Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review

AD - This post has been published by our writer Gaia and is based on a press stay in June 2022. Any shares beyond this date have not been asked for. Please always check with Crieff Hydro direct for the most up-to-date information. 

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review

Crieff Hydro

I’ve always wanted to visit Crieff Hydro. It's a bit of a legendary place in Scotland where I grew up and I'd heard good things from friends who'd visited.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review
It's in a little Scottish village in Perthshire, surrounded by rolling hills. Luckily it's not too far to travel from where we live now (it’s 3.5 hours drive from Newcastle) so we packed up the car with the kids, dog and bags and hit the road.

About Crieff Hydro

Crieff hydro was built in 1868 as a wellness and relaxation retreat for spa loving Victorians and the hotel maintains all of it’s old school grandeur but with all the benefits of modernisation.

The focus is on fun with a huge range of activities available on-site including an adventure playground, high ropes course, 4x4 driving (big and little!), swimming, golf, tennis, horse riding and much more! 

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - adventure playground

There is a wide selection of rooms in the main hotel including family rooms sleeping up to 6, some even have a little separate section with bunk beds for the kids. As we brought our dog we decided to stay in one of the self catering houses. They have lots of options across their extensive 900 acres including cosy cabins, big New England style lodges, a converted farmhouse and a shepherds hut. Some have hot tubs, some have balconies and all are gorgeously decorated in countryside chic style.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - resort map

The Victorian Spa was part of the original hotel when it was established in the Victorian times and is where the name ‘Hydro’ comes from. It’s based on water and wellness therapy retreats in Austria which Dr Thomas Henry Meikle had stayed in before setting up his own. Crieff Hydro is still owned by the family and they also branched out with a number of other hotels Including Peebles Hydro in the Scottish borders.

Self catering at Crieff Hydro

We arrived and drove straight to our accommodation, we were staying in the Culcrieff village. It’s a 5 minute drive from the main hotel building to where we were staying – there’s also a lovely 25 minute trail walk that connects the accommodation to the hotel. Click here to check prices and availability.

We'd checked in online using the Crieff Hydro app so our key cards were dropped off outside our front door which was fab, we just got straight in at check in time which is 4pm. It's a cashless resort so everything is paid for by card and it's easy to book activities through the app. 

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - self catering lodges

Everything was immaculate and really tastefully decorated. Our accommodation had two bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and TV. The beds can be configured as singles or doubles and were set up for us based on our requirements.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - self catering bedroom

The beds are super comfy with soft white hotel sheets and tartan blankets and cushions. There was also a boot rack and a utility room with washing machine and tumble dryer on the ground floor. There was also a decked area with deck chairs outside our front door. The kids loved that it was an upside down house with the living room and kitchen being upstairs.

There are baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs which is ideal if you have a baby, toddler or dog and there's a high chair as well as a cot provided as standard without having to request them.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - self catering lodge living room

Upstairs there’s a beautiful open plan living room, kitchen and dining area and balcony with table and chairs outside. We loved eating and drinking out here - it's a real sun trap.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - view from bedroom
There are some thoughtful touches including board games, tea, coffee, biscuits and milk in the fridge, fresh sourdough in the bread bin and some extra treats which I’ll leave as a surprise!

The self catering accommodation is dog friendly and there are plenty of walks to take your dog on around the estate, off-lead if you like. The garden of the property is not enclosed (as with most holiday parks). There is a charge of £50 per dog, per self-catering lodge. They allow a maximum of 2 dogs per lodge. You can find out more & check prices / availability here.

Activities at Crieff Hydro

There are SO many things to do on Crieff Hydro's 900 acre estate. We were very excited to check out Action Glen which has an adventure playground (entry to Glen’s Adventure Park is £28 for a family ticket), climbing wall, bouncy pillows, zip wires, a maze and a cafĂ© for coffee, snacks and ice creams afterwards.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - bouncing pillows
We also checked out the crazy golf and driving range, and our 7 year old’s favourite – the mini 4x4 cars. He had great fun whizzing round the bumpy track with his little sister in the passenger seat, and he even mastered his first attempt at reverse parking in one go! You get half an hour for £10 per vehicle and that was plenty of time to have fun.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - kids driving cars

The playground has an impressive climbing frame which is modelled on a mini version of Crieff Hydro. Our kids (aged 4 & 7) loved the 3 different slides and ladders to play on.

There is also a great toddlers playground area with mini tractors to play on and loads of playground equipment to suit littler ones. Leon loved having a go on the climbing wall (£5) and getting right to the top to ring the buzzer.
Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - mini tractors

The maze is made up of wooden panels, some of which you can go under and it was great fun running round trying to find the middle.
There are 3 zip wires that Leon and his Dad enjoyed racing each other on and 2 bouncy pillows to enjoy.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - climbing walls

On our second day we had a family game of crazy golf on the 9 hole course which features Scottish landmarks like the Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh castle and the Loch Ness Monster. It got a little competitive but everyone was happy in the end when they got an ice-cream!

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - mini golf

We also checked out the stables on-site, you can go on treks around the 900 acre estate or have a lesson in the riding school depending on your ability level.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - riding stables
For little ones there are pony rides for £10 which Ada really enjoyed, she felt totally at ease thanks to the super friendly instructor Erin who is brilliant with little ones.

Find out more about activities at Crieff Hydro here. 

On our final morning me and the kids went to the swimming pool (you have to prebook this online but it’s free) while Andy packed up the car. On the day you check and the day you check out you are welcome to use the facilities all day, you just park up at the hotel after you’ve checked out.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - swimming pool

The swimming pool has a lovely warm small pool for little ones with toys like balls, boats and watering cans available to play with. There’s the main pool, a jacuzzi and a steam room and sauna too. Towels are provided free of charge. We had a lovely hour splashing about and thanks to the booking system it wasn’t busy so there was plenty of room to have fun. Find out more about swimming at Crieff Hydro here.

Kids Club at Crieff Hydro

If you book direct with Crieff Hydro you get 2 hours of FREE childcare every day in the kids club. You can also add a half hour ‘bridging session’ at the end of the session for £7.50 per child which includes a drink and snack (pom bears, frubes, fruit etc). If you want to use the kids club for longer you can pay for this and there is also a babysitting service if you fancy a child-free evening, they can come to your accommodation (enquire for rates).

We took advantage of the kids club so we could check out the Victorian Spa. I had a look around the kids club (which is called Big Country) and it was brilliant, there was so much for them to do. Little kids have a big area with a castle soft play to play in, scooters and trikes to ride around on, loads of toys and different areas e.g. farm, dinosaurs and crafts to do.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - games room
For the bigger kids there’s a gaming room which has loads of games consoles and tablets, as well as board games. The staff are really friendly and engaging and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. It was our first experience using a kids club and I'd definitely do it again.  Discover more about the complimentary Kids Club at Crieff Hydro here.

Victorian Spa at Crieff Hydro

You pre-book your spa session online, and it’s for over 18s only. Sessions are two hours and cost £20 which includes fluffy gowns, slippers, teas and coffee, juices, biscuits and fruit and use of the pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, loungers and magazines.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - Victorian spa

It’s all completely separate from the family friendly pool and facilities there. We had a lovely relaxing time sipping herbal tea and eating shortbread while lounging by the pool in between sauna and steam room sessions.

You can also book treatments if you really fancy treating yourself but we were happy to just have some chilled out child-free time!

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - Victorian spa

We left feeling very zen and picked the kids up from Big Country where they’d made some beautiful art and had lots of fun. They were keen to go back the next day and I can see why, there’s so much for them to do, they made new friends and the staff are so lovely.

Dining at Crieff Hydro

There are 6 restaurants to choose from onsite with a range of options available.

The Terrace is a family friendly restaurant serving tasty Mediterranean food. It has an outdoor covered area that's dog friendly and has a bouncy castle next to it to keep the kids entertained.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - restaurant terrace

We checked out a magic show and got a balloon animal outside then popped into the terrace for Aperol spritz and parmesan truffle fries on our first day (get them, they're amazing!).
On our second day we enjoyed a free jubilee cupcake from the Winter Garden, which was delicious and the amount of tasty looking cakes on display (and the friendly staff) in the very grand surroundings was very impressive.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - cake counter

On our last day we had lunch at The Terrace restaurant as it’s dog friendly if you sit on the covered outdoor decking and the bouncy castle is within eyesight too.

We had pizza, lasagne and the kids had chicken nuggets and chips and a kids pizza. I really enjoyed the lasagne, it was homemade and delicious. It doesn’t come with any garlic bread or salad, which would have been a nice addition but otherwise it was spot on. Prices are reasonable at around £15 for a main course and £6.50 for kids meals. The pizzas were a generous size and decent, and the kids meals were great – especially the chicken nuggets, chips and corn on the cob.

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - kids meals
There is an activity sheet menu and crayons provided for the kids and our Australian waitress was lovely, fussing over the dog and bringing him water which was appreciated.

There’s also a fancier restaurant ‘The Meikle’ and a sports bar which is open at weekends for sporting events serving burgers. There's also Asian evenings in the Meikle where you can sample delicous curries.

Entertainment at Crieff Hydro

There's always some form of entertainment on at Crieff Hydro from kids crafts and pantomimes to bingo, kids disco and ceilidhs and live music in the evening. Most of these are included in the cost of your stay whether you're staying in the hotel or self-catering (there's a small additional charge for some things like VR experience, some crafts etc).

Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - cinema

There's even a little cinema showing family friendly movies twice a day and a games room with arcade machines and pool, air hockey etc (£1 coins needed for these).

Our experience of Crieff Hydro

We had so much fun staying at Crieff Hydro. We loved our home-from-home with stunning views from our balcony and the fact we were just a short walk from the hotel and Action Glen with all the fantastic facilities available.

It’s the perfect place for family time, and a big shout to all the lovely staff we encountered who were so friendly and happy to help.
Crieff Hydro Self Catering Review - farmyard animals
We especially loved Noah the first aider who came to the rescue when Leon got a splinter as we didn’t have tweezers with us; he saved the day and even gave Leon a free bouncy ball and ice cream for being so brave! What a fantastic place for a family holiday. Find out more and book here.


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