Top 3 to see at the Stirling Fringe Festival 2015

Stirling Fringe 1

There’s only one week left until the start of the Stirling Fringe Festival which is now in its third year (hurrah!)

In its short history the Stirling Fringe has grown rapidly to include an eclectic programme of music, comedy, theatre, poetry and family friendly events that place across the city. The Fringe attracts artistic talent from around the world as well as supporting and developing local, home-grown performers.

There’s loads of events taking place throughout the festival, and you’ll find a full schedule on the Fringe website here, but we thought we’d give you a rundown of our top 3…

  1. Gary Little – Comedian – Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

A regular at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival and the winner of ‘Best Headline’ and ‘Best Show’ at the inaugural Scottish Comedy Awards last year, Gary Little is an act not to be missed.

Gary has been described as a “born raconteur” and this natural storyteller can take the everyday and weave it into non-stop hilarity. Tickets cost £10 and are sure to sell out fast so book here.

  1. Stirling Crime & Punishment Tour – Old Town

Stirling Fringe 2

Learn all about Stirling’s bloody history as you’re guided around the city’s beautiful Old Town on this entertaining crime and punishment themed tour.

The tour is a mixture of comedy, drama and storytelling that costs just £8 with tickets available to pre-book online from Stirling Walking Tours.

  1. Old High School of Stirling: Telescope Viewing – Highland Hotel

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to enjoy some stargazing through a 126 year-old Newtonian telescope!

Head along to the Observatory at the Highland Hotel and see the full moon like you’ve never seen it before. Members of the Stirling Astronomical Society will be on hand to answer any and all questions you have and, best of all, this event is free!

The Stirling Fringe Festival runs from September 18th – 26th and is open to all so head to the heart of Scotland and enjoy!

Day Tripper #1 – The Deil’s Cauldron

We pride ourselves of having plenty of fun things on-site to see and do but we still love to encourage our guests to get out and explore! So, welcome to the first of our ‘Day Tripper’ blog posts – from the well-known attractions to the hidden little gems, we’ll guide you through the best that Perthshire and the surrounding areas have to offer.

Just a few short miles along the road from Crieff sits Comrie, a quiet and beautiful village. The only time the peace is disturbed is when the ground shakes (Comrie experiences more earth tremors than anywhere else in the UK due to its position on the Highland Boundary Fault!) or during the Comrie Fortnight – the village’s annual festival, full of friendly competitions, dances and parades.

The village is a walker’s paradise with beautiful scenery in every direction and walks to suit all abilities. Nestled up in the beautiful woodland to the north lies the Deil’s Cauldron – a well-hidden pocket of small falls, narrow gorges and whirling pools.

Secluded and picturesque, the Deil’s Cauldron is home to a whole range of trees and plants covering the overhanging rocks. Check out the video below to see for yourself…

The Deil’s Cauldron and the Wee Cauldron, which can be found slightly further downstream, make up a very rewarding section of the Glen Lednock circular walk. A low grade, 5 mile walk on mostly well-trodden woodland paths.

A little extra…

If you’re feeling brave you can take the path up to the Melville Monument which lies just over the road from the Deil’s Cauldron. It’s a short, steep climb but once you’re there the view makes it all worth it so dig out those walking boots!

Nothing but the berry best…

As we’re sure you know by now, Scotland is celebrating its Year of Food & Drink and this month it’s the turn of our summer fruits and berries to take centre stage at the nation’s dinner table.

summer berries

All of this glorious sunshine (and the occasional thunderstorm and torrential downpour!) means that Scotland’s woodland, hedgerows and fields are now bursting with colour… Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, tayberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants – the list goes on!

wimbledon 2015 (2)

We’ve been getting into the spirit of Wimbledon over the last couple of weeks serving up fresh strawberries and champagne to our guests (cream available on demand, of course). But you don’t need to stop there…

Just a few miles down the road sits Broadslap Fruit Farm. They grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and are renowned for their delicious raspberries in particular.

summer berries 2

At Broadslap visitors are free to pick their own fruit or if you’re feeling lazy then you’ll find the full range of fruit and vegetables they offer at the farm shop, ready for you to buy.

Here at the Hydro we use fresh, local fruit and veg from our friends at Arbuckle Farm. Check out the video below to see the pride and passion that goes into the produce we use in the kitchen and behind the bar..

What’s this? The full Hub-bub!

So phase 1 has turned into the full shebang and our newly refurbished Hub café has been unveiled!HUB Collage

There’s lots to shout about. Of course, there’s been a lick of paint and some funky furniture but there is more…

We’ve teamed up with British bike brand Genesis and have a hotspot in the café where you can rent one of their latest collection of mountain or road bikes. All the family can get on their bikes and explore our 900 acre estate or take to the road.


Our menu has also had a makeover with breakfast baps, tasty flatbreads and fresh salads and sandwiches all making an appearance. Come the summer we’ve also got big plans to introduce some tasty and traditional hot food items so if you fancy a gourmet burger or good old fish and chips then give The Hub a try.


Old favourites are here to stay including the Dundee roasted coffee company Paddy and Scott’s and Scottish brewery Brewdog that offer a tasting experience like no other.

Weekly round up – Breadalbane, blinis, doughnuts and, of course, more whisky!

Welcome to the second instalment of our weekly round ups – where we give you a glimpse into what’s been going on around the Crieff Hydro resort over the past 7 days.. (or since we last got a chance to do a round up – it’s super busy around here!)

This week (or, if we’re being honest, 11 days) has been a whirlwind of activity around the resort, as per usual. The weather has given us everything from thunderstorms to lashing hailstones with a little bit of glorious Scottish Spring sunshine thrown in for good measure!

So, what’s been going on..

Rings of Breadalbane Explorer

Rings of breadalbane 2015

This week marked the return of the Rings of Breadalbane Explorer bus service for the ‘sunny’ season.

The bus takes passengers through the stunning highland scenery of Breadalbane, passes through beautiful towns and villages, and calls at major visitor attractions along the route.

It’s a fantastic way for our guests to get out to discover everything that Perthshire has to offer – big or small!

Bruce’s Blinis

Bruce edit

Every now and then, our award-winning Head Chef, Bruce Perry, likes to share a little bit of his culinary Crieff Hydro magic with you guys at home.

This week’s tasty treat is Smoked Salmon & Avocado Blinis

Doughnuts – go nuts!

doughnut week

This week is that most rare and special of weeks… that’s right, it’s National Doughnut Week.

To celebrate this momentous occasion we teamed up with our friends from down the road, Campbell’s Bakery.

Campbell’s challenged local primary school kids to come up with their own tasty doughnut designs and we’ve been selling the winning ‘Candybar Crush’ doughnut (along with all the classics) to raise money for The Children’s Trust in our Winter Garden and Hub cafés.

All things whisky…

After the success of our Glengoyne whisky tastings earlier this month, we decided that we had to keep the ball rolling or, more accurately, the drink flowing.

This time our friends at Laphroaig said why not offer our guests free tasting of their fabulous drams every weekend for the rest of May (aka whisky month) and we very quickly agreed!

And, we still have a few seats left at our one-off whisky dinner where you’ll enjoy a menu that has been lovingly prepared by our Bruce to perfectly compliment a specially selected whisky flight. Tickets are going fast so call our Resort Sales team on 01764 655 555 to find out more and book.

Weekly round up – Liquor love and Hub-bub

Welcome to the first of our weekly round ups – where we give you a glimpse into what’s been going on around the Crieff Hydro resort over the past 7 days.. (or since we last got a chance to do a round up – it’s super busy around here!)

This week has seen the start of the Year of Food & Drink’s whisky month, our gin bar turning the ripe old age of 1 and our Hub getting a funky refurb.

Whisky Month

The entire month of May has been dedicated to celebrating Scotland’s (and the world’s) favourite tipple – whisky!

whisky wall

As part of Year of Food & Drink initiative people and businesses across the country will be showing off the wide array of world class whiskies that Scotland has to offer. Naturally, we took the decision to stock up our beautiful whisky wall for the occasion but that’s not all that we’ve got planned…

whisky map

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Glengoyne to offer our guests free whisky tastings across the May Day weekend. Guests have been sampling the Glengoyne 10, 15 and 18 year single malts all under the guidance of their friendly whisky expert, Danielle.

whisky tastings (danielle)

Later this month, we’ll also be hosted an exclusive whisky dinner where our award-winning Head Chef, Bruce Perry, will be serving an array of off-menu dishes that have been created to perfectly compliment a delicious whisky flight! Tickets are still available and, at £35 per head, are an absolute bargain – call us on 01764 655 555 to book.

If you can’t make it, why not check out this blog from VisitScotland and see how you can get creative in the kitchen with whisky yourself.

Happy birthday, Gin!

Our guests had even more reason to celebrate this May Day weekend as our gin bar reach the one year mark!

Every weekend in the Winter Garden, our bar staff take a wide array of gins (and tonics), fresh fruit and herbs and serve up a nice glass of Hydro happiness…


What’s all the Hub-bub?

Also this week, our Hub has been getting a little Spring sprucing as we initiated stage 1 of our café overhaul…

Hub new 1

Funky new furniture, a fresh lick of paint and countless new TVs have given the Hub a whole new look.

Hub new 2

And it doesn’t stop there, we’re also about to unleash a whole new menu in the run up to summer! (Don’t worry though, you’ll still be able to get our Paddy & Scott’s coffee.)

Bruce’s Recipes: Fish Soup

It’s time for another guest post! This one comes from our incredible head chef at Crieff Hydro, Bruce Perry.

 Bruce has agreed to share some of his favourite recipes with us over the next few months so that you can cook up a little taste of our Meikle restaurant’s magic in your own kitchen!

 This week’s recipe is for a delicious fish soup with croutons…

Bruce fish soup


Fish Soup

160g mixed fish such as salmon, cod and sea bass

120ml rapeseed oil

150g onion, celery, leek and fennel, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

Juice of 3 oranges, plus ¼ each strip of the zest

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced

2 bay leaves, sprig of thyme, pinch of saffron

180g unpeeled, cooked langoustine bones frozen

Pinch cayenne pepper

2lt good quality fish stock

320ml white wine


50g day-old white bread A little fish stock ½ tbsp good quality harissa

1 egg yolk

100ml rapeseed oil

1/6gr saffron

Isle of Mull Cheddar Crouton

2 French petit pain rolls 100ml olive oil 1 garlic clove

100gr Isle of Mull cheddar gratin

Bruce recipes


Fish Soup

1. Fillet the fish, removing any bones

2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently until soft but not coloured

3. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, langoustine, cayenne pepper and fish

4. Cook for 2 -3 minutes, then add stock and orange juice, bringing to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes

Meanwhile, make the crouton as below

5. Liquidise the soup and pass through a sieve into a clean pan, pressing out as much liquid as possible

6. Return the soup to the heat and season to taste with the cayenne, salt and pepper


1. Thinly slice a small baguette then fry the slices until crisp and golden

2. Drain on kitchen paper and rub a garlic clove over one side of each piece

3. Cut into 220g balls, shape and place on to greased trays, cover with cling film and chill in fridge


1. Cover the bread with fish stock, saffron and leaves to soften

2. Squeeze out excess liquid and put the bread into a food processor with harissa, garlic, egg yolk and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt.

3. Blend until smooth

To Serve

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and allow each person to spread the rouille on to the crouton, float them on their soup and sprinkle them with Isle of Mull cheddar



Raise a glass to our brewers and distillers!


As many of you will already know, Visit Scotland have named 2015 the Year of Food & Drink and this month’s focus is Brewing & Distilling. So, we thought we’d take a look at one or two local gems and what we have on offer here at Crieff Hydro.

Local Micro-breweries

Perthshire is home to a number of breweries and micro-breweries some of which can boast national (and even international!) stockists. But we wanted to take a look at a couple of smaller operations that are producing some fantastic drinks for the local market…

StrathBraan Brewery

The StrathBraan Brewery is a family-run operation based just north of Crieff in Amulree, Dunkeld. They have been producing beers commercially since March 2012 and currently produce just 2 beers:

‘Head East’ – A traditional bitter, 4.2% ABV, appearing a copper colour in the glass. A well balanced beer with a malty character and pronounced floral aroma.

‘Due South’ – A classic pale ale, 3.8% ABV, appearing a golden colour in the glass. An easy drinking session beer with slight citrus flavours.

StrathBaarn Brewery beers can be found in a number of local pubs (including Greyfriars Bar in Perth) and beyond. They have been featured on Belhaven’s guest beers list numerous times and there are plans in the pipeline for a steady expansion.

If you’d like to know more, check out this great blog post.

Allanwater Brewhouse

If you’re willing to venture a little further afield then the Allanwater Brewhouse in the lovely Bridge of Allan is definitely worth a visit.

This hidden little treasure is located just of the main street in Bridge of Allan and offers an ever changing array of beers and ciders on tap, as well as bottles of some their best selling products available to buy for there and then or for later.

They’ll often have live music and quiz nights in their cosy little snug and there’s a wood burning stove to keep you warm. You can even nip across the road to pick up a fish and chips supper from the Allanwater Café and then bring them back to enjoy with a pint in the Brewhouse!

Check out their website here.

Behind our bar

Here at Crieff Hydro we’re proud to support our local suppliers and the drinks we stock behind our bars is no exception to that. We stock a number of well known Scottish brands, like beers from the Inveralmond Brewery and the Ayrshire-distilled Hendricks Gin, but we also have a few you may not have heard of…

Caorunn Gin

Speyside is malt whisky country but Simon Buley, a distiller at Balmenach Distillery, had a rather unconventional thought: the combination of pure Highland water and Celtic botanicals would make a rather special Scottish gin. And so, Caorunn Gin was born.

They describe themselves as ‘a perfectly balanced, super-premium small batch Scottish Gin, infused with hand-picked botanicals, inspired by Celtic tradition’. We describe them as ‘delicious’.

Pincer Vodka

Jonathan Engels had a hunch that the world was ready for a premium Scottish vodka and he was spot-on – Pincer arrived in 2009, distilled using the finest Scottish mountain water, along with natural botanical extracts of milk thistle and wild elderflower.

So, why not join us for a drink and celebrate our local drinks makers!

Return of the Crieff Hydro Wedding Fair

Crieff Hydro Wedding Fair – 1st March 2015


We love weddings. It’s just that simple. The dress, the flowers, the cake, the rings… the list is endless which is exactly why, every year, we host a Wedding Fair!

The Crieff Hydro Wedding Fair gives us the perfect opportunity to share our love of weddings with all you lucky brides (and grooms!) to be, as well as some who are just feeling pretty optimistic about the year ahead…

After all, it’s never too soon to choose your venue or plan your day. They’re big decisions, but they are also exciting ones. So make sure you have fun making them.

crieff-weddings- open-back dress

What we offer…

Whether you come to view our grounds, to gain inspiration for your big day by speaking to Crieff Hydro’s wedding experts, or to meet our recommended suppliers, The Crieff Hydro Wedding Show will meet all your wedding needs.

For glamour and grandeur; Crieff Hydro meets all expectations.  Impressive architecture and scenery (we have both in spades), no bride deserves anything less.  But it’s the things you might not expect that really set us apart…

You want to arrive in style in a classic Rolls Royce? That can be arranged. You want to roll down the aisle on Segways? Unusual but doable. You want doves to be released as you leave the venue? We’ll call the photographer.

In fact, we’ll do our best to accommodate any request you can think of!


On the day…

Start your happily ever after early and plan your perfect day at Crieff Hydro on Sunday 1st March 2015 from 12 noon – 3pm.

We’ve over 40 exhibitors who’ll be there on the day to help you organise all you need for your big day.  At the fair, you’ll enjoy:

  • a glass of fizz on arrival
  • the chance to sample our latest wedding menus and drinks packages
  • entertainment
  • photographers
  • florists
  • and much, much more!

To top it all off, registration is absolutely FREE – you can’t say fairer than that! To register, click here.

Tweed suits, fire alarms & the breaststroke…

This is the behind the scenes story of our Great British Railway Journeys journey…


It’s mid-August and Michael Portillo, along with five of the GBRJ crew, is due to arrive at Crieff Hydro any minute.

Waiting to greet him at Reception, dressed in his signature tweed suit, is Stephen Leckie – CEO of Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels.

After a quick meet and greet, it’s straight to business as Stephen escorts everyone up to the top of The Knock to begin filming. It’s a beautiful, clear day and the stunning surrounds of the Crieff Hydro estate and beyond make the perfect back drop for the first interview between Michael and Stephen.


Interview over it’s back down to the hotel to film some exterior shots before moving inside and up to the Signature Room where Michael will spend the night. After capturing some more footage, the GBRJ crew decide they’d like to get down to our Victorian Spa and film a short segment of Michael enjoying the pool facilities before we lose daylight. It’s at this point that the Crieff Hydro GBRJ train, which had been running so smoothly, starts to derail…

Michael changed into his swimming costume and emerged from his room wearing a dressing gown and walking boots ready to be escorted down to the Spa in comfort (and sensible footwear). Then, out of nowhere, the fire alarm goes off! So, Michael Portillo is now being escorted out of the building in the company of hundreds of guests… in his dressing gown!

Ever the professional however, Michael takes it all in his stride smiling and chatting to guests. Luckily before making it outside we’re informed by one of the Crieff Hydro Duty Host team that there is no fire and that the alarm was triggered by an accident involving a break glass unit.


Eventually, a somewhat relieved Michael reaches the Victorian Spa and begins shooting his final scene of the day, proudly displaying a wide array of swimming strokes – front crawl, backstroke and, of course, the breaststroke!

And that’s a wrap!

If you want to see our appearance on Great British Railway Journeys (or even if you just want to critique Michael Portillo’s breaststroke) then you can catch us on the iPlayer here.

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