, that would be bad for everyone except the meat eaters!)

If you have a tripod great – use it. And hang your Dutch Oven on it.

When you are making your fire for this recipe you need a neat tidy fire, not too spread wide, and with smaller wood, as everyone needs to be able to reach the middle of the fire without burning themselves (albeit with a good long stick!).

Good long sticks to cook your food on, with sharpened points.

If you don’t have a tripod and Dutch Oven don’t worry, you need a decent deep fire safe cooking pot.

Ingredients

Veggie and Vegan
500ml of good vegetable or bouillon per person
Selection of vegetable batons – carrots, courgette
Pak choy
Green beans
Asparagus
(Root vegetables don’t cook well on this – they need too long)
Slug of Mirin or rice wine (to add at the end)

Carnivores (amounts depend on how hungry you all are!)
500ml of good meat stock or bouillon per person
Strips of raw steak – ½ -1 sirloin or top rump steak per person
Strips of raw chicken (careful to cook this thoroughly) – ½ -1 chicken breast per person
Strips raw duck breast – ½ -1 chicken breast per person
Spinach (to add at the end) – 25g per person
Slug of sherry (to add at the end)

Pescatarians
500ml of good fish stock per person
Raw prawns – 5-7 per person
Raw squid – 5-7 pieces per person
Raw fish chunks – 5-7 per person
Spinach (to add at the end) – 25g per person
Slug of rice wine (to add at the end)

Method

  1. Put the stock into the pot and bring it to the boil on the open fire.
  2. With your long sticks, once the stock is boiling, cook your raw ingredients in the stock pot. All the amazing flavours from the cooking combine in your stock pot to make the most delicious soup.
  3. When you’ve cooked all your raw ingredients yourselves, then grab a slice of crusty bread, a bowl, and share out the soup from the saucepan or dutch oven, with a slug of rice wine or sherry added – it really is a taste revelation! 🙂
10 Nov 2018
Autumn at Alexander House | Holiday House near Gleneagles Perthshire

Reasons to visit AH – to enjoy our spectacular autumn colours in Perthshire

It’s that time of year again. We’ve waved goodbye to our summer visitors and the crisp sound of autumn leaves and the crackling of log fires now welcomes our winter visitors. Being located where we are means we really notice nature and all the changes happening. The chiffchaffs fill the air with song as they migrate, whilst swallows and house martins are only seen on the odd occasion as most have already left for warmer climes. Meanwhile, if you’re really lucky, you may spot one or two of our native bird species such as the Scottish crossbill, capercaillie and crested tit.

Meanwhile, lots of animals will be preparing to hibernate. But if the winter is mild, you may well still see hedgehogs well into November and December. The most obvious signs of autumn are trees and the wonderful palette of crimson, copper, orange, brown and gold that they display. The cooler weather and shorter days trigger trees to stop producing chlorophyll and other pigments, including carotenoid, bring about the beautiful change in colour. Perthshire at this time of year is a spectacular place to visit – dare we say it, it even rivals the Canadian Fall colours!

Here are a few of our favourite places to see autumn in its full glory..

Loch Faskally, which lies less than two miles from Pitlochry in Perth and Kinross, is a man-made reservoir. Built between 1947 and 1950, the dam incorporates a salmon fish ladder that allows over 5,000 salmon to ascend every year. The loch is a very popular tourist attraction and there are plenty of walks to enjoy. Visit during autumn to witness the most spectacular colours of the season.

Faskally SCOTLAND | Things to Do at Alexander House Perthshire
Photo credit: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire

• No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting the Queen’s View in Perthshire. From this point you can enjoy panoramic and iconic views of Scotland’s best. Queen Victoria visited in 1866 and it immediately became a popular destination, but it’s thought that this vantage point is actually named after Queen Isabella, the wife of Robert the Bruce.

Queens View SCOTLAND | Things to Do at Alexander House Perthshire
Photo credit: https://www.visitscotland.com/wsimgs/queensview

• An easy day trip if you’re staying at Alexander House, Crieff is a traditional Scottish market town set within Perthshire’s stunning scenery. This attractive and bustling town supports a wide variety of local family-run businesses and is a great place to explore. There are lots of coffee shops and places to eat as well!

Still feeling energetic?

The above are just a few of our favourites, but there are so many more – The Hermitage, Dunkeld, Royal Deeside, Drummond Hill, Kenmore, The Trossachs, Glen Affric. And if you’re looking for something unusual to do, have a read of this great article for inspiration.

Need to entertain the kids?

Ditch the mobile devices and get them outside! They might moan for a few moments, but kids are kids and they all love adventures outdoors. Wrap them up, put on some boots and see what happens! The National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 12 and Lasso the Moon are both great sources of inspiration for autumn activities – from rolling down a hill to building a den, the best things in life are free and the simplest of pleasures can create the most wonderful memories. Don’t forget to have a camera to hand (even better if you let them use it) and enjoy looking at the photographs over a mug of hot chocolate. 🙂

Things to Do at Alexander House Perthshire

Be prepared

Autumn is a wonderful time to be out and about but make sure you’re prepared for all types of weather – getting cold and/or wet will turn any outing into a miserable experience.

  • Do your research so that you know where you’re going, how long it will take to get there, where toilets are located and where you can get something to eat.
  • Make sure you have outdoor clothing suitable for all the elements – the weather can turn very quickly.
  • Investing in a decent pair of walking boots is one of the best things you can do for your feet. At the very least, pack plasters in case of blisters.
  • Sunglasses can come in very handy.
  • And don’t forget the camera!

All that’s left to do is have an amazing time exploring Perthsire and marvel at what nature offers for free!

 

Autumn at Alexander House | Holiday House near Gleneagles Perthshire