The nights may be fair drawing in, but that does not mean it is too late – or too early – to start planning away trips for the spring and summer months.
On one of the last glorious days of summer, I headed to Hotel Fairmont St Andrews for a luxury trip filled with champagne, pampering and great company.
We enjoyed afternoon tea with Moët & Chandon’s finest magnum bottles of Chandon Ice Impérial Rosé on the hotel’s Atrium Summer Terrace, which sports amazing views over nearby golf courses, and stretches all the way down to St Andrews’ stunning coast.
The array of sweets and treats on offer was sublime, with a multitude of cakes, mousses, scones and jams in a variety of options and flavours, with vegetarian and gluten-free options too.
Next was a soothing full-body massage in the exquisite spa, before heading to La Cucina Restaurant, one of four dineries, for a delicious five-course meal accompanied by even more Moët & Chandon champagne (fun fact: contrary to popular belief, you are supposed to pronounce the ‘t’ in Moët. The founder, Claude Moët, was of Dutch origin, and retained the Dutch pronunciation of his name).
The food was truly scrumptious, with most ingredients being sourced locally from high-quality suppliers such as Blacketyside Farm and St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company. Our wines for the night were also carefully paired with each dish, making for a wonderful fine-dining experience. After that, I retired to my sea-facing hotel room.
When I awoke the next morning the room was filled with sun rays, and offered breathtaking vistas courtesy of the hotel’s location, high on cliffs overlooking the North Sea.
Hotel Fairmont St Andrews is a fantastic resort that offers facilities for almost any type of trip.
For my group, it was an adults-only summer break with a focus on fine dining and even finer wines and champagnes, but it can equally serve as a romantic getaway for couples, or a family holiday with the kids.
In fact, if you are looking for a more immediate break, the hotel has a ton of festive events planned, including Santa’s Grotto and Festive Reindeer Hunting, which are both perfect for young children.
On my trip the sun was shining with hardly any clouds in the sky, and so the walk along the cliffs down to the town of St Andrews was a scenic and breezy one.
I imagine even on more wintry days the walk would be still be incredibly beautiful, if a little (OK, perhaps a lot) windy, and so therefore maybe not a trail for the fainthearted.
I spent my day in St Andrews browsing bookshops, shopping for local wares, and even popping into the brilliant independent cinema, the New Picture House, to catch a movie.
The great thing about a home holiday in Scotland is that is easy to get around if you have your own car, and it was only a 20-minute drive to visit Dundee and its newly developed Waterfront.
Old attractions are still on display, such as the historic ship RRS Discovery. And the V&A Dundee is well worth a visit if you have not made a pilgrimage already.
You can venture even further into the Kingdom of Fife, embracing the Scottish countryside by exploring the trails of the Lomond Hills, which offer amazing views of both the Highlands and the coastline.
There are also plenty of grand houses and castles sprinkled across the landscape, with historical sites such as Hopetoun House, Dunfermline Palace and Aberdour Castle open to the public.
Culross is a must-see for any Outlander fans, as many scenes from the television hit were filmed in the picturesque village’s streets and inside its iconic yellow walled palace.
Back at St Andrews, the spooky Secret Bunker built during the Cold War and hidden under an unassuming farmhouse is a fantastic trip for history and curio lovers alike.
The Kingdom of Fife is filled with a staggering amount to see and do, and St Andrews is the perfect retreat right home in Scotland.
For those of us who love a bit of luxury and pampering, Hotel Fairmont St Andrews is a wonderful spot. With plenty on offer during high summer or in the cold winter months, it is perfect for home holidays.
In the summer months, Hotel Fairmont St Andrews offers a Luxury Backpack Picnic that is packed with lots of delicious sweets and treats, including a half bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne.
For room prices and event information, visit fairmont.com/st-andrews-scotland
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