Being born and brought up in Scotland, I have always been aware of the beauty and history that lies right on my doorstep. However sometimes one becomes complacent, and in the pursuit of warmer climates I’ve often overlooked it, instead giving way to the enticement of foreign travel. The restrictions of travelling abroad in the past year have given me the chance to explore my own country again and it has been a much-needed reminder of just how special it is. With staycations on the rise, I’ve been on the lookout for that perfect Scottish holiday, that encompasses everything you need for a truly wondrous stay, and I believe I may have just found it.
Nestled in Dunecht Estates Forest of Birse in Royal Deeside is The Queen’s Hut, a quant and luxurious log cabin in the most magical setting. The Queen’s Hut, which is aptly named, was originally built for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V. It is here she would often frequent for a relaxed tea during her visits to Balmoral Castle. It wasn’t until I opened the private gate and drove down its winding gravel road that I instantly realised why it was such a favoured spot for her. As the sunlight danced through the towering pine trees and the hut came into view, it truly took my breath away. Its rustic bark cladding exterior blended beautifully into the surrounding woodland as if it had always belonged there.
The hut itself has been recently renovated to the highest standards. When walking through its glass-panelled door, it is immediately evident that the owners have been meticulous in modernising the lodge whilst still respecting its historic past. I couldn’t help but gasp in awe as I wandered around the property as very rarely have I seen a lodge that has been so thoughtfully designed. The interior exudes a refined highland aesthetic, giving off a true Scottish charm that exudes a plenitude of warmth, comfort and sophistication.
The whole length of the hut has enchanting small panelled windows that not only allow the light to flood in but also take advantage of the secluded Birsemore Loch which is right on its doorstep. No matter where you are in the property, as you look out towards the loch it almost feels like you are floating upon the tranquil water.
A long hallway leads you to the large sitting room where a plethora of beautifully sourced antique furniture is backed by soft cream walls. The walls have been tastefully embellished with rustic stag mounts and endearing photographic images of the Royal Family reflecting its Royal past. Soft pale hues of the sofa are interjected by deep blues and reds from the plump fluffy cushions and scattered patterned rugs. The sitting room includes a large dining table that can seat up to six people and is the ideal place to dine whilst enjoying the ambience of the rooms very own log burner. As darkness ensues it’s great to sit in front of the flickering fire, play some board games and enjoy a nice glass of red wine.
My favourite part of the room had to be the large window seat, a treasured spot where I would sit back, admire the view and read during the day. I especially loved how the intermittent sun would bounce off the nearby water, its undulating light would shimmer through the windowpane to dance upon the pages of my book.
The spacious kitchen echoes the pale blue hues of the sitting room and includes everything you could need during your stay, including a washing machine, dishwasher, wine cooler, Nespresso machine, fridge/freezer, cooker and microwave. A breakfast counter is yet another additional place to sit and relax. Here you can also admire a very large map of the expansive Dunecht Estate who own the property and land.
Located in the centre of the lodge is a cosy and comfortable twin room embellished with stunning terracotta walls. The window overlooks the trees at the back of the property and along with the warm colour and ambient lighting, it feels like such a cosy nook.
The bathroom is another impressive airy and spacious room with WC, a large sink and a generous waterfall shower. A light-up mirror is a fantastic contemporary addition and unlike some other highland properties that I have previously visited, there is no shortage of warm water.
As you enter the master bedroom you are yet again taken aback by just how spacious and beautiful it is. The first thing that you notice is the warming glow of the impressive William Holland freestanding copper bathtub. Situated on a risen platform in the alcove of a long window, the bathtub takes in those views of the majestic landscape and loch outside. One of my favourite memories of this stay was soaking in the tub one evening, watching the sun sink beneath the trees and listening to the birds sing outside.
The room has an impressive super king-size bed backed by a headboard in a calm pale green, a colour echoed in other accessories throughout the interior of the room. The bed was extremely comfortable and the sumptuous duvet and pillows along with the silence of the night meant I had one of the most restorative sleeps ever. Again, when it comes to comfort, every detail has been thought of at The Queen’s Hut. An elegant chaise longue graces the foot of the bed and additional seating around the room makes it so practical. Adjoining the room is a convenient en-suite W/C and each guest is provided with fluffy white towels and dressing gowns along with Eco-friendly locally made shampoo and soap bars which I found to be an extremely lovely touch.
Fortunately, whilst visiting The Queen’s Hut, the weather was on my side, so I thoroughly took advantage of the beautiful outdoor space both day and night. Next to the loch is a small wooden jetty which was a wonderful place to sit with your feet dangling in the cool freshwater whilst looking out towards the impressive surrounding landscape.
If you are an avid wildlife lover like me then the stunning grounds are filled to the brim with nature, and it wasn’t unusual to see glimpses of nesting Herons, Red Squirrels, Deer and Pine Martins.
As the evening sun dipped beneath the treeline, I would often retreat to The Queen’s Hut fire pit, located on the banks of the loch. Surrounded by comfortable wooden seating it was so tranquil to hear the distant hoot of an owl as I prepared my dinner on the BBQ. As I sat late into the night with the warm flickering fire and a drink in hand, I often thought to myself that this is truly heaven on earth.
Even though there is a sense of seclusion at The Queen’s Hut it is actually in close proximity to many places. As the weather was so beautiful, I often stayed within the Hut’s grounds despite a glorious wander around the nearby loch, which only takes around fifteen minutes. If you can prise yourself away from the Hut’s enthralling grasp, the nearby village of Aboyne is a mere fifteen-minute walk away (five-minute drive) and has everything you need with regard to restaurants, pubs and shops.
I did however manage to visit Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven (also owned by the Dunecht Estate), this dramatic clifftop fortress was truly impressive and worth the 45-minute drive to get there.
The Queen’s Hut, with its rustic-chic style and idyllic location cast its spell from the moment I walked through its door. Whilst there, I completely lost myself in its blissful charm and for the first time in a while I felt entirely present, allowing me to feel completely restored and rejuvenated on departure. I cannot remember the last time that I have made such an emotional connection to a place and wanted to return straight away. Whether it be a romantic getaway, a family trip or a get together with friends, you will in no doubt find everything you need at The Queen’s Hut for the perfect staycation. If there is one piece of advice I can give, be prepared to be spellbound!
Check out my video tour here.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 5/5 – Easily accessible by car / tranquil area close to ammenities
Customer Service – 5/5 – Online service friendly and informative / Self Check-in
Accommodation – 4.5/5 – Unique, Superb Finishings, Excellent amenities.
Cleanliness – 5/5 – Spotless and immaculate.
Food and Drink – Self Catering – Condiments and Nespresso Capsules provided, Welcome bottle of fizz.
Available to book through Beautiful Holiday Homes. For 15% off your booking, email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting discount code ‘blublazerguy’