Last updated on August 22nd, 2020
The Crieff Hydro in Central Scotland
Crieff Hydro is a popular resort in Perthshire that features premium hotel rooms, health-based activities, relaxation therapies and extensive external grounds. The hotel area has a large cafe and restaurant that’s open to both guests and visitors.
Category: Forest or woodland, Gardens, Historic building, Landscape
Suitable for ages: 5 to 10 years, 11 to 18 years, 18+ years, 65+ years
Ideal for: Couples, Families, Groups, Solo travellers
I rate it: 9 out of 10
About the Crieff Hydro
The Crieff Hydro is a popular resort in the Perthshire countryside that offers a range of health-based activities as well as large grounds for walking and relaxation. The hotel boasts over 200 bedrooms and over 50 self-catering properties, as well as restaurants, cafes and bars.
There are also riding stables, a comprehensive health and fitness club, an adults-only swimming pool and a pool for families, a golf course, a football pitch and various racquet courts. I think you can safely say if you visit the Crieff Hydro you’re not exactly going to be stuck for things to do…
But it’s not just the hotel that draws visitors from far and wide because the Crieff Hydro is situated in enormous private grounds in the Perthshire countryside that offer lots of lovely walks into the nearby hills and woodlands.
And speaking of woodlands, if you visit it you’ll find you’re not far from Perthshire’s Big Tree Country so if you really want to get out and explore nature the Crieff Hydro makes a brilliant base to venture out from.
One woodland walk I can totally recommend that’s nearby is Lady Mary’s Walk that offers a lovely riverside stroll along the River Earn just outside Crieff.
You’ll find it by heading towards the Glenturret Distillery that’s home to the Famous Grouse Experience (home of the popular blended Scotch that’s always advertised on TV at Christmas). Just don’t get too tempted by thoughts of a wee dram or three.
The Crieff Hydro really is a fantastic place to spend a couple of days to recharge your batteries, and it’s close enough to central Scotland that it’s easy to head off into Stirling and Edinburgh if you want to explore further afield.
Discover more places to visit in Scotland with my Scottish Tourist Attractions Map.
Things to do at the Crieff Hydro
Booking a room at the hotel enables you to enjoy all the leisure activities on offer as well as the extensive grounds which surround the hotel that provides glorious views of the beautiful Perthshire countryside.
Walking trails run all the way through the hotel boundaries and there are extensive woodland walks that are great for a couple of hours of fresh air after a day or two of pampering inside the hotel.
If you don’t want to book overnight accommodation you can go along for the day simply to take part in the indoor and outdoor activities on offer, as well enjoying the first-rate food that’s available in the restaurant.
And you won’t have to sit indoors on a sunny day at this hotel either because there are plenty of outside seating areas facing a large manicured lawn which is a really good place to enjoy a quiet meal while the kids are left to do their own thing.
Unlike some overpriced all-in-one country retreats *cough* Centre Parcs *cough* you won’t have to spend a bucket-load of cash to have a good time as the resort has plenty of free activities to keep you occupied.
There’s a cinema, pools, a gym, loads of evening events like ceilidhs and quiz nights and even a giant chessboard on the lawn to have a thought-provoking game outside.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra you can take part in woodland Segway tours, get a bullseye in an archery class, try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, go for a round of golf or even go off-road in a 4×4. They always seem to be updating what’s on offer so make sure you check out their website activities pages for new things to do.
Fitness is a key theme at the Crieff Hydro and the swimming pools in particular are excellent, with the adults-only pool making a refreshing change from having to put up with the usual over-excited kids running around the poolside.
If you’re a mum or dad looking for a day of ‘me time’ the Crieff Hydro should be right at the top of your list of places to escape to.
The history of the Crieff Hydro
Just like New Lanark in Lanarkshire, the Crieff Hydro originated around an idea that was far ahead of its time.
The hotel originally opened in 1868 as the Crieff Hydropathic establishment by Dr Thomas Henry Meikle, a medical graduate from Edinburgh University.
Originally built for £30,000, the building developed through a series of upgrades to the grand category B building that we see today, and its location is one of the finest in Scotland due to Dr Meikle believing that mountain scenery and the great outdoors are integral to a patients wellbeing.
The treatments in the early days were strict and ran alongside a decidedly religious regime so there was no alcohol available and smoking was decidedly frowned upon. There was even a fine levied on those patients who forgot to say grace before eating meals!
Today, the Crieff Hydro is a family resort and is very popular in Scotland as a luxury break away from the noise and stress of modern cities.
- The walks around the grounds are really nice, especially in the forest behind the hotel.
- The leisure centre is top-notch and the swimming pool is superb (extra points got to Crieff hydro for having an adults-only pool).
- The restaurant/cafe is pretty good and there’s outside seating in the summer.
- Rooms can be a bit pricey but if you keep an eye on deals websites like Groupon you’ll often find a really good discount.
- Also, regularly check the Crieff Hydro website (see the banner link in the next section) as they frequently have flash sales for overnight stays.
- You could quite easily spend an entire weekend at the Crieff Hydro without ever leaving the grounds, but if you fancy exploring the great outdoors I recommend taking a drive west into the Trossachs. Check out my Guide to Scotland’s Best Forest Walks for some inspiration. Alternatively, head east on the A85 to visit Scone Palace.
Photos and video
Address and map
Follow the A85 towards Crieff. The Crieff Hydro is clearly signed from the town.
The hotel and restaurant are open every day of the year. Contact Crieff Hydro on – Telephone: 01764 655555 – to book a room.
- Telephone: 01764 655555
- Website: Crieff Hydro
Getting there: Car park on-site
Getting around: Disabled access, Easy-access paths, Pushchair access (in hotel), Uneven paths (in woodland)
On-site conveniences: Gift shop, Hot drinks, Picnic area, Restaurant or cafe, Snacks, Toilets