Family Activities Rule at Scotland's Gleneagles Hotel
Don’t be fooled by the austere look of it, a stay at Gleneagles is fun (photo courtesy of Connoisseurs Scotland)
Over the years, the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland has consistently been refining its offerings to both couples and families.
Gleneaglets, the estate’s recently launched year-round complimentary kids amenity program to an already-abundant list of options for youngsters. There’s more than 20 outdoor activities including free golf for children 15 years and younger with a paying adult, guided segway tours and such dedicated children’s areas as the Playroom (for 2 years and up) and The Zone, a place for teenagers that offers video games, computers, an interactive TV and sound system. The Playroom is supervised and features crafts, costumes for dress up, board games, DVDs and toys. Stays include two free hours per day and additional time is available for purchase.
That’s not to say adults are left wanting. A large chunk of Gleneagles’ acreage is taken up by three championship golf courses. Indoors are the spa by ESPA and four restaurants, including Scotland’s only two-starred Michelin eatery, Andrew Fairlie.
What really sets this country resort apart from all competitors are the extensive activities available. The 85-acre estate offers falconry, gun-dog training, horseback riding, pizza-making, golf camps, tennis clinics and more. Children are welcome participants in most activities and the new Gleneaglets program has such special amenities as their own check-in cards, the abundant hotel activities mentioned above, puzzle book as well as kid-friendly welcome offerings including sweet treats or Oscar the Shetland pony — a stuffed toy that happens to be Gleneagles’ mascot.
Through Aug. 30, pony-loving kids can get acquainted with the real thing in Gleneagles’ pony caregiving and riding program. The program, priced at £75 ($118) per child, shows how to care for Scotland’s indigenous Shetland ponies. Before a riding lesson, kids 6 years of age and up can groom and tend to the stable.
Throughout July and August, Scotland’s only PGA National Golf Academy will offer a two-day junior golf camp, priced at £80 ($126) per child, to teach the fundamentals. Participants will play on the nine-hole Academy Course and the Pitch & Putt course before playing the three championship golf courses on property. Two-hour camps are offered on July 7 and 8, July 20 and 21, and Aug. 3 and 4.
The Junior Development Program, which begins July 6, priced at £60 ($94), is a five-day tennis program designed for kids for aged 5 to 14. It’s also offered on a per diem basis at £15 ($23) per day. The Junior Pro Week, which begins July 20, is designed for competitive tennis players aged 10 to 18. More advanced, it focuses on improving technical, tactical, physical, and mental elements of each player’s game.
This intense 30-hour per week training program helps participants gain insight into a pro’s training regimen. Guests will play for six hours per day, Monday through Friday, in the newly opened Gleneagles Arena, which features four indoor all-weather tennis courts. The program is priced at £175 ($276) or at £40 ($63) per day.
The Children’s Country Sports Passport provides sporting schools for children taught by experts via hands-on instruction. Kids can delve into falconry, clay shooting, and archery as well as gundog training, fishing and junior off-road driving in mini Land Rovers. The passport costs £352 ($556) per child.
The British School of Falconry at Gleneagles is the first dedicated falconry school in the world and educates more than 4,000 people per a year. Though it dates back as far as 2000 BC, falconry reached the British Isles around 860 AD and hit its zenith in the 17th century. The rise of firearms for hunting all but wiped it out except as a field sport. Gleneagles guests can choose their level of involvement with the sport, beginning with a simple 45-minute introduction class. Family falconry lessons at Gleneagles allow adults and kids to experience the thrill of flying a hawk on the property’s picturesque grounds.
Archery is offered to guests aged eight and older. Gleneagles instructors work with guests of all skill levels until they hit the target. A full lesson is 45 minutes and costs £52 ($82) per person, with a cost of £21 ($33) per additional participant (with a maximum of five in a class).
Summer 2015 rates start from £355 ($561) B&B per room per night. Built in 1924, the 232-room Gleneagles lies just an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow by road or rail. A host of the 2014 Ryder Cup, the estate is home to three championship golf courses, including The PGA Centenary Course, Host Venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. Gleneagles is a member of Connoisseurs Scotland.
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