Buying and selling » Stuart Sandler - The Herald

A Short trip away from Glasgow was on the cards in a bid to get away from the hustle bustle of the city. At less than an hour`s drive away, Auchterarder served up a perfect place to escape to for a couple of nights. As soon as you drive in to the town, located north of the Ochil Hills in Perth and Kinross, it was easy to see why it was such a popular spot.

Our accommodation for the week was a stunning holiday lodge at Grand Eagles. The lodge provides a true home from home, with all the little comforts which you take for granted in your own house.

With two bedrooms, a spacious open-plan kitchen lounge and massive bathroom, our lodge, called Adair, had more than enough room for my wife and our energetic three-year-old daughter.

She was delighted with her "holiday lodge", as she called it, and quickly chose which room she was going to sleep in, along with her dolls and toy ponies.

We were warmly welcomed to the Grand Eagles lodge by the sales and marketing manager Eddie McCabe. He explained how popular the 100-acre park has become for owners or visitors enjoying a short break.

After settling into our lodge, we decided to venture out to Auchterarder and set off on a stroll to the High Street. After an enjoyable 15-minute walk we had a look along the High Street to see what it had to offer. A mix of lovely cafes, bistros, restaurants and delicatessens ensured we had plenty of places to look around. One place which caught our daughter`s eye straight away was the Chocolate Galley.

This cafe, which also provides chocolate making workshop was packed with treats for the whole family.

For a quick bite to eat we popped into the Glendevon Hotel, which provided a lovely family-friendly atmosphere and great food.

After a lot of fresh air and walking we headed back to our lodge for nice relaxing night.

Following a great night`s sleep we decided to make the most of the lovely spring sunshine and walk along again to the High Street from the Grand Eagles for some breakfast. We had spotted a nice place the night before called Cafe Bianco and decided to head there for a hearty breakfast ahead of a busy day.

It proved to be a great choice with superb service and lovely food, including pancakes and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

With a trip to the Glenturret Distillery planned for later, we decided to take a drive to Crieff and went a walk around the lovely market town, which was only 20 minutes away by car from Auchterarder. Our afternoon visit to The Famous Grouse Experience at the Glenturret Distillery was a superb way to see more sights and learn about the processes involved in making whisky. The tour guide Charlie was superb and took our small group around the distillery, which has been in operation since 1775. The tour flew in, with facts galore, ensuring we left the distillery armed with plenty of knowledge on the Glenturret dram.

We then headed back to our lodge for our final night. Thankfully the weather was still perfect and we were able to sit on the terrace and enjoy a glass of wine to toast a lovely weekend away in Auchterarder.

A new weekend favourite had definitely been discovered, and our daughter certainly enjoyed her trip to her "holiday lodge".

FACTFILE

Stuart stayed at Grand Eagles in Auchterarder.

Luxury Lodge ownership packages for a range of two and three bedroom lodges start from £85,000 to £195,000.

Many of the stunning, high specification lodges are complete with fixtures and fittings, luxury integrated kitchen appliances and soft furnishings. Clients can customise décor to personalise their lodge. All cleaning, maintenance and change over is handled by park personnel in the first year of ownership.

Grand Eagles, in Auchterarder, a 100-acre park featuring 72 lodges, has a wide range of industry leading lodges from just £85,000, as does its sister park, Loch Manor at nearby Dunning, which also boats a private loch.

Becoming an owner at either park, as Jim has done, also allows access to a worldwide holiday membership club where members can enjoy holidays all over the world. DAE or Dial An Exchange has offices in 11 countries, and a total of 550,000 members worldwide.

DAE has chosen Grand Eagles and Loch Manor as the first two parks in Scotland to partner with. Becoming a member enables owners at the two parks to access the holiday homes – from villas, cottages and lodges – of other members in countries stretching from France, Italy and Spain to Florida and California.