Last Updated on 13 July 2021 by Dan
Hello all! Today I’m covering something a little different in the form of a travel adventure with a review of my visit to the rather wonderful Blervie House in Scotland.
Now for worried regular readers – I can assure we’re still a personal finance site rather than a travel blog, but if the FT can have a “How to Spend It” section then so can we!
The Financial Wilderness was named after all in part because of a love of getting out into the real wilderness, so occasionally I’ll throw in something a little different like this.
About Blervie House
Blervie House is a magnificent Scottish country house set just outside of Forres in Moray, and is a 30-35 minutes drive from Inverness Airport. It’s technically a bed and breakfast rather than a hotel, but my goodness – it’s the grandest B&B you’ll ever stay in!
We’d selected it for our holiday as we were looking for somewhere that was an antidote to London, and we could enjoy the peace and beauty of the magnificent and varied Scottish countryside.
The first thing I’ll say about Blervie House is that you turn in to the magnificent drive (a picture below) you realise it’s going to tick the nature box – it’s a fantastic explosion of floral colours. The estate is on a mighty 272 acres of ground, and home to many wild animals which we loved – as you walk about seeing hares hopping about or spend your time seeing wild deer on the lawn as you’re eating breakfast. It’s rather magnificent and rare as a feature.
Blervie House is run by Graham and Sheena Thompson, and if you’ve looked at reviews of Blervie House you’ll find nearly all comment on their warm welcome. We can only echo this sentiment – we really enjoyed chatting with them both so much and their great personalities are a big part of the “Blervie experience” and what makes a stay so special.
Our room at Blervie House
Blervie House has only 12 bedrooms which means you get a fantastic personal service. There’s a variety of different room types each of which are named after traditional Scottish clans.
We were fortunate enough to stay in one of the luxury rooms (named Lamont) which was the Master bedroom of the property when used as a private resident. We were very happy with it – the room had plenty of character with beautiful antique furniture and huge amount of space. The bathroom was described by Graham as “big enough to have a 30 person party in” and he wasn’t wrong (for the record, we did not try this!).
The star of the room was a Superking bed – between the comfort of that and busy days, we slept like absolute logs.
What is there to do around Blervie House?
For us the purpose of the trip can be described as “walks, wildlife and whiskey” and it didn’t disappoint on any of these aspects! The Cairngorms are not too far away and there’s also some magnificent walks around the local area.
We did such a variety of things and I thought the easiest way to share our experience and run through what we did would be to reference some of the fantastic local businesses and experiences:
Walking around the Cairngorms
We use the Walkhighlands website to find a number of great walks – the site lets you search by area and then provides guidance on walks by distance, difficulty and bogginess! We have particularly happy memories of the walk around Loch An Eilein, as we got engaged whilst there!
Archery at Bowhunter Archery
We had an excellent hour and a half of archery at Bowhunter Archery (£17.50 per person) which is so well set up for families, couples and groups. Their instructors will guide you through how to shoot before you’ll get the chance to try out your newfound hunting skills on dinosaur and fantasy dragon targets. (From a previous visit I can also say it’s excellent for a stag do, where we went for the combat archery option).
Drinking whiskey in Speyside
It’s only a short drive to the Speyside region which is home to some of the finest whiskey producers in the world. We had hoped to visit a variety of producers but alas most were still closed for tours owing to social distancing requirements.
We did the tour and tasting at Glenfiddich which we really enjoyed, and also stopped off at their cafe where we had a superb lunch. They also provide driver’s packs which I very much appreciated so I could do my tasting later on!
Dolphin watching with Dolphin Spirit from Inverness
We booked to head out in the smaller “rib” boat with Dolphin Spirit – any wildlife watching trip can always be subject to the animals not being in the right place but we were fortunate enough to see three dolphins – one just awake for the morning and having a good feed in the bay, and the other a mother training her cub to hunt which was quite special to watch.
Our guide was knowledgeable about the Dolphins and their nature and it was lovely to learn more about how they act in the wild.
The trip was respectful of the Dolphins as wild animals needing space which was important to us, but the dolphins were naturally inquisitive and quite happy to approach us – a very memorable experience.
Dolphin Spirit departs from Inverness harbour – the rib boat we took was £39 per person, and you can do a cruise in a larger boat for £19.50 (we recommend the rib as it provides more flexibility unless you’re simply after to take the trip as a pleasure cruise).
Driving around Loch Ness and the Highlands
One nice thing was that simply travelling around it itself a pleasure in this bit of the world – we definitely overused the word breathtaking. However the roads around there really are quite something – definitely challenging if you’re not used to country roads but fun to drive – lots of ups and downs!
We also went down to Balmoral which is a particular highlight drive.
Facilities at Blervie House
Beyond the room and the grounds there’s plenty of other things to discover around Blervie House.
Extremely important in my opinion is breakfast – cooked to order and with fresh local ingredients in the morning with a range of options including a full Scottish (a particular note to the haggis), porridge, fresh fruit and homemade granola.
One thing we liked about breakfast is that you sit at a long table (distanced from other guests at the moment) – whilst not compulsory, it provided an opportunity to meet and socialise with other guests if you want to. We really enjoyed meeting other people and hearing about their adventures!
There’s a few other rooms which are nice to relax in if you just want some chilling out – we had a couple of nice evenings sneaking in a whiskey overlooking the sunset in the drawing room, or playing a spot of billards in the games room. Each of the rooms is cozy and with only a few rooms you’re unlikely to trip over each other.
Do I need a car at Blervie House?
Yes definitely – it’s out the outskirts of Forres but for getting anywhere you’ll definitely going to need a car. We ended up driving a Mini from Sixt at Inverness Airport and found it a positive experience.
(Note: Sixt were a little bit cheaper to hire from than rivals but you need to take a minibus to the office, which is on an industrial estate next to the airport so the process can be a little slower).
Where can I eat around Blervie House?
We had some great meals when we were up in Scotland – there’s so much fresh fish and local produce up there that it would be a shame not to enjoy it! Some of our favourite places below:
The Kale Yard – Woodfired Pizza and fresh produce set in the middle of a botanic garden – a nice atmosphere on a sunny day and the staff were particularly friendly.
The River House – A delicious fish restaurant in Inverness where a chef-owner. Charming inside and our fish was cooked to perfection.
The Sun Dancer – Overlooking the beach in Nairn but not a restaurant where you’re just paying for the view – the seafood was fresh and there was a great atmosphere – plus very easy to have a walk on the beach afterwards!
The Cross at Kingussie – Set in an inn and situated in a stunning spot by the river the cooking here was exciting and inventive – more of a fine dining experience than the other options here.
Overall Review of Blervie House
Blervie House is somewhere we really hope to be back – we went in wanting a country house experience and it both met and surpassed our expectations in every way. The friendly welcome and personal touches and stunning grounds make Blervie House the place it is.
Stay at Blervie House
In this case we would recommend booking with Blervie House directly, either at the website or by giving them a call as they’ll give you the best rate available.
If staying more than 3 nights, make sure you click the banner to activate a longer stay discount. (And do mention that you saw Blervie House on The Financial Wilderness!)
If you do want to book through an online travel agency, we recommend using Hotels.com because their rewards program is extremely generous relative to peers.
Planning to travel more?
If you’re a frequent traveller we’ve got a couple of great other articles you may be interested in:
We get very geeky into making sure you’re getting the absolute best value with your holiday, and have listed all our tips and tricks.
We’ve also detailed how we get the absolute best possible exchange rates for getting travel money.
And that’s it!
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