Dream Escape Magazine | Spring 2021

Page 1


Spring 2021 | Issue 01


Meet the



Interview with Outlander stars, Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish

VANESSA BRANSON'S Private island paradise

Exclusive Travel Experiences to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales

THE SUITE LIFE The London glamour. The ‘wow’ moment. The breathtaking views. The personal butler. The private chauffeur. The feeling of home. Suites at The Dorchester.


#DCmoments TheDorchester TheDorchester TheDorchester


Following the chance to finish their book Clanlands during lockdown Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham Mctavish have already started documenting their wonderful and wild Scottish adventures - and they even have their very own TV series Men in Kilts: A Road trip with Sam and Graham coming to our screens this spring! Page 52.

linkedin.com/company/ dream-escape-int






AM DELIGHTED to welcome you to our first edition of Dream Escape Magazine. The last 12 months have been very challenging for the travel and tourism industry. However, it has given us more time to reflect and invest in innovation and creative thinking - and to make plans ahead for ensuring the ultimate in luxury dream travel, with beautiful destinations and unforgettable one-ofa-kind experiences. Our team is creative, connected and constantly striving to find new and exciting ideas to highlight the very best of the UK and Ireland. Dream Escape travel itineraries go one step further in taking visitors behind the scenes, offering immersive experiences normally off limits to the public, and it has long been an ambition of mine to properly showcase this in an inspiring and engaging manner. I hope you find that the first edition of our new quarterly magazine makes for interesting reading and inspires your upcoming travel plans. Please do share it with your peers, clients, friends and family and please visit our website dreamescapemagazine.com to be sure not to miss another issue. Our summer issue will be out early June, and, until then, wishing you the very best for the season ahead!



Have some feedback you would like to share? We would love to hear from you, please email editor@dreamescapemagazine.com ⬩

David Tobin at the Braemar Gathering


Vanessa Branson's Private island paradise. Listen to this and more from our podcast series: ‘Chatting with Holly’


22 Visit dreamescape.co.uk/ chatting-with-holly-podcast-series




Meet the team...


Owner & Director

Jessica Way jessica.way@contistamedia.co.uk


Melanie Abrams, Emma Johnson, Annabel Mackie, Emma O'Reilly, Lydia Paleschi, Max Wooldridge


Adrian Wilkinson adrian.wilkinson@contistamedia.co.uk


LONDON & ENGLAND Louise Murray louise@dreamescape.co.uk


Who are you following on Instagram ? “I enjoy photography sites @natgeotravel @alex.baxter.studio, vegan lifestyle @bosh.tv @deliciouslyella and my guilty pleasure has to be @samheughan”

Owner & Director

Emer Mortell emer@dreamescape.co.uk


Contista Media Contract publishers for the UK travel and tourism industry contistamedia.co.uk holly@dreamescape.co.uk

Holly started her career at Carlson Marketing in Singapore after completing her Business & Psychology MA in Edinburgh. After a few years in London working at various advertising agencies including TBWA she moved to Edinburgh. Holly is passionate about travel and has a wealth of knowledge having travelled extensively including overlanding from India and Nepal back to England. As well as enjoying as much time as she can with her family, Holly would love to complete more charity challenges and get to some of the far-flung places on the map which have always been on her list to visit.⬩ What are you watching on Netflix at the moment? “I am just about to watch another series of Marcella. The most recent series was filmed at my family home in Ireland and I saw the house during filming looking somewhat different!”⬩

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk dreamescapemagazine.com





Who inspires you? “ I have found inspiration from a variety of people ranging from Ernest Shackleton, David Attenborough & the composer John Williams”

Sue brings over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing & event management in the UK & Ireland travel industry. Sue started her career working for a leading luxury tour operator in London before enjoying 15 years at Tourism Ireland (the National Tourist Board) where she was responsible for various marketing and communications campaigns for the consumer, travel trade, golf & business tourism sectors. Having moved to the British Virgin Islands in 2011 with her family, she is no stranger to high end travel experiences, the great outdoors and an odd hurricane or two!⬩


Dream Escape Leading luxury travel design company and destination specialist dreamescape.co.uk

David founded Dream Escape with Holly in 2005. Based in Edinburgh, the vision was to create once in a lifetime trips and events for a select group of well-travelled and discerning clients. David's previous marketing career included roles at ITV, Saatchi & Saatchi and Carat where he worked across a wide range of clients. Prior to starting Dream Escape he was a Board Director at MediaCom London & Scotland responsible for Audi UK & The Scottish Executive. David is a keen cyclist and across the last few years has cycled around the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland and the North Coast 500 in Scotland raising money for various charities supporting people living with cancer.⬩


Michael Davies michael@dreamescape.co.uk



Head of Marketing



Experience every stay in a different way Experience every stay in a different way Experience every stay in a different way

Individually designed andbedrooms bedrooms Individually designedsuites suites and Individually designed suites and bedrooms



a So much more than Hotel


So much more than a Hotel So much more than a Hotel

16 Royal Crescent, Bath. BA1 2LS Tel: +44 (0)1225 823333 Email: info@royalcrescent.co.uk www.royalcrescent.co.uk #MyRoyalCrescent

16 Royal Crescent, Bath. BA1 2LS

A MI L L I O N MI LE S FRO M E V E RY DAY The rural retreat. A twist on tradition. The clatter of hooves. The English countryside. The miles of possibility. The feeling of home. Coworth Park.

A S C OT + 44 (0)134 4 8 7 6 6 0 0 D O R C HES T ER C O LL E CT I ON .C OM #DCmoments CoworthPark CoworthParkUK CoworthPark



12 - There promises to be a wealth of

cultural experiences to enjoy when we’re able to travel again, seize the moment and start dreaming of the events that await.



22 - Holly chats to Vanessa Branson about her exclusive Scottish island, a private paradise of beautiful beaches, woodlands, and craggy shores.


28 - Discover this beautiful country


house - one of the only exclusive use Historic Houses in the UK - steeped in history with a modern philosophy.



34 - From the finest new penthouse in a stunning Scottish castle, to the largest sea-view hotel suites in Britain, we bring you the latest news from luxury hotels.

52 - From their faithful camper van

to boats, kayaks, motorbikes and even a tandem bicycle, Sam and Graham share stories from their epic Scottish journey.


36 - Home to awe-inspiring

landscapes, high fells, deep glacial lakes and quaint rural villages.


44 - Scottish designer of the Fife

Arms and Dream Escape's own tartan.



60 - Top chef Raymond Blanc enthuses about his beloved garden, how his Le Manoir team has adapted to lockdown and why he loves Britain so much. dreamescapemagazine.com



68 - Discover Dream Escape's once-in-a-lifetime

experience that will take you off the beaten track and to the most beautiful parts of Ireland.


88 - Shrouded in legend and mystery, the Orkneys


and the Outer and Inner Hebrides are remarkable parts of Scotland, with breath-taking landscapes and a rich abundance of history.



94 - Plan a visit to one of Britain’s most-loved

racing festivals, accompanied by an expert guide as part of your Dream Escape.


99 - Find the perfect countryside retreat,

connect with nature in remote, windswept locations, surrounded by forests, nature and parkland.


102 - Head to the heart of Wales to

experience undulating hills, breathtaking scenery and its unique Celtic culture.


108 - With Dream Escape's unrivalled knowledge

99 122

of the UK’s largest National Park an all encompassing supreme journey, to include ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, picturesque rivers and native wildlife, to reaching the summit of Scotland’s highest mountains.


117 - Embark on an extraordinary journey

through British history, from private shooting experiences to personal tours with the owners.


122 - From beautiful fairways and private clubs to exclusive tee times with indulgent dining, luxury accommodation and exceptional private experiences.


130 - A quarterly on-the-ground round up of what’s hot from Dream Escape’s multi-talented Mary Poppins and resident fountain of knowledge.




Reside in comfort in Scotland’s royal seat THE SCONE & CROMBIE SUITE AT THE BALMORAL





VANESSA BRANSON — About Vanessa: Vanessa is an English entrepreneur, sister of Richard Branson and owner of Eilean Shona, the idyllic private island nestled in a tranquil loch on the dramatic west coast of Scotland - the perfect island adventure to get away from it all! What is your favourite time of year on Eilean Shona and why? Time moves to a different rhythm on Eilean Shona during the summer months - stretching into the setting sun reminding us of our childhood summers when the days have no end. However, in the winter, nothing beats a winter hike across the island, a picnic around a campfire before heading homewards to a hot bath, star gazing on the pontoon and dinner surrounded by friends and family. So I'd have to say both!

RAYMOND BLANC — About Raymond: French chef Raymond Blanc is the chef patron at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, a hotel-restaurant, one of Dream Escape's preferred partners in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, England with two Michelin stars. What does your favourite day out in Oxfordshire look like? Of course I would start my day walking through the gardens at Le Manoir – the early light is just beautiful and it’s a time I love as it’s so quiet except the birds are busy! I enjoy walking and Oxfordshire has so many beautiful places to explore - Blenheim Palace, Waddesdon Manor. I love University Park, close to my house – you can amble by the river and watch the water pass by. The walks are lovely and the views are amazing.



Refinding Neverland... Vanessa Branson's private island paradise Eilean Shona, Scotland

We meet the stars of Outlander who tell us more about their road trip with a difference.

SAM HEUGHAN — About Sam: Sam Heughan is an awardwinning actor and philanthropist best known for his starring role as Jamie Fraser in the hit TV show Outlander. With his growing fame, Sam has also lent his voice and platform to raise funds and awareness for many notable charities, raising over $5 million for blood cancer research, hospice care and testicular cancer awareness in recent years. What is it you love the most about Scotland? For me it’s the Inner and Outer Hebrides. It still fills me with wonder and excitement to stand on the deck of the ship and see the ocean, wildlife and distant isles appear out of the mist.

GRAHAM MCTAVISH — About Graham: Graham McTavish's acting career spans 35 years in theatre, film and television. He is best known for his roles as Dougal MacKenzie in Outlander, the fierce dwarf Dwalin in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, and AMC's cult show The Preacher as the Saint of Killers. Graham is delighted that the dream of his 12-year-old self to one day be a published author and TV star has finally come true! What is your personal favourite Scottish place and why? Edinburgh, and the fishing communities in Fife like Crail and Pittenweem; so vibrant and home to the best seafood in the world. I also love the wildness of the far north above Ullapool heading for Cape Wrath. Remote and full of real Highland culture. ⬩

⬩ dreamescapemagazine.com


+44 (0) 1764 662231







Royal Albert Hall’s 150TH BIRTHDAY —

The Royal Albert Hall celebrates its 150th birthday on 29 March. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, this Kensington landmark has hosted gigs, operas, ballets and more as well as the annual summer music festival, known as the BBC Proms. This month, The Who plays with a full orchestra.⬩ dreamescapemagazine.com




V&A LONDON | 27 MARCH — The iconic novels of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll are brought to life at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from 27 March 2021 to 31 December 2021. With over 300 objects, the high concept exhibition, Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, takes visitors through a rabbit hole from the 1865 manuscript to the novels’ various adaptations into film, ballet, art, fashion and more. Disney’s cartoon is an example. Highlights include early illustrations, showing how the White Rabbit and other characters were developed and a virtual reality game of croquet against the Queen of Hearts. ⬩



— For a dazzling experience after months of lockdown, head to Tate Modern. The Bankside gallery has cleared two rooms for polka dot queen, Yayoi Kusama’s immersive installations to 27 March 2022. Her signature dots go psychedelic and flash in Filled with the Brilliance of Life, whilst rotating chandeliers shimmer seemingly into infinity in Chandelier of Grief. Kusama’s infinity rooms have become a global phenomenon, which films and photos document. (Visitors camped outside Mexico City’s Museo Tamayo to see her exhibition there). Born in rural Japan in 1929, Kusama has been an art world star since the 1960s. Prepare to be revitalised.⬩








Pantechnicon Spring sees Japanese restaurant, Sachi, opening in Pantechnicon, a Japanese-Nordic food, drink and design emporium in Belgravia. It complements the eclectic shops, selling books to bikes, exclusive products and made-to-order furniture – and the Nordic restaurant, Eldr, with roof terrace.




— Ever since Bianca Jagger rode a white horse inside New York nightclub, Studio 54, in 1977, clubs have captured the cultural zeitgeist. They have also shaped people’s identity, says Kirsty Hassard, curator of Night Fever: Designing Club Culture at the V&A Dundee, which explores clubbing experience from Berlin to Glasgow since the Sixties to 5 September 2021. Among photographs, films, clothes and more that evoke the vibe, like a disco gold lamé Halston dress worn at Studio 54, there are also objects from the places - the Hacienda’s mirror ball, say, or the papier-mâché submarine from above the bar at Glasgow’s Sub Club.⬩


BURGHLEY HOUSE SPRING 2021 — When Burghley House in Lincolnshire re-opens this spring, the 16th century stately home will be celebrating a milestone: 500 years since the birth of its designer, William Cecil, the first Baron Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer and chief adviser. It’s still the family home. Let Dream Escape arrange a tour as part of your travel programme.⬩ dreamescapemagazine.com






10 APRIL — As Aintree’s Randox Health Grand National makes its live return, don an elegant dress or smart blazer to make a style statement. The Garden Club is the new place to watch this tough race with its 16 fences (14 of which are jumped twice) along four miles and two and a half furlongs. Its first floor bar balcony overlooks the parade ring. With a choice of 16 enclosures, our favourite seat is in the Princess Royal gallery to see the home straight, Winners’ Enclosure – and mingle in the Champagne lounge afterwards. Potential runners include the race’s double winner, Tiger Roll.⬩


— The Boat Race is moving this year – from the River Thames to the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire, thanks to safety and navigation issues around fractured Hammersmith Bridge as well as Covid-19 restrictions. The new route offers new finds. From the start in Ely, make a pilgrimage to the city’s 12th century Cathedral and stained glass museum or brush up on history at Oliver Cromwell’s home. Whilst Littleport, at the finishing line, has a history going back to the 11th century. With Cambridge University leading Oxford University by 84 wins to 80, the race will still be fiercely fought.⬩


28 APRIL – 3 MAY


— If you’re a fan of Glenfiddich, Macallan or other whiskies, sample the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Over six days across Speyside in the Scottish Highlands, the biggest whisky producing region in Scotland, many whisky related events with over 50 distilleries can be savoured. There will be masterclasses, tasting sessions, distillery tours as well as more high-spirited (pun intended) whisky afternoon teas, dinners and the odd pub crawl. Discover the region in new ways, travelling by vintage steam engine, sailing between distilleries by canoe, or an Argocat multi-terrain military vehicle to off-thebeaten-track venues like farmsteads. Golf and other local entertainment can complement the whisky.⬩







Cúirt Festival of Literature


Authors' Homes Exploring an author’s home gives a closer connection to the person and their work. We hope you enjoy our selection, all of which are available as part of your Dream Escape programme: 1



Laugharne, Wales Dylan Thomas’ Do not go gentle into that night and other poems were written in his shed, near his cliff home from 1949 to 1953. With the (reconstructed) shed’s filled ashtrays, crumpled paper and more, we expect his return.⬩ 2

GALWAY ARTS CENTRE, IRELAND | 21-25 APRIL — Ireland has bred a host of celebrated writers from Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce to Martin McDonagh, 2018 Golden Globe winner for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Little wonder that Cúirt International Festival of Literature draws a crowd across Galway City from the Town Hall Theatre to elsewhere. Writers give readings and lead discussions. Take award-winning poet, Seán Hewitt, who will talk on why archive material is so important to minority communities with other LGBTQ+ poets. Whilst fiction writers and poets vie for the annual Cúirt New Writing Prize. Some events will be virtual this year too.⬩


Haworth, West Yorkshire The Yorkshire moors surrounding Bronte Parsonage, home to sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, formed visceral backdrops to their books – Wuthering Heights, say – which were written in the cosy dining room.⬩ 3


Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire Walking into Shakespeare’s timber-framed childhood home is like stepping onto one of his stages. Each room comes alive with replica props. Discover details that appear as references in his plays like the gloves in his father’s shop.⬩ 4


Alloway, Ayrshire The simple thatched cottage where Robert Burns was born (1759) reflects his love of nature in his poetry, whilst stories told around the fireplace evolved in his own works like Tam O’Shanter’s ghostly tale.⬩ 5


Chawton, Hampshire Jane Austen’s home tells the story of her family and Georgian era as well as how she lived whilst writing her famous novels. Top spot: her writing desk in the dining parlour.⬩



11-17 APRIL

St Andrews Golf Week Swing by St Andrew’s, home of golf, to perfect your putt with professional help. See page 127.




APRIL — Easter marks the re-opening of Wilton House, the Palladian Wiltshire home of the Earls of Pembroke rebuilt by celebrated architect, Inigo Jones and John Webb in 1647. The ornate rooms may seem familiar, often acting as television and film backdrops. Most recently on Netflix, Wilton House was used to create four different residences in the period drama series Bridgerton and the Double Cube Room with its Old Master paintings and Chippendale mirrors are the Buckingham Palace interiors for Netflix’s The Crown. Other must visits include the Gothic Cloisters where Napoleon I’s dispatch box, a lock of Queen Elizabeth I’s hair and more are displayed. Roam around the 21 acre parkland for the Holbein Porch, the house’s original Tudor entrance. Whilst a new Rizzoli book on the house by John Martin Robinson is a glossy souvenir. ⬩ IMAGE: WILTON HOUSE © WWW.VISITWILTSHIRE.CO.UK




ROYAL ACADEMY | 27 MAR—22 AUG — After two blockbuster shows at the Royal Academy of Arts (a 50 year retrospective in 2012 and portraits in 2016), David Hockney returns with vibrant new work. This time, he reveals his sprawling garden in Normandy through over 100 iPad drawings created between 11 February and 4 July last year, using his Brushes app, upgraded to his own specifications. Depicting trees, flower beds, his home and more, the curator, Edith Devaney likens these images to Monet’s paintings of his Giverny garden. “Because he [Hockney] is [also] fascinated by changes in light, changes in weather and scrutinises the landscape,” she says.⬩ IMAGE: DAVID HOCKNEY, NO. 339, 18TH MAY 2020 IPAD DRAWING © DAVID HOCKNEY





The Book of Hopes Dip into this charming compilation of short stories, poems and drawings by 130 children’s authors and illustrators. Created to make people laugh, wonder, snort or smile, according to editor, Katherine Rundell, buying this book also raises money for the NHS Charities Together.





— For a lively food experience in an August setting, head to Woodstock in Oxfordshire for the Blenheim Palace Food Festival from 29 to 31 May. Whet your culinary skills and tastebuds by watching the demonstrations or listening to talks from top chefs like Jean-Christophe Novelli, a previous participant. Over 100 regional food and drink specialists will attempt to tickle your palate, showcasing their gourmet produce, from burgers to craft beers. You might even bump into your favourite Bake Off contestant. Located by the Pleasure Gardens, take a miniature train to visit the palace too with its paintings, porcelain, tapestries and more.⬩


EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND 20 MAY - 29 AUGUST — After working from home in sweatpants, don a tux or gown for this year’s Glyndebourne Festival, near Lewes in Sussex. Pack a picnic or sip Champagne in the Long Bar. Fan favourites like Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte return, whilst exciting new productions include the first festival performance of Verdi’s Luisa Miller.⬩






— Expect to see (and hear) vibrant rally cars hurtling along the roads from Killarney and back across County Kerry for the May Cartell. ie Rally of the Lakes. Cars can range from Minis and Ford Fiestas to a BMW E30, whilst the 2019 event ambassador and participant, X-Men’s Michael Fassbender drove a Mark 2 Escort. Moll’s Gap at the start is still a top vantage point with its festive atmosphere – although the live music may not happen this year, due to Covid-19 restrictions. Whereas the Healy Pass has a spectacular Bantry Bay view.⬩

GORDON CASTLE, SCOTLAND 16 MAY — The bagpipes are out. The kilts are on. The swords are crossed. Get ready to watch the highland dancing at this year’s first Highland Games at Gordon Castle. Mixing Gaelic folk steps with ballet, this is a dance of triumph. Nestling in the quaint Moray village of Fochabers in North East Scotland, it’s a rare chance to see the 18th century estate as only the walled gardens are open daily. Other games will include pipe bands, a tug o’ war and a heavy weight throw, where the longest throw of a metal weight wins. Or learn how to twirl plates and more at the circus workshop.⬩




18 MAY – 13 JUNE



— The swankiest place to be in May and June is the Guards Polo club in Surrey for the Cartier Queen’s Cup. Royalty, Hollywood A-listers, fashionistas and captains of industry mill around sipping champagne and watch the who’s who of international polo showcasing their skills (and rippling muscles). Head to Mosimann’s Clubhouse for a hearty lunch with dishes of truffle wild mushroom stuffed guinea fowl, say, washed down with exclusive wines – like its Chablis. A Royal Box ticket means following a strict dress code including collared shirts, ties and lounge suits for men and dresses, skirts or tailored trousers for women.⬩



Royal Windsor Horse Show LOOKING AHEAD

Flower Shows What better way to mark spring than visiting a vibrant flower show. For new finds, experiences and advice, here are some of our top Dream Escape choices: 1


Chelsea | 21-26 September This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show extends its opening days (to six) and its activities. Discover the new Sanctuary Gardens or pay tribute to the NHS in a specially designed garden by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen.⬩ 2

12 -16 MAY — Pageantry is synonymous with Britain. Take the crowd-pleasing Changing of the Guards or the Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade along Whitehall. Little wonder there’s feverish anticipation for the evening Pageant at the Royal Windsor Horse Show this May where the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry gallop





Scone Palace | 29-31 May Scone Palace in Perth is the illustrious backdrop for the first Scottish Garden Show in May. Plants to gardening tools will be on sale whilst practical workshops will give top tips.⬩ 3 Salford | Opening 11 May Head to Salford from 11 May to see RHS Garden Bridgewater, the Royal Horticultural Society’s first created public garden. Designed by landscape architect, Tom Stuart-Smith, the 154 acres include a Chinese-inspired garden.⬩ 4


Harrogate | 22-25 April Harrogate Flower Show is focusing on highlights this April. Alongside the large show gardens, see how to maximise small outdoor spaces. Shops sell homeware, specialist food as well as items for the garden.⬩ 5



to music around the castle grounds arena in precise moves. Then there’s the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, charging around the same space pulling traditional wheeled guns. For more informal royal spectacles, watch for the carriage driving competition through Windsor Castle’s parkland – as members of the royal family have competed in previous years ⬩


Hampton Court | 6–11 JULY With its own perfectly manicured gardens – and maze – little wonder the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival is summer’s horticultural mecca. This year’s new gardens involve Scandinavian design and sustainability.⬩

The dates and details of these events have been compiled to be as accurate as possible at the time of publishing. They may however be subject to change, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore visitors are encouraged to please check individual attraction websites for the most up-to-date information - or please ask your Dream Escape expert.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Contact the planning team on enquiries@dreamescape.co.uk. ⬩





Refinding Neverland From the Dream Escape Podcast Series:

Holly chats to Vanessa Branson about all the wonderful experiences to be had on her exclusive Scottish island, Eilean Shona - a private paradise of beautiful beaches, woodlands, and craggy shores


ANESSA BRANSON IS A TALENTED art curator and entrepreneur, with a flair for beautiful properties and an ability to turn them into unique retreats. As part of the Dream Escape Podcast Series Holly had the pleasure of speaking to Vanessa about one of her idyllic adventures; Eilean Shona, a private Scottish island paradise, where days are filled with wild swimming, reading, hiking, picnicking, kayaking and nature watching as well as cooking and drinking with friends around the campfire. This very special and secluded island, described by English actress Kate Winslet as “Heaven on Earth”, can be found nestled in a tranquil loch on the dramatic west coast of Scotland - an exclusive Scottish haven described as a back-to-nature Neverland. “There certainly is a feeling of true fantasy here”, explains Vanessa, sister to Sir Richard, who together, with their families, share a soft spot for this idyllic playground. Originally the site of an 18th-century hunting lodge, the island has an illustrious history - the author J.M. Barrie spent summers here in the 1920s and it is where he wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Peter Pan. → dreamescapemagazine.com


Owning an island in Scotland was not initially on Vanessa’s wish list. Pregnant with her fourth child, it was her former husband’s idea of taking a boat over there (just to take a look) while on the way to visiting friends on Mull. “He was really the driver behind it. The romance, ruggedness and manliness of owning an island appealed to him”. However, the moment Vanessa saw Eilean Shona for the first time she was deeply smitten by it. “It was the most extraordinary still day - one of those magic West Coast days, really clear and silent. I saw it from across the water and the only noise was an

not just a little sort “ofIt’s rocky outcrop... It’s got

mountains. It’s got a beautiful sandy beach. It’s got woodlands, it’s got craggy shores.

oystercatcher peeping across the water. Then when we landed on the island and the kids just ran around, and oh, it’s just wonderful to watch”. They bought the island in 1995, the day before her youngest son Ivo was born - Vanessa’s heart was completely won over. LUXURIOUS SIMPLICITY With a choice of eight self-catering holiday cottages and a 12 bedroom country home, Vanessa shares Eilean Shona as a private island getaway for holiday guests. “It’s a retreat for individuals, couples and families who want to detach and detox from the modern world, a car-free wilderness heaven.” explains Vanessa. Through Dream Escape, you can either rent the whole island, just the main house (charming - sleeps 20), or one of the five individual cottages. Dorlin Pier is just over an hour’s drive from Fort William. From there it’s a 15 minute boat journey across crystal clear waters to arrive at the island's pontoon), and this is really where the Eilean Shona adventure begins. Once on the island it is surprisingly easy to fill your time, either taking part in workshops and island activities, or finding your own adventures. “The island itself is actually quite big, it’s not just a little sort of rocky outcrop” Vanessa describes. “It’s about three miles long by about a mile wide. It’s got mountains. It’s got a beautiful sandy beach. It’s got woodlands, it’s got craggy shores. It’s quite well protected on one side and it’s got the Atlantic on the other, so every cove you go into has a different sort

Pictured left: The view from, Shoe Bay, Eilean Shona’s own secluded beach, with its silver sand lapped by an aquamarine sea - South Shore is the islands closest cottage to it.



Pictured above then clockwise: Views from Shoe Bay; Vanessa’s favourite tree; The Bothy, conveniently situated just a few hundred yards from the island pontoon; Kitchen interiors of The Old Schoolhouse; and the whitewashed crofters’ White Cottage.

of little microclimate and also its own flora and fauna. We’ve also got what we call the village hall where we have parties”. This is Eilean Shona’s social hub - complete with Wi-Fi, table tennis, wildlife reference books and board games. “Something I have grown to appreciate more and more is the weather and just being outdoors. The tides and the wind direction sort of dictates your day. You connect with it. And there’s something immensely rewarding in that, when you’re just sitting outside, painting, cooking a bowl of mussels over a campfire, or just hanging out with with your friends and family - that’s just something I wouldn’t do quite in the same way anywhere else in the world! →



THE IMMERSIVE LANDSCAPE The island has a limitless number of beautiful and varied walks with both marked and unmarked paths. Other than going off island, and the odd encounter on a walk, you will have the sense of being on your own private island, meeting very few others during your stay. Rambles are a must on Eilean Shona, an island abundant with unique wildlife including red deer, red squirrels, otters, seals, white-tailed eagles, golden eagles, buzzards, curlew, oystercatcher, red breasted mergansers, herring gulls and tawny owls. Bird lovers should keep a look out for the many robins, song thrush, great spotted woodpeckers, blue tits, willow warblers and more. Butterfly species thrive on the island too, from peacocks, speckled wood and painted ladies to red admirals. Swimming in Eilean Shona’s pristine waters is one of the glories of the world. At first paddle, the water feels very cold indeed but Vanessa recommends you persevere.



Pictured above then clockwise on right-page: Seals basking on the shores; Fishing in Loch Moidart; Fresh mussels and clams; View from South Shore Cottage; The Boat House; Tioram Cottage

“The quality of the water is pristine. It’s just incredible. And we have very good quality swimming hats to keep our heads warm and then swim. And that’s a real pleasure. Wear a swimming cap – if your head is warm you have nothing to fear!” Another of the most satisfactory things to do is to kayak around the island. “It takes about six hours and there are three of the most beautiful deserted beaches on the way round - and it’s just breathtaking. The bird life is extraordinary, but also in our north channel, we often have pods of dolphins that come in, a lot of seals bobbing up, minke whales and basking sharks. We have nesting sea eagles that come over, just the most joyful creatures. You’re kayaking along, you pull up on the beach and have a drink and a sandwich, and then go on around some more - and it’s an indescribably beautiful day - one with a huge sense of achievement too. It’s just wonderful”.

In our north channel we often “have pods of dolphins that come in, a lot of seals bobbing up, minke whales and basking sharks.

The locally sourced island cuisine sounds every bit as spectacular as the days themselves. “The mussels just hang off the end of our pontoon, the fisherman bring in the langoustine, and we have our own venison. I spend quite a lot of time just on walks collecting chanterelle and coastal plants. In the main house we have a number of really excellent cooks. We have our own polytunnels, and from the village (on the mainland) we source local organic vegetables - there are also several places that smoke meats and fish locally, and some very good local whisky. Island cuisine feels very wholesome on Eilean Shona”. Dream Escape's, David Tobin couldn't agree more following a recent visit to the island. “After the most beautiful drive through the wilderness you arrive at a very quiet dock on the west coast of Scotland. It’s then just a short 10-minute crossing to Eilean Shona, which doesn’t sound long, but you then enter a magical private world away from the stress and complications of everyday life. It really is a haven for rest, reflection and mental rehabilitation. It is also a way to quickly reconnect with the great outdoors, wildlife and freshly produced local food”.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Listen to this and more from our podcast series: ‘Chatting with Holly’ Holly and the team pride themselves on the personal relationships and connections that they have with a variety of exceptional private properties and experiences in the UK & Ireland. These podcasts will give you an inside glimpse to some of these wonderful connections, many of whom are personal friends, as they talk candidly to Holly about their special properties and experiences. For more information about this exceptional island experience, get in touch with David and the planning team on enquiries@dreamescape.co.uk ⬩



Yorkshire Dales:

Broughton  Hall For an exclusive use historic house, where tradition meets innovation, head to Broughton Hall. Recently refurbished with 900 years of history and a state-of-the-art wellbeing centre, this exquisite country house offers a truly authentic and unique stay


FIRM FAVOURITE OF the Dream Escape team, Broughton Hall is not only a preferred partner, but also the chosen location for Dream Escape’s recent annual festive retreat and team building get together, as well as being the subject to another of Holly’s brilliant podcasts (please click here to listen). Broughton Hall is one of Britain’s most spectacular estates. Located in the heart of the rolling countryside amidst acres of woodland and verdant landscape in northern England’s Yorkshire Dales. As part of your Dream Escape stay at Broughton Hall, re-energising in the



Avalon Wellness Centre is an absolute must - a place to heal the mind and to feel replenished by the natural world with wellbeing workshops from medical herbalism, yoga, sound meditation, ecstatic dance to forest bathing. Experience an evening of folklore and storytelling around an atmospheric and enchanting fire pit, or set off on an unforgettable foraging expedition around the estate. Why not invigorate yourself with a wild swim in a stunning private reservoir beside an idyllic Hermit’s Hut before taking a Landrover Experience challenge, learning off roading techniques against a backdrop of moors and rocky climbs? →



The Broughton Hall Estate is steeped in history, having been the home of the Tempest family since 1097 its rich history stretches back over the Millennium. William the Conqueror granted lands at Broughton Hall post-1066, and quite unusually, it has remained in the same family ownership since. Its 21st century reawakening, however, at the electrifying direction of rural and heritage entrepreneur Roger Tempest, 33rd generation, is thrillingly pioneering. Few historic houses can boast flourishing wellbeing projects in its old stone stables and outbuildings, or an intriguing 18th century barn transformed into an exquisite first-rate holiday home fittingly christened Eden. Fewer still can claim the aesthetic touch of Dan Pearson, landscape architect,



or a swish wellbeing sanctuary with linear 20 metre pool and studios within its modern, geometric walls. More recently, Roger, has even opened up his glorious family home, at the core of the Estate - and made it available as exclusive use accommodation for Dream Escape guests. The residence is celestial, rich, breathtaking. The house, an Elizabethan construction enveloped in Georgian 19th century elaborations of pale golden stone, is not a museum in the paralysing clutches of preservation, or country manor hotel with false character, the vestiges of its family input rubbed out, but the cumulative efforts of one of the nation’s oldest dynasties. They are its lifeblood – and it shows. ‘This is a property which has sort of taken on a new layer of ‘Claridge’s, Daylesford and Soho House’ as its

Pictured left-right: Broughton Hall; A group go forest bathing; sound healing workshop at the Avalon Wellbeing Centre; Avalon's co-founder Paris Ackrill

In the 21st century, the “English country estate has been

reinvented to become a force for good creatively, socially and economically. All of it can be shared; Broughton is a prime example of that privilege.

inspirations’ says Roger. Offering guests exclusive use stays gives them an opportunity to share in Britain’s history, appreciating the extraordinarily British cultural creations with their works of art from the grand tour’, he says. ‘In the 21st century, the English country estate has been reinvented to become a force for good creatively, socially and economically. All of it can be shared; Broughton is a prime example of that privilege’. Anybody calling in on the Estate three decades ago would have found a very different place. Most of the outbuildings were redundant, the gardens untended, and the house was in a state of putrefying frailty. It was freezing cold, and the plasterwork was peeling. Hot water was a rarity. Any reader of Country Life will recognise that the cartoon strip, Tottering by Gently, now in its 25th anniversary year, is all based at Broughton (Annie Tempest, its creator, is Roger’s older sister). In the 20th century, when the Hall was still in need of restoration, snow would appear on the billiard table: ‘Annie would draw Lord and Lady Tottering layering another dog on the bed for warmth!’ he recalls. ‘At Broughton you can live the life of a new story in an original way – feel it, touch it, sleep in it’, Roger says, explaining ‘that’s because the restoration

process has been impressively extensive. There has been tremendous human endeavour here, so much craftsmanship by so many specialists from carpet makers and gilders, to our award-winning pavilion designed by Sir Michael Hopkins in the contemporary walled garden.’ The holistic experience continues outside the exclusive use house, to the expertly nurtured, utterly beautiful grounds, with tennis courts, to mountain biking, woodland dining, fire-pit parties and more. Your Downton Abbey-style Dream Escape 'exclusively-yours' stay could include trips to see local attractions, from Brontë-land, Salts Mill and its David Hockney collection, to Betty’s tearoom in Harrogate, to the untamed stretches of the National Park. Roger has done something similar before, at the palatial Aldourie Castle on the east bank of Loch Ness, where he first met Holly and David from Dream Escape - the castle was reinvented as high-class →



has it that royalty “hasRumour already spent a few nights here, probably enchanted by the aeons of history brought up to date by the luxuries of modern life.



accommodation and wedding venue in the 2000s, another superlatively triumphant venture which is now in the safe hands of Danish entrepreneur Anders Poulsen. The difference here – and this is what marks Broughton out as a unique encounter – is that staying in the private family house is usually off-limits. It is rare you can immerse yourself in the sheer magnitude of an old British country estate’s history with the blessing of its owners allowing guests free run, including the gothic-style Catholic chapel. And that sense of continuity, of the absolute reach of

Pictured left-right: Broughton Hall sitting room; guest bathroom; forest and landscape. Pictured below: Broughton Hall Guest bedroom

endurance, pervades the Archive Room where the crinkled parchment of a 14th century mortgage is on display. The upshot here is something unique, a dazzling one-off tale of revival which completely defies the usual country house trends – and now you can take part in it, become wholly, wondrously absorbed in its vitality. ‘Love as you find’ is the ancient family motto: it would be impossible not to. Listen here

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Louise Murray, Head of Planning London & England “Broughton Hall is a Dream Escape favourite for good reason! Roger and his team looked after us so impeccably and the experiences we had will certainly be shared. It was like stepping back in time with an inspirational modern twist. The copper bath in my bedroom was simply the best!” ⬩ louise@dreamescape.co.uk





SCOTLAND GLENAPP CASTLE — For breathtaking beauty and indigenous wildlife, it doesn’t get much more spectacular than a 4-night Hebridean Sea Safari break in this incredible 5-star Relais & Chateaux hotel tucked away on the beautiful Ayrshire coast. There’s so much to play the bagpipes to, from the launch of the new spacious Glenapp Castle Boat to the much-anticipated new penthouse apartment. Take to the Irish Sea to spot thirtyfoot-long basking sharks, dolphins, minke whales and seals, explore the famous Ailsa Craig Island, the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre before staying overnight in Jura. Enjoy fine dining then retreat to the Endeavour, arguably one of the most beautiful penthouses in Scotland – covering the entire top floor, 4,000 square feet, with sauna, library, games room, private lift, personal treatment room for massages, full butler service and a private chef - not to mention access to the very roof and ramparts of the castle!⬩ 34


IRELAND CLIFF BEACH HOUSE — Be one of the first guests to stay in this ultra-stylish sublime architecturaldesigned exclusive residence overlooking Ardmore Bay, one of Ireland’s prettiest fishing villages. The interior is serene, calming and luxurious, a natural flow of energy and light flooding in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, oceangreen resin floors, spring peppermints, white walls, dark woods and slates. Luxury touches include buttoned velvet headboards, private patio with hot tub, and Chefs who come to the house to shuck oysters straight from the sea for an al fresco dining experience. Whether you’d like to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding in the Atlantic Ocean, explore the Great Outdoors on foot, or immerse yourself in holistic wellness treatments, it’s all available on your doorstep. Sleeps 12.⬩



The Mayfair Townhouse Bridging the gap between West End’s ritzy and corporate hotels, the Townhouse redefines what it means to be a London hotel. Curious, engaging, witty - and dandy. Think: Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

ENGLAND THE NARE — Loved for its quintessential charm and traditional hospitality, The Nare - a privately owned 5-star hotel in Cornwall, set in its own bay above a beautiful long sandy beach on the Roseland Peninsula - has launched four new master suites, expected to be the largest sea-view hotel suites in Britain. The luxuriously spacious Whittington Suites are decorated in The Nare’s elegant country house style, each with a private balcony or terrace offering panoramic sea views over Carne Beach and Gerrans Bay, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.⬩

THE BIRCH — Unleash your creativity, feel at peace and be prepared to be impressed - this 140-bedroom converted Georgian Mansion, set in Theobalds 55-acre Estate, Hertfordshire, once home to the eccentric Victorian socialite Lady Meux, who, it is claimed, used to ride through Mayfair in a zebra-drawn carriage, takes on an innovative approach. It’s a members club, but one where everyone’s welcome, from ceramics workshops in the pottery studio, sourdough-making, beekeeping and wild yoga on the lawn by day, to cocktails, firepits and DJs by night. Plus, with a 25-metre outdoor pool, surrounded by nature, with poolside BBQ and Lido bar launching soon - watch this space! ⬩



Pictured: Wooden jetty by the lake at Another Place, Penrith.


The Lake District

Home to awe-inspiring landscapes, high fells, deep glacial lakes and quaint rural villages. This rugged, yet beautiful National Park is one of Britain’s most scenic spots in any season



HE LAKE DISTRICT has no shortage of serene countryside and is home to both England’s highest mountain and its largest lake. In 2017 it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, the first of the UK’s national parks to be given this. Considered by many to be amongst the most picturesque areas in all of England - the stunning natural charm of the Lake District has attracted artists and writers for centuries. One of the most famous, renowned English poet William Wordsworth commented of the Lake District that there is “nowhere in so narrow a compass with such a variety of the sublime and beautiful”. Throughout the ages, poets and authors have flooded to these wonderful landscapes for tranquillity and inspiration. Luminaries such as John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome took up productive residence and many of the scenes they depicted remain accessible today. It is the area’s combination of breathtaking natural landscape alongside its cultural links to art and literature that makes it so unique, and indeed, so worthy of preservation. Dream Escape can take you on a bespoke journey, or themed itinerary, to explore the best-loved → dreamescapemagazine.com


places associated with these writers combined with outstanding experiences and luxury accommodation. Strictly, there is only one ‘lake’ (Bassenthwaite) in the Lake District – all the other major bodies of water are ‘Meres’ or ‘Waters’ – but the lure of this uniquely beautiful region of Cumbria has proved irresistible to centuries of visitors in search of a cleaner, quieter place in which to escape the pressures of life. Explore the granite uplands of the Cumbrian Mountains, the highest peak of which, Scafell Pike, stands as the 3209ft highest point in England. William Wordsworth fell for the area as early as 1799, acquiring Dove Cottage, near Grasmere, where he lived with his sister Dorothy, an English author, poet, and diarist in her own right, before moving to Rydal Mount, overlooking Windermere, making it his family home for 37 years until his death in 1850. Each wonderful property is now a museum, beautifully curated and cared for, packed full of

all at once I saw a crowd, “A When host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze... (William Wordsworth)

interesting memorabilia. Dream Escape can arrange for you to enjoy a behind the scenes tour of Dove Cottage where you will see some very rare books and manuscripts associated with the Lake Poets, take you to visit William and Dorothy’s graves at St Oswald's Church in the village of Grasmere, or an exclusive guided tour of the impressive Rydal Mount, where you can relax in the poet’s library with some famous Grasmere gingerbread, soaking up the ambience as the words of the poet are read. You might also enjoy a trip to the Museum of the Old Grammar School (Hawkshead) where you can see William Wordsworth’s own carvings and imagine you are in a working schoolroom of over 200 years ago. William Wordsworth’s childhood home in Cockermouth is now a National Trust property, Wordsworth House and Gardens. This lovely Georgian townhouse is presented just as it would have been when he lived here with his parents, siblings and the family servants, again offering an unforgettable chance to experience how his life would have been, living in the 1770s. Having lived in Lakeland for over 60 years, Wordsworth found a special place in the Lake District - it is here on the banks of Ullswater in 1802 that he was moved to write his most famous work. In 1810, Wordsworth published his ‘Guide to the Lakes’ and started a trend among his creative contemporaries, including Keats, Tennyson, Coleridge and Shelley, for seeking inspiration from the clean air and clear light. Of a later generation, but hugely influential in the art world of late-Victorian times, the radical thinker, writer and social reformer, John Ruskin, lived at Brantwood, on the eastern bank of Coniston (from 1872-1900) developing ideas and disseminating his opinions to the most impressionable minds of his age.

Pictured left-right: Rydal Mount,Wordsworth's home; Brantwood John Ruskin's home; Hill Top cottage, the home of Beatrix Potter. Courtesy of Cumbria Tourism and Visit Britain



avid Beatrix Potter fans, “anFor exclusive tailored tour of all things Beatrix in the Lake District can be arranged, including private visits, farm visits to sheep herding

The house and magnificent gardens are meticulously presented displaying family treasures, fine art and beautiful furniture. The lakeside setting is perfect for the many exhibitions and cultural events too, including open-air Shakespeare, which is staged, using the very studios and spaces graced by Ruskin and his friends. Beloved of generations of children, the tales of Peter Rabbit and his ‘chums’ were born out of Beatrix Potter’s imagination, coloured by her experiences in, and around, the Lakes. Take a visit to Ambleside to stop by the Beatrix Potter Gallery before visiting the pretty village of Near Sawrey to enjoy Castle Cottage, where Beatrix wrote The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan. Today this is the home of Blue Badge Guide Mandy Marshall - an acknowledged expert on Beatrix Potter and her life in the Lake District. Enjoy an Afternoon Tea in Mandy’s garden while admiring the views of Hilltop Farm, and in true Beatrix style, Mandy’s herd of Herdwick sheep. Hill Top Farm, the 17th-century farmhouse Beatrix Potter bought once she married, and where Beatrix Potter penned many of her famous stories about Peter Rabbit, and her children rhymes and poems can be visited on the western side of Windermere. Beatrix acquired much property in the area and, determined not to see her beloved landscape developed, or in any way spoiled, left it all, in her will, in the care of the National Trust.

By very special arrangement, Dream Escape can arrange private access to both Castle Cottage and Hill Top Farm, and for avid Beatrix Potter fans, an exclusive tailored tour of all things Beatrix in the Lake District can be arranged from farm visits to sheep herding. Windermere and Bowness Right at the heart of the Lake District, the towns of Windermere and Bowness boast picturesque scenery wherever you turn. Take a private charter across the glistening waters to the neo-gothic Wray Castle; far from your typical castle, displaying family heirlooms and portraits. →



For a different class of architecture, head to Blackwell House, a brilliant example of the Arts & Crafts movement from the early 20th century, which retains many of its original features and holds fantastic permanent and visiting exhibitions. Windermere is well-served by the historic steamers MV Teal and Swan cruising delightfully between Ambleside, Lakeside and Bowness. After a massive restoration of the ‘Windermere Jetty’, the Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, launched a few years ago, providing a further stop on the circuit. The museum is a world-class collection of over 40 historic, restored and conserved boats to delight a wider public, displayed in modern, state-of-theart facilities. With interactive galleries, exhibitions, steam-powered boat-rides and access to the ongoing operations in the Conservation Workshop, this is yet another ‘must-see’ attraction. Don’t leave Bowness before stopping in at the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, where you’ll feel as if you’re stepping into one of Beatrix’s books while learning the story of Potter's writing and her importance to Lakeland conservation. Pictured left-right: Windermere Jetty - Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories; Chocolate House Kendal; Ullswater Lake Courtesy of Cumbria Tourism and Another Place



From here you might want to take a southern detour to visit the historic Cartmel Village, home to ‘the most beautiful church in the north-west’ as described by author Simon Jenkins, and also the unmissable Cartmel Village Shop - home of sticky toffee pudding! Cartmel also has its very own racecourse and yet more tasty treats in-store, to include 50 specially selected Cartmel kinds of cheese, the village’s own local brewery, Unsworth’s Yard and award-winning L'Enclume - an iconic five Michelin stars restaurant under the helm of Simon Rogan, renowned British chef. Kendal A smart, handsome market town, Kendal is the Lakes’ arts and culture centre and is packed with independent cafés and pubs. Catch a play, exhibition, comedy or music event at the town’s thriving cultural hub, the Brewery Arts Centre or get your fix of art at the hidden gem that is the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, set in the Grade I-listed 18th-century building of Abbot Hall. Alternatively, you can experience a dose of history at Kendal Castle, once the family home of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII. Dream Escape will arrange a walking tour to hear more of its dynamic history and admire the excellent views from its hilltop vantage point. Kendal is also a festival hotspot; in November it welcomes the Kendal Mountain Festival, an award-winning adventure film and speaker festival and a must-visit gathering for outdoor enthusiasts.

Coniston Coniston, nestled between Coniston Water and the Coniston Fells, has a copper mining and slate quarrying history and the village is surrounded by dramatic landscapes – lakes, mountains, waterfalls, tarns and woods. Walking, sightseeing, water sports, mountaineering and horse riding are all prevalent here. The most notable feature of Coniston Village is The Old Man of Coniston, an 803-metre-high fell. For a slightly easier walk with incredible views, head to Tarn Hows, set more than 183 metres up in the hills. A lovely, easy, 1.5-mile pathway shows off the best of the gorgeous Langdale Pikes. Another great way to see Coniston Water and the Fells is by the SteamYacht Gondola; glide your way past Coniston Hall and then on to Brantwood, the home of celebrated Victorian art critic and artist John Ruskin. You can alight here to explore the house, which is filled with many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and Ruskin’s personal treasures. For outdoor adventures, Dream Escape can arrange for you to spend the day sheepherding with one of Britain’s most successful sheepdog handlers and the first woman to win the prestigious ‘One Man and His Dog’ competition. Or you might enjoy making friends with a native pack pony during a traditional Fell Pony Adventure. Follow part of an old packhorse route through meadows, woods and fells.

Keswick and Ullswater Keswick, on the lake of Derwentwater, is close to Bassenthwaite and Ullswater, as well as the mountains of Grisedale Pike, Skiddaw and Catbells, yet it’s not just a walkers’ paradise. Keswick is also one of the Lakes’ cultural highlights. Professional producing theatre, Theatre on the Lake, close to Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, is in one of the prettiest theatre settings imaginable and you can (covid-permitting) catch a play here throughout the year. Travel a little further out to visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle, perhaps the most atmospheric and dramatically sited of all British stone circles, or head to The Lakes Distillery and enjoy a private interactive tour to see how its whisky, gin, and vodka are made. And we mustn’t forget the most niche of museums; The Pencil Museum! It’s more than just pencils (although the collection does include gems such as secret Second World War pencils complete with hidden maps). Head out onto Ullswater Lake on a private charter for a relaxed view of the beautiful scenery or, if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, take time to visit Honister, an innovative adventure attraction (and also England’s last working slate mine). Here you can climb the original miners’ route (the Via Ferrata Classic), an exposed adventure climbing course created from cargo nets and wire bridges strung 366 metres above the valley floor. If you’re feeling particularly brave, take the bigger challenge by climbing the Via Ferrata Extreme! →

Travel a little further out to “visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle,

perhaps the most atmospheric and dramatically sited of all British stone circles



Ravenglass Ravenglass is the Lake District’s only coastal village and history emanates from every corner, from its Bronze Age settlements, Roman forts and Anglian crosses to its Viking remains, Norman churches and medieval mills. You might enjoy going back to the Victorian era of steam by experiencing the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway, which takes you on a stunning seven-mile journey through the National Park. Visit Muncaster Castle if you dare! - still lived in by the same family after nine centuries, Muncaster is said to be haunted. The castle itself is fascinating to explore and you can enjoy bird of prey displays at its Hawk and Owl Centre throughout the year.

Ambleside Ambleside is surrounded by magnificent Lakeland fells and is a town with an energetic vibe. Yet it’s also home to one of the oldest standing buildings in the Lakes, the quirky, picturesque Bridge House, which dates back to the 17th century. Some of Beatrix Potter’s works can also be viewed at the Armitt Museum, Gallery and Library – she was one of its earliest supporters – which features the history of life, photography and the fine art of the Lake District. Or for a slice of contemporary art, head to the Old Courthouse Gallery, showcasing glassworks, jewellery, wall art and ceramics, which you can also buy.



Pictured left-right: Sunrise at Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks, ©Justin Foulkes/ Lonely Planet; Footpath in Hawkshead ©VisitBritain/ Robert Radlinski; All other images Linthwaite House Hotel

Ennerdale Water Those longing to experience utter tranquillity have hit the jackpot here, as Ennerdale Water is the National Park’s most remote lake. Offering a peaceful slice of Britain’s vast countryside, visit Ennerdale and expect crystal-clear waters, wonderful forest walks and outstanding views of the surrounding hilly landscape. This Lake District secret is so remote that it cannot be reached by road, although active adventurers can hop on a bike and enjoy the 10-mile cycle path that connects it to Whitehaven. Hotels Linthwaite House, Bowness, is one of the most beautifully situated Windermere hotels, with more twists than a Le Carre novel, and blissful views over the waters and fells of Windermere. A much-loved, hill-top destination for many years, famed for its timeless ‘lived-in’ feel, it has enjoyed a change of ownership, in the guise of the internationally-renowned Leeu Collection.The surrounding gardens have been carefully landscaped and re-planted, with

immense skill and imagination, to include a life-size sculpture of a lion, prowling in the deliberately long grass! Stay in the Hot Tub Suite and step out onto your own enclosed veranda or relax in a heated hot tub while gazing west across Lake Windermere to the Coniston fells. Dine in Simon Rogan's hugely anticipated new restaurant Henrock and enjoy natural, perfectly seasonal ingredients in a relaxed, informal setting. For seclusion, Dream Escape can arrange your stay in one of the six Woodland Suites, which are exquisite, quiet and undisturbed luxury.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Sue Morris, Head of Marketing “The Lake District really is my favourite place in the world. Even though I was born and brought up in Cockermouth and Keswick, it still takes my breath away every time I come back to visit from London. The peace and tranquillity, blended with the spectacular beauty of the landscape, never fails to disappoint, no matter what the season. With first-hand local knowledge, our team is certainly best placed to create your Lake District holiday of a lifetime” ⬩ sue@dreamescape.co.uk

Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Bowness, is a stylish, warm and well-managed 5* country-house hotel with 22 acres of grounds. It has been a family-owned hotel since 1987 and the Cunliffes are justly proud of its award-winning history, its Michelin-starred restaurant and its variety of first-class guest accommodation. If quiet hedonism is for you, you will love the exclusive Lake House, formerly a fishing lodge to the main house, offering six wildly spacious suites. Strutting peacocks on the lawn, rowing-boats at the fishing-jetty, indoor swimming pool, a small spa facility in the trees and a choice of hot tubs for open-air frolics! Another Place, the team behind the Watergate Bay Hotel opened Another Place on the shores of England's second largest lake, Ullswater. The 40-room hotel and spa includes a library, restaurant and 18 acres of secluded parkland where trees are strung with hammocks, a vegetable patch and a herb garden – plus a wooden jetty by the lake, where guests can go open-water swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and sailing.



Meet the Maker:

Araminta   Campbell 44


From the beautiful Fife Arms in Braemar to the bespoke tartan designs of Araminta Campbell, Dream Escape’s connection to Scottish heritage is impressive. Emma Johnson talks to Araminta about creating a bespoke design for Dream Escape, taking inspiration from her striking Scottish surroundings


ARLY IN JANUARY 2019, alongside HRH the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Dream Escape founders David and Holly were welcomed to the striking Fife Arms in Braemar to mark the re-opening of the historic former Victorian coaching inn. As one of Dream Escape's preferred partners, The Fife Arms is the perfect place for clients to call home when visiting the UK, a singularly unique and beautiful retreat, nestled in the Scottish Highlands. Dating back to 1856, the hotel is a landmark in the village of Braemar, home of the Highland Games, and its new renovation brought together a host

of important Scottish heritage and craftsmanship. “The history and ethos of the Fife Arms, and the fact that they have integrated the local community into the essence of the hotel and only work with local craftsmen and suppliers, wherever possible, was a huge appeal and sits perfectly with our core values too,” explains David. SCOTTISH HERITAGE Dream Escape’s team are meticulous about the properties they work with, and The Fife Arms is no exception, boasting a special, unique character and historic charm, alongside beautiful design and exemplary service. The hotel itself is an art and design masterpiece, and contains → dreamescapemagazine.com


over 14,000 antiques and artworks – highlights of which include a watercolour of a stag’s head painted by HM Queen Victoria – as well as stunning interiors created by Russell Sage. It is also home to the bespoke luxurious tweed, tartan and alpaca fabrics of Scottish designer Araminta Campbell, whom the Dream Escape team have recently worked with to create their own unique tartan. At The Fife Arms, Campbell was commissioned to create a bespoke new house tartan and house tweed. Inspired by the changing colours of the local landscape around Braemar, the tartan adorns the walls of the hotel’s Drawing Room, while the bespoke tweed decorates the walls of The Snug and the bedroom corridors. Touring the hotel, HRH the Prince of Wales took particular interest in the designs, and the Duchess of Cornwall later wore the tartan to an event for VE



Pictured left-right: Araminta Campbell’s bespoke tartan in the Drawing Room of The Fife Arms; Lambswool Tartan Shawl designed for The Fife Arms; Watercolour of a stag’s head painted by HM Queen Victoria; Holly shakes hands with the Duchess of Cornwall; Staircase at The Fife Arms featuring Araminta’s bespoke tartan

Day. “Possibly my proudest moment was attending the opening of the Fife Arms, and seeing the bespoke tweed and tartan I created being admired by HRH Prince Charles,” says designer Araminta Campbell. “It was an amazing project to be part of, there had been such a focus on artistry and provenance and the attention to detail is second to none.” David and Holly were similarly wowed by Campbell’s designs, and decided to work with her to create their own bespoke tweed design, something they had been hoping to do for some years. “We were already looking to evolve our welcome packs to support local artisans and to give our clients a meaningful gift that told a ‘story’ and that would connect them with the country they were visiting, whilst still being true to our brand,” explains David. “When we met Araminta, everything just came together.” →

Possibly my “proudest moment

was attending the opening of the Fife Arms, and seeing the bespoke tweed and tartan I created being admired by HRH Prince Charles.



Soft greys meet rich “burgundy and deep purple

in a design that evokes the designer’s Scottish heritage.

BORN & BRED Araminta Campbell was perhaps the perfect choice to design the tweed for Dream Escape. For the designer, the beautiful, wild Scottish landscape has always been her chief inspiration. “It’s probably because that is where I am happiest,” she told Dream Escape. “I grew up in the Scottish countryside and my mother was passionate about landscape and nature, so from a very early age it was ingrained in me.” Campbell had an early introduction to textiles through her grandparents, traditional Scots who lived in Strathconon in the Highlands, and who always dressed smartly. With an appreciation for textiles so much a part of her life, and a rich natural landscape outside her front door, Campbell found herself drawn to the ways she could bring these two loves together. After graduating Campbell was selling handwoven artworks to collectors, and making bespoke pieces



for friends and family. Searching for wool alternatives to use in a scarf, she settled on alpaca fleece - a beautifully soft, hypo-allergenic fibre that is the only luxury yarn you can source from UK farms. The alpaca was so inspiring to Campbell that she began to create more and more pieces and weaving became a true passion. In her studio she now works with a team of highly skilled weavers, and there is very much a feeling of keeping the art of weaving alive. Just as it did when she was young, location remains incredibly important to her. “The brand is inherently a Scottish company and my designs are rooted in Scotland,” she explains, but says she can also take her inspiration from landscapes across the world. “When I am designing for a client there is a shift, and it is their landscape that becomes important. Be it an urban or international landscape, my designs always reflect their story.”

DREAM ESCAPE TWEED For the Dream Escape design, Campbell suggested a tweed pattern which would have a more exclusive feel, while working to blend both the colours of the landscape and countryside with the brand’s own specific palette. The colour swatch was key, with the dominant greys and splashes of navy used as a base to represent the Dream Escape brand. The tweed was then cut through with a solitary vertical line in conifer green to represent the landscape, rolling hills and forests of all countries in the UK and Ireland, with the added details of vertical blue lines to represent Scotland and a horizontal line in burgundy to represent England and Wales – and also add a touch of colour and royal tradition. Pictured far left to right: Araminta Campbell’s Signature Throws; Cashmere and lambswool scarves in Dream Escape fabric designed by Araminta Campbell.

“If you stand back and just look at the design as a bigger picture, then you immediately feel a sense of quality, warmth and familiarity,” says Holly. “The colours give a light, classy feel, and, as you look closer, you begin to notice the finer details – immediately representing one of our core values – our attention to detail.” In fact, the luxurious, bespoke design cleverly symbolises many of Dream Escape’s core values including their attention to people seen in the personal touch in everything they do, and attention to detail, shown in the intricate design features. “The fabric very much speaks to all of Dream Escape’s locations, and I wanted to include all of these within the designs,” explains Campbell. “Their brand colours feature heavily to ensure the design reflected their ethos and story.” The Dream Escape fabric will be used to create a variety of luxury →





The House of Bruar is a key destination for country sports enthusiasts, with everything you need for grouse, pheasant and partridge shooting, stalking and fishing Pure new wool traditional British woven tweeds stand alongside cutting-edge technical brands and top tier equipment in our comprehensive collection of the very best in sporting clothing and accessories. What’s more, our luxury Food Hall features hampers and artisan cold meats - the best of Scotland’s natural larder - and we even have treats and accessories for man’s best friend to keep everyone happy during their days on the hill.

Experience the very best in contemporary country clothing. Visit our website today:

www.houseofbruar.com To request our latest mail order catalogue please ring 01796 483 236 The House of Bruar by Blair Atholl, Perthshire, PH18 5TW

Pictured left to right: Araminta Campbell's studio; Araminta Campbell’ in the studio.

bespoke gifts for Dream Escape clients, including cashmere and lambswool scarves, pashminas and throws. BEHIND-THE-SCENES Inspired by the bespoke tweed, Dream Escape visitors to Scotland can get a chance meet and tour Campbell’s studio, at an exclusive ‘By Appointment Only” visit. You will be taken through the weaving process from beginning to end - from the sourcing of British alpaca fleeces to the skills involved in weaving on traditional looms and the time intensive hand finishing process. Enjoying locally sourced refreshments, you will hear directly from the makers and designers, and encounter first-hand the craftsmanship and inspiration behind these wonderful textiles, before finishing off in the showroom, which is not open to the public, for an

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Stays at the Fife Arms are included as part of The Dream Escape travel programmes around the Braemar area, including the Balmoral Estate linking its Royal connections with off-roading on the estate, private whisky experiences, and so many other different activities. ⬩

exclusive shopping experience. If you are keen to take an even more personal piece of this Scottish tradition home with you, you can work with Araminta Campbell to create your own tartan or tweed – an exclusive experience offered to Dream Escape clients. Every project is customised – from reimagining family tartan to producing a fabric that pushes the boundaries of traditional Scottish design. The design consultation is usually planned in the final days of a trip, so clients can meet with Araminta and use their experiences of their Scottish tour to inspire and shape the final designs. “There is an emotional connection with all my work, everything is special its unique way,” continues Campbell, whose bespoke pieces make not only a wonderful reminder of a holiday, but also something special to be passed on to future generations.





Men in Kilts INTERVIEW

Meet Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish... WORDS | ANNABEL MACKIE


F YOU COULD dream of the ultimate road trip in the Scottish Highlands what would it entail? Perhaps whiskyfuelled nights listening to tales of marauding Highland clans, tackling mountainous roads with wildlife obstacles and embracing adrenaline-pumping adventures on board a motorbike, kayak and even a tandem bike. Well, Outlander stars Sam Heughan (who stars as the lead character Jamie Fraser in the hit Starz TV time-travel historical drama) and Graham McTavish (who played his uncle Dougal Mackenzie and, more recently, Buck MacKenzie) ticked all these boxes and many more on their recent road trip. In a second-hand Fiat Auto- Roller Campervan decked out with Scottish memorabilia, Sam (40) and Graham (59) set off from the Scottish capital Edinburgh before heading north to Glencoe and then on to several outlying islands. The road trip continues back in the Highlands to a backdrop of stunning natural heather-clad landscapes, majestic mountains, ancient castles and shimmering lochs where myth, passion, feuds and folklore permeate from every nook and cranny. Their journey culminates →



on the Culloden battlefield, where the Jacobite forces were outnumbered and defeated in the infamous 1746 battle against the British forces. The unlikely duo documented their eventful, and often hilarious, journey that appears as a travelogue in an eight-part Starz TV series entitled Men in Kilts. Their whisky-fuelled road trip is packed with history, anecdotes, songs and poetry and peppered with lots of personal banter, bickering, barbs and tales of bravado! The Scotsmen - Sam grew up in Dumfries and Galloway and Graham was born in Glasgow - talk to Annabel Mackie about their unlikely friendship, their mutual love of the Scottish Highlands and the many colourful characters they met along the way including several clan chiefs and two Outlander alumni.



Pictured previous spread: Sam (left) & Graham (right) at the Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion

Where in the world are you both? Graham: I’m in New Zealand. Sam: I’m in bonnie Scotland. How did the TV series come about? Sam: I wanted to create a TV show about Scotland and its Highlanders, after seeing how popular they were on Outlander. Once I began pulling a crew together and organising the shoot I thought we should try writing an accompanying book, which then became a TV series! Graham: I wrote a treatment for an idea called Clanlands in 1991. I had become interested in clan rivalry and the complicated nature of those times as against the sometimesromanticised view of Highland life, which tends to see clans as 'good' or 'bad' clans. I found the truth so much more interesting.

Pictured right: Keen whisky enthusiasts Sam & Graham find out why peat helps to give Laphroaig its distinctive smoky flavour

The road trip was short but you covered a lot of ground? Graham: We filmed it over three weekends and covered hundreds of miles. Part of the nature of both the book and the show comes from the spontaneity of that journey. Totally unscripted. We would arrive to meet guests we had arranged to meet and then it was all real time, true conversations. It made for a lot of fun and a lot of laughs along the way. Sam: I was working on Outlander during the week, whilst trying to organise the shoot. It was pretty exhausting but the adrenaline (and whisky) kept us going. As did the guests who really made the experience. What do you both love so much about Scotland? Graham: I love the people, their humour, their strength. The Highlands and the people from them including my great-great grandfather. It is one of the last wildernesses of Europe, its landscape tells the story of its people. Both a proud and tragic story. Sam: The landscape, it tells a story, the people who have influenced the land. It’s a melting pot of cultures and always has a foot set in its past. The tangible history, you can feel the ghosts of those before us. If a friend was coming to Scotland on holiday what would you tell them to do? Sam: Hike a Munro. Drink whisky in a distillery. Eat some amazing fish and chips on a beach. Have a drink and listen to some traditional music with some locals. Take home a piece of heather. Graham: Start in Edinburgh and be sure to walk EVERYWHERE! I have been walking those streets my whole life and still find something new and fascinating. Don’t limit yourself to the mainland. Visit the islands too. Obviously, the →

Hike a Munro. Drink “ whisky in a distillery. Eat

some amazing fish and chips on a beach. Have a drink and listen to some traditional music with some locals. Take home a piece of heather.



Callanish stones on Lewis are a must. It’s a journey but so worth it. I love Barra and Skye but also Mull, Gigha, Rhum and Harris are also spectacular. Enjoy a local Highland bar where people bring their own instruments and play together. Did you revisit many of the locations that you had filmed Outlander scenes? Graham: We visited many locations with connections to Outlander, most notably Doune Castle and Culloden battlefield. Sam: I wanted to incorporate a few places that I knew,



whether we had shot there (Doune Castle) or places that were popular and accessible. Yet we wanted to dig a little deeper and find out more than the regular tourist information. A couple of Outlander actors made guest appearances on the trip? Graham: Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh) and Gary Lewis (Colum) joined us at different times. Gary is a great lover of Scotland and its history, we rowed across Loch Ness talking of history, (well Sam and Gary rowed, I gave directions!) Duncan joined us for our first night, (for moral support)


Pictured left St Andrews. Graham's first ever attempt at playing golf was on one of the prestigious courses at St Andrews - the birthplace of golf - no less! Pictured right: Sam & Graham enjoying views across the Atlantic from Cliff Beach, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides

and then tried to hitch a lift with us … and failed. Sam: I also wanted to include other people involved in the show. Gillebride, a Gaelic singer, played the bard in season one. A lot of the contacts I made were through Outlander. Did you bump into any Outlander fans and what was their reaction of seeing you two together? Graham: The fans were great. I think mainly they were very puzzled as to why Jamie and Dougal were in a campervan together, or why we were cycling a tandem around Scotland! Who drove the campervan? Graham: He drove (only because I was too hung over the first morning) and it just carried on like that. I navigated. We shared everything else, especially insults. Travelling in the campervan was a real eye-opener. Not necessarily the first choice for two men over six feet tall! Sam: I wanted to drive. In hindsight, this was a bad idea. Keeping Graham fed was the biggest challenge… whilst driving a camper van with a film crew in the back, in driving rain and on bumpy roads. It was a blast and I loved

every minute but it was a challenge. What irritating or quirky habits did you find out about each other? Graham: Sam is always positive and full of energy, which is great for what we had to do, but can be exhausting for people like me who enjoy nothing more than a good book and a great cup of coffee. He also delights in terrifying me. Sam: Graham is reliable. Reliably hungry and grumpy if not fed. Reliably fun and full of, at times, useless information about the weather on a certain day in 1700! Sam, you seem to talk and drink a lot of whisky. I believe you’ve just launched your own brand, The Sassenach? I’m so proud; it’s been real journey of discovery and endeavour. The Sassenach has won multiple Gold medals in various spirit and design awards, so it was definitely worth it. Is the tartan you wear on the trip your family tartan? Graham: I have a lot of kilts. I wear both the McTavish tartan and the MacDonald (from my mother's side). →




is always positive and “fullSam of energy, which is great

for what we had to do, but can be exhausting for people like me who enjoy nothing more than a good book and a great cup of coffee.

Pictured: Glen House Estate, a magnifcent example of Scottish baronial architecture that sits in 5,000 acres of stunning countryside in the Scottish Borders.

Did you wear kilts doing all your sporting activities on the trip? Sam: Kilts are terrific, and I’d happily wear one every day for most events, however, abseiling is possibly one I wouldn’t recommend! Graham: I don’t think either Sam or I would want the other following us down an abseiling rope wearing only a kilt. There are some views in Scotland you don’t need to see! Scottish Highland clans are a big feature of the book. Which clan are you both descended from? Graham: The McTavish clan from Argyll. Sam: Apparently the MacDonalds but I could be wrong. I’m also French, German and 3.9% Norwegian. You got to meet a few Clan chiefs. From Outlander viewing, we’d expect them to be all scary and fierce. Still true today? Graham: The ones we met were fascinating. What they all had in common was a fierce pride in their clan. That never changes whether it’s 1746 or today. I, of course, felt Dougal



Mackenzie, as war chief of Clan Mackenzie, was the epitome of charm, although some may disagree! You get to handle some precious historical artefacts on your trip. Tell us about any favourites. Sam: We got to hold a pistol that was found at the Culloden battlefield. It was eerie. To know that the last time it was used, it was fired in anger and then thrown away whilst the Highlander brought out his broadsword and charged at the enemy. Graham: It was such a privilege to hold an actual broadsword for the battle of Culloden. I thought about the hand that gripped the hilt on that day in April 1746. What he was thinking about as he began that fateful charge on that foggy April day so long ago that shaped the course of Scottish history? If you could choose one clan to be part of in 17th/18th Century Scotland which one would you choose? Sam: To act? The proud MacGregors and play their famed outlaw, Rob Roy, who may or may not lie in Balquidder Kirk. They were called the ‘children of the mist’ after being stripped of all their rights, land, weapons, income and many lives. Graham: Apart from my own, obviously. The Camerons were a good one. They were described by the British as the fiercest and bravest on the battlefield at Culloden. Did you get to do an activity that you’d always wanted to try? Sam: I wanted to do a lot more, however my companion is not the most confident or enthusiastic but I did convince him to step off a cliff and jump in to a fairy pool filled with

Find out more

icy cold mountain water. Hopefully for MIK2 we can do some more dangerous stuff. It’s fun to watch Graham sweat! Graham: Golf at St Andrews was a real treat for me. I’ve only ever golfed once before but this gave me a real taste for it. It helped that I beat Sam! Also surfing. I believe there were a few death-defying experiences on the trip. Can you share an example? Graham: I don't want to give away the ending but suffice to say it'll be a while before I climb into a motorcycle sidecar again. There is one hilarious incident involving a castle gate, your campervan and a marathon. Can you tell us more? Graham: We arrived at Cawdor Castle to find our campervan wouldn’t fit through the gate. We couldn't reverse and we were blocking the gate. I then noticed a sign advertising a marathon that day that was due to go through the castle grounds. Just as I was reading it Sam noticed dozens and dozens of angry runners coming towards us. I never thought runners had such a lexicon of abuse available, but they called us some great names as they tried to squeeze between the gate and the van! Sam: Having taken part in many marathons and consider myself a runner, I felt horrified to stop these dedicated athletes in their tracks and ruin the chance of a personal best. Thankfully the campervan has a big seat and I tried to slide underneath it as they fought their way past. Do you have any plans for a sequel? Sam: Absolutely. More Scotland and beyond… Graham: More adventures, more attempts by Sam to terrify the life out of me, more history and more incredible characters from Edinburgh to the Outer Hebrides and many in between. And the final word on Outlander. Have you finished filming Season Six yet? Sam: Hahah, no! We just started and all I can say is that it’s been a challenge with Covid and we are doing all we can to keep everyone safe but its not easy and daily we have challenges to overcome. The weather hasn’t helped much either!

With its expert and in depth knowledge of Scotland, Dream Escape runs many tailor-made tours across the length and breadth of Scotland including their popular Outlander Adventure. This week-long tour includes many of the key Outlander film locations including Blackness Castle, the setting for ‘Black Jack’ Randall’s Fort William Headquarters, the ancient burial site of Clava Cairns that is said to be inspiration for the Craig na Dun stone circle through which Claire Randall travels back in time and the Highland Folk Museum, used as the set for the Mackenzie Village. Dream Escape specialises in providing bespoke and unique experiences for their guests and have provided workshops with herbalist Claire Mackay who consulted on the first TV series. With an enviable black book of contacts, Dream Escape can also arrange private meetings with Highland Clan chiefs as well as gain access to secret places such as Tibbermore Church, where the witch trial scenes took place. For more information about this and other set jetting itineraries, contact lesley@dreamescape.co.uk

Clanlands by Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish Hodder & Stoughton hardback, £20 Also in eBook and audio. Eight-part Starz TV series Men in Kilts : A roadtrip with Sam And Graham premieres (in the US) on Valentines Day (Sunday, February 14 2021)





Raymond   Blanc Chef Special:

Top chef Raymond Blanc enthuses about his beloved garden, how his Le Manoir team has adapted to lockdown and why he loves Britain so much


ONTRARY TO WHAT some people believe celebrity interviews are not always an interesting or particularly enjoyable experience. Too often the celebrity won't deviate from what they're trying to plug. Even worse, there’s an overzealous publicity person milling around, reinforcing key points that need to be hammered home. The renowned French chef and honorary Brit Raymond Blanc is a breath of fresh air. He’s a cheerful and garrulous free spirit. All any writer has to do is turn up and switch on their recording device. A rare pause in the conversation is soon filled with Blanc dishing out advice to any young chefs starting out. “The most important thing is to be curious,” he says. “Be curious about everything. It’s so important to open your mind, to open your heart. Be intuitive and receptive and ask thousands of questions. Even today, I’m still curious about everything. “Talent alone will never be enough to carry you where you want to go, so

you have to work really hard, too. “And despite what we sometimes see on our TV screens a wellrun kitchen is always a quiet and harmonious place. No-one ever needs to shout.” Every sentence is punctuated by the chef ’s passion for food and life, whether he’s talking about his beloved herb garden, or where his guests should explore on days out from his hotel/ restaurant, Le Manoir - places like Blenheim Palace, Daylesford’s organic farm and gardens or Highclere Castle, the real-life Downton Abbey. But the best thing about an encounter with Blanc is the affect he has on you. You walk away from the meeting feeling two feet taller. His joie de vivre has rubbed off on you – and you vow to apply his passion and vision to whatever makes you tick - be it restoring furniture or the art of stained glass windows. Blanc talks continuously and passionately in a thick, melodic French accent, his sentences regularly punctuated with his trademark “ooh la la”. → dreamescapemagazine.com


He says he has seen the food scene in the UK improve drastically since he arrived in the early 1970s. “The British food scene was very different, totally unrecognisable to today,” he recalls. “Back then the UK was simply not a nation of food-lovers. Good food was available but it was very class-led and exclusive. The country was a culinary wasteland with lots of intensive farming. “But now it’s so different and there’s a real celebration of proper, authentic food.” The change, he believes, is not the result of the master chefs and successful TV cooking shows but humble everyday folk – British consumers themselves. “It’s British people who can largely take the credit for the food revolution in this country. They have steered the change. “People are so much more food-aware and curious nowadays. They want



to know what’s in their food and realise the extent to which food connects with everything, with every part of our lives.” Today, Blanc is a youthful-looking 71-year-old. The chef celebrated two important milestones in 2019 – his 70th birthday, and the 35th anniversary of his famous Oxfordshire hotel-restaurant, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The hotel and its renowned two Michelin-starred restaurant are now part of the Belmond luxury hotel group. He bought the 15th century manor house back in the early 1980s when he had his restaurant Les Quat’Saisons in Summertown, Oxford. And like a great love affair from the pages of French literature, it was le coup de foudre - love at first sight. As soon as he saw the property for sale - in

Pictured left-right: Lavendar path and The Dovecote; Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

a great love affair from “theLike pages of French literature, Les Quat’Saisons was le coup de foudre - love at first sight

Country Life magazine - Blanc drove to see it in his old Vauxhall car. When the owner opened the door he immediately told them he wanted to buy their manor. Blanc launched Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons as a hotel in 1984. Since then Le Manoir has earned itself the envious reputation as the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion – whether it be a birthday, wedding anniversary or second honeymoon. And Dream Escape’s Director David Tobin can certainly testify. He is one of hundreds of guests annually who have been totally bowled over by a visit to Le Manoir. ‘I surprised my wife Holly Mackie with a visit for her 40th birthday. It was an incredible experience with food that was out of this world. We spent time chatting with Raymond over pre-dinner drinks which made the visit extra special.” Despite Blanc’s numerous culinary triumphs, accolades and reputation, the decorated French chef still thinks of himself as a simple man at heart. “I’m still just a country boy from a small French village,” he says with a beaming smile. That village is Saône, near Besançon, in the rural Franche-Comté region that borders Switzerland. “And when it comes down to it I’m just a humble chef and gardener!” It’s immediately clear that Blanc is as happy in his garden as he is in his kitchen. And visitors to his hotel soon see why. The gardens at Belmond Le Manoir,

originally dug by monks who occupied the site in the 16th century, are as much of a part of the experience as the food. In fact, Blanc sees his beloved gardens as an integral part of the culinary and aesthetic experience. Surrounding the manor house are no less than 11 gardens, including a magnificent two-acre organic kitchen garden, growing over 90 types of vegetables and 70 different herbs. These, Blanc says proudly, are harvested while they are still young and tender to obtain optimum flavour. Blanc’s kitchen garden at Le Manoir is the envy of chefs and gardeners worldwide, with produce supplying the restaurant for two thirds of the year. →



Blanc is also hugely – and “rightly - proud of his orchard,

where for the last 20 years he has created unusual British species of fruit, with some 800 apple and pear trees planted. There’s also a fruit hedge containing varieties of sloes and plums!

And safeguarding it all is a bronze scarecrow modelled on Raymond Blanc himself no less! The gardens host the Cloche Tunnels, where hundreds of courgettes are grown for their flowers, and the Mushroom Valley, situated in a silver birch and oak tree lined ravine. Here, guests can discover delicious edible fungi, including shiitake, maitake and parasol. Fed by natural springs, the English Water Garden boasts verdant ponds and water features, while the Japanese Tea Garden blends Taoist, Buddhist and Shinto traditions. A stepping stone path leads to a water basin where guests can cleanse their hands. Blanc is also hugely – and rightly - proud of his orchard, where for the last 20 years he has created unusual British species of fruit, with some 800 apple and pear trees planted. There’s also a fruit hedge containing varieties of sloes and plums. In May, the Raymond Blanc Gardening School is due to re-open. Themed courses will include Micro Herbs & Edible Flowers, and Grow Your Own Vegetables. The Covid epidemic has certainly created an extraordinary past year, perhaps like no other. As so much time has – and continues to be - spent time at home, many of us are 64


Pictured above-right: Raymond Blanc in English Water Garden at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons; Gardener in the vegetable garden at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

looking at ways to treat families, friends and ourselves without compromising the safety guidelines. During lockdown, Blanc and his Le Manoir team have not rested on their laurels. They have been busy creating bespoke virtual, luxury experiences that guests have been able to take part in. These range from a taste of Le Manoir in your own kitchen with The Raymond Blanc Cookery School virtual classes to cocktail making classes and floral workshops, hosted by the hotel’s head florist, as well as guest florists.

Dream Escape can also arrange for guests to experience special seasonal spring packages featuring hotel suites with their own private garden space. These have proved hugely popular with visitors wishing to have their own private outdoor space as well as exploring the gardens. Of course, the Covid lockdown has had so many of us reminiscing and looking back on our lives, and Raymond Blanc has been no exception. He recalls his gastronomic career in the UK started almost by chance when he arrived from the Jura Mountains in the summer of 1972. “In a way, looking back, I was exiled to England,” he explains. “The chef at the restaurant I was working at

in France did not like it when I criticised his sauce. He first broke my jaw with a copper saucepan, and then the boss sacked me! “But unlike Napoleon,” Blanc jokes, “who had the idea of conquering, I arrived in England with more humility. I was full of lots of ideas and aspiration.” This inspiration has not been entirely centred on cuisine. Each room in the hotel has been designed with a particular theme from Raymond Blanc’s travels around the world, from Provence in the south of France to the Far East. Nowadays Blanc says he feels at home in the UK, and even considers himself an honourary Brit. He certainly seems to like Britain, and the British. →



“I am very happy here, and it feels like home for me on a daily basis. And the Brits have taught me a lot about life!” Blanc says the British, and their pragmatic approach to life, has served him well. They have opened his eyes and broadened his mind. “One of the best things I’ve learned from the British is their sense of fairness. And I’ve learned the ability to laugh at myself. This is often a great hurdle for any Frenchman! “Oh yes, and I’ve also learned to queue, too. In fact, I get really upset now when I see people jumping the queue!” He reveals the person who has inspired him the most in his life. “At the risk of sounding like a Mummy’s Boy, my mother is still my greatest inspiration. She gave me such a fundamental



Pictured: Raymond Blanc outside his Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons restaurant

grounding and taught me that food is an act of love. You bring your family together, and you create a feast or banquet. “She showed me that the dining table is the centre of the house, not the living room. It’s where you share things, where you joke, you argue, you get to know each other, and the dinner table is the most natural place to do so. “Sadly, I fear we are losing this ability to engage with each other these days. I’m lucky that I have the same energy as my mother, and I always try to pass on her wisdom to others. “She taught me to build up your willpower and inner strength, so when you’re down you can pick yourself up.” It’s a sage and fitting final statement in what’s been a testing year for us all. ”


— While visiting Le Manoir, Dream Escape can arrange for you to explore other fabulous highlights - all within easy reach. Visit The Cotswolds Why not take a hike along part of the beautiful Cotswold Way with a knowledgeable guide, or visit a private farm to walk alongside majestic hawks? Also in the Cotswolds is the Grade I listed Sudeley Castle, home of Katherine Parr, the 6th wife of Henry VIII. And who can resist a private tour of Daylesford organic farm and gardens followed by a great cookery experience, or a visit to Highclere Castle, the real location of Downton Abbey? Lord and Lady Grantham’s pad is only an hour away from Le Manoir. Private House and Garden Tours Enjoy afternoon tea at Badminton House with a private tour of the gardens led by its head gardener; tour the private apartments at the Duke of Marlborough’s home of Blenheim Palace, or marvel at the extensive art collection at Waddesdon Manor, a French Renaissance-style chateau, where Baron de Rothschild entertained the rich in the Victorian era. A treasure trove of experiences and excursions awaits you!

Highgrove Gardens For a perfect day out, combine a visit to Highgrove Gardens, only 90 minutes away, with a private lunch at Chavenage House in Tetbury, featured recently in Poldark. A family member leads a private tour of the 16th century country house. Chipping Campden Watch a traditional silversmith craft his magic in Chipping Campden and commission your own piece of silver! Or visit a forge to watch a modern-day blacksmith at work. Exeter College In Oxford, why not enjoy a private recital in the chapel at Exeter College and a private dinner in its Hogwarts-style College Dining Hall? Or, for a fun family day out, head for The Oxford Gun Company where there’s clay pigeon shooting and off-road driving experiences.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk For more information about staying at Le Manoir and the Cotswolds, chat to our Creative Planner Michael Davies on michael@dreamescape.co.uk.⬩




Wild Atlantic Way


INDING ALONG THE length of the Emerald Isle, from Malin Head, the northern tip of County Donegal, to the southern culinary hotspot of Kinsale in County Cork, The Wild Atlantic Way journey is the longest fully signposted coastal driving route in the world, presenting 157 discovery points, 1,000 attractions and, with more than 2,000 activities, a huge array of potential stopping-off points. From a 10-day chauffeur-driven journey to your own bespoke itinerary, Dream Escape can craft you a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will take you off the beaten track and to the most beautiful parts of Ireland. From Cork in the South, through regions like Connemara, Galway, Clare and Kerry, to Donegal in the North, we can ensure you find the Ireland you have always imagined. Passing by towering cliffs and twisting roads, your excursions will range from helicopter flights to exclusive access to magnificent stately homes, with overnight stays in intimate and luxurious accommodation. Expect blasts of sea air, stunning views and dramatic landscapes, and some of the most remarkable places to both visit and stay imaginable castles, gardens and waterfalls by day, elegant, authentic and unique hotels, country houses and private residences by night, all hand-picked exclusively for you by the team at Dream Escape.



If you share an appetite for the wilderness and have a willingness to step off the traditional tourist trail then you must visit the Wild Atlantic Way – a 2,500 km touring route which promises to share the secrets of Ireland’s western seascapes, traditions and laid-back lifestyle The most beautiful and celebrated part of the Emerald Isle, this is spray-in-your-face, salt-on-your-windscreen territory to rival any of the world’s great coastal trips – and to whet your appetite, here is just a small taster of some of the unforgettable highlights to expect on your magical Dream Escape journey: THE SPECTACULAR SOUTH Begin your exploration of southern Ireland with a visit to Cork, Ireland’s second largest and southernmost city with a history dating back to the 6th century. Founded on islands in an estuary, waterways circle the city centre crossed by over 20 bridges. Hilly neighbourhoods

Pictured: Absailing The Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork and Hayfield Manor, Cork City Centre

climb the river banks, stacked with colourful houses. The Georgian architecture gives the city a Continental feel, and it is a creative and exciting place, renowned for learning, with a world class university and specialist colleges. It has a rich musical tradition and is home to no less than 24 festivals running throughout the year. For luxury accommodation in the heart of Cork city you won’t find better than Hayfield Manor - the estate was originally owned by the Musgrave family, the famous Cork merchants. The current owners, the Scally Family, purchased the estate from the Musgrave family and established Cork's first 5 star hotel. Treat yourself and indulge in a treatment at Beautique Spa, and when hunger calls head to Perrotts Garden 2 AA Rosette Restaurant.

Nearby, Kinsale is one of the prettiest small towns in Ireland, with its crooked streets, slate hung houses and bow-fronted shops. It has a long and chequered history. The Battle of Kinsale in 1601 was the ultimate battle in England’s conquest of Gaelic Ireland. → dreamescapemagazine.com


Pictured left-right: Kinsale Harbour; Lakes of Killarney; Beara Peninsula; Perryville House, Killarney; Garden Island in Bantry Bay; Dunquin Harbour, Dingle

Drawing Room; indulge in afternoon tea or artisan coffee with home-baked treats in their light-filled Garden Room; or savour your favourite Irish tipple or aperitif. Whatever mood you’re in, you will be made to feel at home here. For some peace and quiet away from the mainland, Dream Escape can arrange a sailing trip across the crystal-clear waters, passing seals on the rocks and relishing the to Garnish Island, located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay.

The Irish forces and their Spanish allies were defeated which signified the end of the old Gaelic order, Irish resistance and marked a turning point in the history books. For over 300 years it was a garrison town and port of consequence, which left a legacy of Georgian and Victorian architecture. Overnight, Perryville House is a Dream Escape team favourite – a masterpiece of Georgian architecture with later Victorian embellishment, built in 1820 by Captain Adam Warren Perry for his family whose ancestors continued to reside there until the late 1950s. Situated in the heart of Kinsale, overlooking the harbour, it is a fabulous starting point. Sink into one of the sumptuous sofas in the




Known as the “Garden Island” this is a delightful and peaceful place to reflect and wander, and see the charming Italian gardens, pool, miniature temple and towers. It is known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty. The island is renowned for its richness of plant form and colour, which change continuously with the seasons. Pathways wind around the landscape, leading to several fascinating garden buildings, such as the Grecian temple, the clock tower, the casita, and

an original Martello Tower. Bryce House, the family residence on the island for many years, is presented as it would have appeared during their lifetime. A selection from their vast collection of important paintings, prints, drawings, and books can be seen on display inside. Let your journey continue to ‘The Kingdom’ of Kerry, a land of majestic beauty – where a glorious mix of moody mountains, vibrant towns, historic houses and a superstar island will take your breath away. →



Make your first stop the beautiful heritage town of Kenmare - a haven of gourmet food, riding and breathtaking scenery. Stop at the famous ‘Ladies View’ - a lovely gift and clothing boutique with a coffee shop and panoramic views of Killarney’s Lakes and mountains. Head to the shores of Kenmare Bay to discover the sea life or try your hand at water sports. Or why not try a chocolate making course? Find out the origins of chocolate, and make your own, under the helm of French chocolatier Benoit Lorge, who lives in Bonane, Kenmare. Kenmare is a gourmet’s dream with so many quality restaurants to choose from, in town head to The Lime Tree Restaurant, housed in a beautiful building dating back to 1832, and for spectacular waterfront views, The Boathouse Wine House and Bistro - and you mustn't leave before trying at least one scoop of the delicious Kenmare homemade ice cream!



Deep in the heart of County Kerry, the Killarney National Park is one of the most majestic parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, with soaring mountains, tranquil waters and indigo-coloured lakes. Walking or cycling around here is a real delight, but you might prefer to discover this landscape in a traditional jaunting car - a light two-wheeled horse-driven carriage. With a soundtrack of hooves clip clopping along and a cheerful guide leading the way, the tour covers the park’s most scenic spots including the 15th century Ross Castle and the moodily beautiful Lough Leane – all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy a uniquely Irish mode of travel. Pictured right top to bottom: Kayaking in Killarney; Lakes of Killarney; Portmagee harbour


Getting here by kayak, silently “gliding through the inky waters,

you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and watch the wildlife - peacefully undisturbed by your arrival.

Another way to explore is by private boat, with a knowledgeable captain who will peruse the waters of Lough Léin, the largest of Killarney's three scenic lakes, while telling stories about the area’s rich history and the stunning mountain-shrouded valley where the lakes reside. Sit back and enjoy the ride taking in the local sights of Ross Castle and wildlife including whitetailed eagles and red deer as you glide by. If you are feeling adventurous, you might like to kayak in Lough Leane to Innisfallen Island, the largest and most interesting of Killarney National Park's twenty-six islands. It's an incredibly romantic

spot, heavily wooded, littered with age-old ruins and home to a herd of sika deer. Getting here by kayak, silently gliding through the inky waters, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and watch the wildlife peacefully undisturbed by your arrival. Or why not take a private tour of Kerry’s historic houses? Within Killarney National Park you will find Killarney House, restored to its former glory, and the magnificent Victorian mansion, Muckross House with its traditional farms. Here you can experience an authentic outdoor interpretation of rural life in Kerry in the 1930s and 1940s. Or, situated on the scenic Kerry coast, west of Killarney, you will find Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell, the Irish statesman who played an important role in gaining Catholic Emancipation in 1829. Together with 120 hectares it makes up Derrynane National Historic Park. →



woodlands and cascading waterfalls, at the edge of Kenmare Bay. Unwind at Easanna Spa, which includes an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and Voya and Elemis treatments. For active breaks, there is plenty to do without ever leaving the estate, including horse riding, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, falconry and kayaking. The surrounding area also offers golf, water-based sports, mountain climbing, chocolate making and pottery lessons.

Exploring the natural scenic wonders of coves and islands, beaches and bays dotted along this curvaceous coastline is an experience as real and raw as Ireland gets. This is a place to lose yourself, get that inner calm and learn to match the famously relaxed pace of the locals. One of the most luxurious hotels in County Kerry, Sheen Falls Lodge sits on a 300-acre estate just outside the heritage town of Kenmare. Offering a range of lavish guest rooms and sumptuous cuisine, Sheen Falls Lodge is an ideal place to relax, surrounded by magical

Dingle Peninsula and Great Blasket Island Ringed by sandy beaches and craggy cliffs, rolling hills and mountains, Dingle Peninsula is a beautifully untouched part of Ireland - west Kerry paradise at its best. With every turn leading down meandering country lanes to wild hedgerows, endless skies and cosy thatched pubs, it will steal your heart. Idyllic beaches include Inch Beach on the peninsula’s southern stretch, a known stargazing spot, and Beál Bán beach, an easy walk from Ballyferriter village, only really known to locals. Inland you cannot miss the 952m Mount Brandon - and in the westernmost point of the Dingle Peninsula, located in the barony of Corca Dhuibhne, Dunmore Head. Watch the roaring waves roll in towards the sea cliffs and breathe in the bracing sea air. Take a hike on the magnificent headland to appreciate the stunning scenery. Look out for the Blasket Islands in the distance and admire the miles of undulating coastline. Trek to the highest point and you will find an Ogham stone, a reminder of Ireland's ancient history, and see where the Spanish Armada ships, the Santa Maria de la Rosa and San Juan, perished in 1588. Spot seabirds swooping in the sky above you and marvel at the wildflowers dotted along the Dunmore Head Loop. →

Pictured: Horses and Sheen Falls Lodge, County Kerry



“Easily the grandest hotel in Ireland...”

Contact us for more details www.ballyfin.com | Tel: 057 8755866 | info@ballyfin.com

Have you ever visited a Gaeltacht village? Stop at Dún Chaoin where you are surrounded by more beautiful and picturesque walks, dramatic cliffs and more coastal scenery. 1km off the coast of Kerry is Great Blasket Island, where another abandoned village awaits you, otherwise the majority of the island is a wilderness site - a walker's paradise! Visit the Great Blasket Centre, at the halfway point of the Slea Head Drive, and learn more about the literature, language and way of life of the inhabitants of the Blasket Islands. Scene of many shipwrecks over the centuries and once the home of a close-knit fishing and farming community, they have been uninhabited since 1953. Take a memorable boat trip out to visit the jagged crag of Skellig Michael and the remarkable hermitage founded there by monks some 1,300 years ago. One of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country, Skellig Michael is an inhospitable rock rising out of the Atlantic covers an area of less than 50 acres. Monks settled on the rock during the 6th century; perched on a ledge and reached by an amazing 1,000-year-old stairway is an isolated early Christian monastery. Head further north along the coast to Ballydavid and you will reach Gallarus Oratory, the bestpreserved early Christian church in Ireland. Built between the seventh and eighth century Gallarus Oratory represents the apogee of dry-stone corbelling, using techniques first developed by Neolithic tomb makers. The stones were laid at a slight angle, lower on the outside then the inside to allow water to run off. According to local legend, if a person climbs out of the oratory via the window, their soul will be cleansed. This is, however, physically impossible,

Pictured: The Blasket Islands off the coast of Dingle, Adare Manor Stateroom, with views across the magnificent 840-acre estate in the heart of the picturesque village of Adare

because the window is approximately 18cm in length and 12cm in width! Once you're ready to settle down for the night, Adare Manor, set on a magnificent 840-acre estate in the heart of the picturesque village of Adare, is a neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, once the family seat of the Earls of Dunraven. Today it is defined by its spectacular setting, authentic historic character, and impeccable service - with Georgian-style furnishings, luscious textiles and marble bathrooms. Enjoy a plethora of activities in and around the sweeping estate of formal gardens, peaceful forests and rolling parklands. Falconry, archery, gun dog displays, fishing and more are conducted on site, with further adventures such as horseback riding and shooting available within a short drive of the Manor House. →



Golfers will be tempted by the prospect of a perfect round on the resort’s Tom Fazio designed championship golf course, which will be hosting the Ryder Cup in 2027, while Adare Manor boasts the only La Mer spa in the UK and Ireland. Just outside the Manor gates, the charming village of Adare is a beautiful blend of traditional thatched cottages, antique shops, boutiques and friendly pubs. THE BEST OF THE WEST In the western section of the Wild Atlantic Way you first reach Limerick, where your Dream Escape programme might involve coasteering – climbing, jumping, scrambling and swimming around the rock pools, cliffs and caves. Take a RIB tour of the Shannon Estuary featuring great wildlife and the historic Scattery Island, which contains the ruins of a 6th-century monastery, several medieval churches and a unique 10th-century round tower. Or why not veer off the coastal route and pay a visit to Limerick City? Here you could visit the newly redeveloped King John’s Castle, or experience local produce at Limerick’s Milk Market. Overnight, there are many wonderful hotels and private residences in this region. Stay a night or two at Glin Castle - Home for 800 years to the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin. The castle stands proudly in the middle of its 400-acre spectacular wooded demesne on the banks of the Shannon. It is

home to Catherine FitzGerald, an expert landscape designer, her family and Sooty the dog. This authentic Irish castle is also ideal for golfers who want to enjoy golf at the world-renowned Ballybunion links course – Doonbeg, Lahinch, Tralee and Adare are also within easy reach. Just imagine coming back from a day on the fairways to your very own castle with roaring fires and a hot toddy waiting. Outdoor pursuits include rough shooting and fishing on the Feale river at Listowel, cycling trips to explore the Kerry coast, visiting local private gardens and enjoying an afternoon tea with the owners. Back at the castle local traditional musicians will play during an Irish whiskey tasting evening in the hall, where there will be Irish dancing to accompany a botanical cocktail evening with an expert who makes his own cordials using botanicals from the Burren. Next on your journey might be the unmissable ‘Banner County’ of Clare. Iconic towering cliffs, an

Pictured left-right: Interior and exterior of Glin Castle a unique and historical property, Limerick; Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s top attractions; Gregans Castle Hotel is a stunning 18th Century manor house in the Burren 78


ancient limestone landscape, rocky National Park (the Burren) and quaint towns full of character, Clare, is a coastal county brimming with natural charm, big screen stardom and outstanding views. Start your day with a private visit to the Burren Perfumery, to meet owner Sadie Chowen, who makes natural and organic perfumes, soaps, and skincare products inspired by the surrounding flora. Stop for some Linnalla artisan ice-cream made at the edge of Flaggy Shore (made famous in the Seamus Heaney poem ‘Spirit Level’) using milk from the shorthorn cows native to the Burren. When hunger calls pop into the Hazel Mountain Chocolate Shop, a quirky café with gluten-free cakes and pastries, or head to the Burren Smokehouse, an Irish family-run producer of smoked fish. Meet local farmer, walking enthusiast and historian, Pat Sweeney, to take you on a private hike along the coastal trail, and above the Doolin cliffs, which lead to the stunning Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s top attractions. With the green fields on one side and the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean on the other, this is a unique way to experience the stunning views and breath-taking rural beauty. Overnight Gregans Castle Hotel is a stunning 18th Century manor house idyllically situated overlooking the unique Burren landscape, with breathtaking views across Galway Bay. Inside, guests will find welcoming open fires, candlelight and striking decoration ranging


Lonely Planet named the Burren Ecotourism Network in their ‘Best in Travel 2021’. It puts the area in the top 30 places to travel in the world and is a great credit to the local community who have worked so hard.

from modern art to antique furniture to pretty garden flowers adorning the rooms. The location is ideal for days out in the Burren, from exploring the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands to wild food walks. The hotel sits on the Burren Food Trail - a celebration of local, wild and seasonal produce of the Burren. Other local activities include horse-riding, surfing, sea angling and golf. Guests have included JRR Tolkien, who is said to have been influenced by the Burren when writing The Lord of the Rings, as well as other revered artists and writers such as Sean Scully and Seamus Heaney. a culinary tour around Galway, perhaps followed by a botanical cocktail evening, or private whiskey tasting experience is certain to be another highlight. →



Galway stretches from green fields and rich farmlands to the unique karst landscape of the Burren and into Galway city, the trout fishing capital of Europe, and along the wild, rugged coast. Galway has one of the highest densities of restaurants in Ireland and includes two of the country ‘s Michelin Star restaurants: Aniar and Loam. Galway is a city with a proud seafaring tradition and Galway Bay is one of the most celebrated oyster fisheries, where the native Irish oyster is widely prized as a delicacy in the later months of the year. Under the huge skies of north Mayo, you could spend an afternoon, with experts, foraging for food along the shoreline. Later you could dry your seaweed, and prepare a feast from what you have found. Or pop across to Ireland’s largest island – Achill Island – with its tall sea cliffs, bare mountains and sweeping sandy beaches and Deserted Village - not to mention delicious oysters served straightfrom-the-ocean! Back in Galway the off-the-beaten-track choices range from taking a walk out to the tidal island of Finish, to Irish music and dance classes, to catching lobster at Roundstone Harbour. Or head into the city to enjoy the delights of the Irish pub and music scene Pictured left-right: Glassilaun Beach, Co. Galway; Oak Hall, Ashford Castle, Lough Corrib



with ever-lively shopping streets providing much entertainment. And last, but by no means least, stay overnight at Ashford Castle - a remarkable 800-year-old castle, set in 350 acres of woodland on the shores of Lough Corrib - once home to the Guinness family. Discover exquisite interiors with unique artwork, Donegal crystal chandeliers, panelled oak walls and hand-carved fireplaces, and rich silks adorning the walls. Watch hawks soar at Ireland’s first School of Falconry; enjoy a round of golf on a course designed by Eddie Hackett and restore inner peace and harmony at the state-of-the-art spa. Take the lake cruise to explore the stunning scenery and surrounding islands or try your hand at the ancient pastimes of archery and clay shooting. There are over 25 activities on the Estate. Extraordinary dining experiences await in the Dungeon, the George V restaurant and in the wine cellars beneath the castle, with fine Irish cuisine made from fresh seasonal produce, homegrown ingredients from the estate and sourced locally from artisan suppliers. In the evening, retreat to the billiards room, watch a movie in the 32 seater cinema, try one of the 60 Irish whiskies in the Prince of Wales Bar or enjoy the very best entertainment in the Drawing Room. →

YOUR ROYAL ADVENTURE Your royal adventure begins when you enter through the grand stone gates of our remarkable castle. Discover our exquisite interiors, delicious cuisine, passionate team, a wealth of estate activities and state-of-the-art spa. As Ireland’s first Forbes five-star and former home of the Guinness family, we offer 800 years of history – 80 years of hospitality. Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo +353 (0) 9495 46003 | ashford@ashfordcastle.com ASHFORDCASTLE.COM


SLIEVE LEAGUE AND THE NORTH Wild, dramatic, majestic – standing at the top of the magnificent Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) cliffs, it feels like you are at the very edge of the world! Rising almost 2000ft from the Atlantic, the Slieve League Cliffs are known as the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe - over twice as high as their more famous ‘slightly distant’ cousins the Cliffs of Moher. From any of the designated viewing points, on a clear day you can see right across to Sligo and Leitrim and all the way to the mountains of the Mayo coast, Rathlin O' Byrne Island and Glencolmcille. Experienced hikers wishing to reach the highest point of Slieve League, take a narrow



Pictured left-right: The Slieve League Cliffs; Glenveagh National Park; Dunlewey, County Donegal; Glenveagh Castle on the shores of Lough Veagh

pathway to the intimidating One Man’s Pass, which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path. There is nothing quite like standing 609m above the sea on top of the Slieve League cliffs, but there are equally breath-taking ways to survey some of Europe’s tallest sea cliffs. You might prefer an incredible bird’s-eye view from a private helicopter, or to soak up the vista during an intimate boat charter. Whichever you choose the views of these majestic cliffs experienced from the ocean, land, or air - will be equally spectacular. If by boat, on warmer days you could take a dip in the ocean – and swim in the clear waters, where dolphins, whales and seals are often spotted peaking up from beneath the

waves, and birds will swoop overhead to nest in the nooks of the cliffs. If on foot, before you get to the cliffs be sure to pop into the award-winning Slieve League Cliffs Centre run by husband and wife team Paddy and Siobhan Clarke. Once a deep sea fisherman for twenty years, Paddy earned a masters in archaeology and qualified as a Failte Ireland tour guide, in heritage and hiking. Their craft shop stocks locally made knitwear and artworks and, in summertime, you can even catch a traditional Irish music session. At the base of the cliffs do not miss the imposing Giant’s Desk and Chair, while megalithic tombs revive mythical links to Finn McCool and the Fiona of old. Let your adventure continue, taking you back inland to Donegal. There are a million reasons to visit this wild and wonderful county, from the rich cultural heritage to the breath-taking adventures, incredible landscapes, towering peaks, rugged coastlines and a host of golden beaches. Be sure to take time to visit the majestic Portsalon, once voted the second most beautiful beach in the world. Nine miles off the coast of Donegal you might enjoy a private boat charter to explore Tory Island and meet their king! The island is today home to a community of artists, as well as 130 Gaelic Villagers led by their very own king. The Tau Cross carved from a single slab of slate and a place of prayer for fisherman heading out to sea, is a must see. You might like us to arrange you a private visit to McNutt of Donegal, producer of fine Irish weaves for over 60 years - or perhaps a private experience to meet the family behind the famous Magee Tweed. Head into the Derryveagh Mountains and beautiful Glenveagh National Park, a wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and oak woodlands. Surrounded by the Derryveagh Mountains, Glenveagh National Park's remoteness only heightens its haunting beauty. This vast wilderness boasts the largest herd of Red Deer in Ireland and has also reintroduced the Golden Eagle to Irish Shores.

Head into the Derryveagh “Mountains and beautiful

Glenveagh National Park, a wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and oak woodlands.

And for the pièce de résistance, Glenveagh Castle on the shores of Lough Veagh is another must constructed in 1867, the castle was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic Highland retreat, while the castle gardens still retain their original Victorian layout and are considered a horticulturist masterpiece. Meet the Gardener and enjoy a private tour - of note are the Walled Garden, Italian Terrace and Tuscan Garden. If you fancy learning a bit of the language in a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area to see you on your way, we can put Glen Columbkille on your route. Here you can watch hand weavers at work and take away a piece of Donegal tweed at Studio Donegal in Kilcar, while another great stop is Leo’s Tavern, the home of the first lady of Celtic music, Moya Brennan of Clannad fame and her world-renowned sister Enya. →



Pictured: Deer on the private estate of Coopershill. David finishing his Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Challenge, an epic 2195 km cycle from Kinsale to Muff, Co. Donegal, along steep coastal roads, twisting mountain climbs and welcoming towns and villages. Click here for more.

Overnight the private estate, Coopershill will be certain not to disappoint. Set in an idyllic corner of Sligo, inland from the coast on an estate boasting 500 acres of mature woodland, deer pastures and a river, this gorgeous country house has been the beloved family home of the O’Haras for eight generations. Explore the rugged Sligo countryside, mountains, lakes, megalithic tombs and stunning beaches. You might also enjoy kayaking, horse riding and fishing - and don’t leave before experiencing one of Sligo's famous seaweed baths! Back on the 500-acre estate take a stroll through the woods and deer pastures - a haven for wildlife including red squirrels, pine martens, fallow deer, woodpeckers and Irish stoats. Follow the Hawk Walk before heading back inside for a gin and tonic beside an open log fire. Back in Donegal, you might want to complete your journey with an overnight stay in the magnificent Lough Eske Castle – where your own Castle suite, or secret hideaway, Lake Lodge, awaits. Set within 43 acres of forest at the foot of the mountains, this stunning castle boasts a luxurious spa and beautiful gardens. An ultimate sanctuary for relaxation – the perfect end to your unforgettable tour of the Wild Atlantic Way!

TIMES TO TREASURE Wherever your Dream Escape takes you along this amazing road trip, you will encounter moments of magic, times to treasure and experiences that capture your senses. Colourful cottages, windswept lighthouses, and luxury accommodation will give you all the comfort to retreat to after each day’s adventure, and a traditional Irish breakfast will set you up for the next days’ encounters, be it with surfers, swimmers, walkers, kayakers, artists, storytellers, and islanders. Once experienced never forgotten. You will soon want to come back and lose yourself again in this winding, thrilling piece of coastline, the place they call Ireland. Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Emer Mortell, Head of Sales “I have very fond childhood memories of touring the picturesque loop at the heart of Co. Kerry with my parents, three brothers and sister, the rugged islands, white-sandy beaches and dramatic mountain passes - we were experiencing Ireland at its wildest! My best advice? Go slow, savour the sights, get off the beaten track with Dream Escape, and see what has made this driving route one of the most popular on the island of Ireland.” ⬩ emer@dreamescape.co.uk






Adare Manor:

The Padel Club


T THE PADEL CLUB, guests can explore a wide range of invigorating and restorative activities. The club takes its name from its two custom-built indoor padel courts. They are the first of their kind in Ireland, ready to welcome players of all levels, from first-timers to seasoned pros. A cherished heritage of Irish hospitality has been distilled into the spirit of welcome you feel within these walls. Adare Manor was a labour of love from the very start, created to delight, astonish and impress. That legacy is vividly alive in the manor house itself: sumptuously restored, brimming with gothic splendor and perfectly appointed in every detail. It is reflected by a world-class team whose personalised, intimate service centres you in the heart of the home. As you roam the 840 acres of pristine parkland, dine in the Michelin star restaurant, play your way through the magnificent golf course, and sound the depths of relaxation in the spa, you will start to understand the soul of Adare Manor. It’s prestige without pretense and magic without nonsense. Above all, it is the sense of belonging. You are known. You are family. You are home. Another exciting feature of the club is the cuttingedge Sports Simulation Room, where guests can take technical golf lessons, get in some putting practice or virtually try their hand at a host

Tranquillity. Warmth. Movement. These three words are the essence of Adare Manor’s dedicated new activity centre. Nestled deep within the estate’s peaceful woodlands, this beautiful space provides a holistic experience of wellness and recreation of sports such as baseball, hockey, soccer and footgolf. The Padel Club’s world-class facilities continue with a 17-metre swimming pool with sauna and steam room as well as a full gym (featuring peloton bikes and water rower) and a contemplative studio. No matter what the Irish weather may be doing at any given moment, The Padel Club offers an exhilarating outlet for exercise and fun.

→ www.adaremanor.com, +35361605200 dreamescapemagazine.com


Pictured: The Italian Chapel, a Catholic chapel built during World War II by Italian prisoners, located on Lamb Holm in the Orkney islands, Scotland


Idyllic Islands

Shrouded in legend and mystery, the Orkneys and the Outer and Inner Hebrides are remarkable parts of Scotland, with breath-taking landscapes and a rich abundance of history







OME TO UNESCO World Heritage Sites, some older than the Pyramids, traces of Viking legacies, Neolithic sites, haunting wartime remains, and beaches and seascapes to rival the very best in the world, this has to be one of the mustdo trips of a lifetime. As part of a Dream Escape programme navigating to each of the islands is all part of the adventure, and helps make it an even more memorable experience. The Orkneys hold some of the finest examples of Neolithic craftsmanship and earliest stone circles in Britain, dating back to at least 3100 BC. Known as the “Big Four”, these riveting displays of an ancient time are treasured at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site where our journey begins. Most impressive and striking is the settlement known as



Skara Brae, Europe’s most complete Neolithic village, with its eight clustered houses dating back to a time before Stonehenge was built. Dream Escape can arrange a very special, private twilight tour of the settlement as well as the rare chance to enter one of the delicate houses, not ordinarily open to the public. A truly enthralling experience, this is a special moment to reflect upon its inhabitants whilst listening to haunting stories from an expert guide. From an ancient past to more recent history, you can visit Scapa Flow, a great natural harbour that was a vital naval base during both World Wars. From here, it’s on to the uninhabited island of Lamb Holm, with its remarkable Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II. The chapel was lovingly restored in 1960 by the artist Domenico Chiocchetti, Pictured: The Italian Chapel, Orkney. A prisoners of war hut converted to a chapel by Italian prisoners of war during World War II

who was responsible for the original design, and it remains a touching token of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Orkney’s capital – Kirkwall – is another fascinating stop and home to Britain’s most northerly Cathedral, dating from the 12th century. It has a violent Viking past, and still houses some wonderful ancient buildings including the Bishop’s Palace, which was built around the same time as the Cathedral, and the Earl’s Palace, built around 1600 for Earl Robert Stewart, an illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland. The Islands are also famous for their numerous distilleries, from the smallest in the world, Valhalla Brewery, to a string of brand-new haunts. For true whisky aficionados, Dream Escape arranges an exclusive behind the scenes visit to the most northerly of Scotland’s distilleries, visiting parts that are usually off-limits, and that have been opened for a tutored

unique spirit of each island and offers an introduction into this unique way of life.

tasting of four spectacular vintages – 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1976 – and the chance to sample from an exclusive single cask bottling in front of a crackling fire. Or you might enjoy taking a private jet to reach these far-flung stills for private whisky tasting and long lunches in hidden bothies! Island hopping in The Outer Hebrides captures the unique spirit of each island and offers an introduction into this unique way of life. Lewis is the largest and northernmost island of the archipelago and is home to the awe-inspiring stones at Calanais, another famed prehistoric site dating from around 3000 BC. Blackhouse Museum is also a ‘must’ for those truly wanting to understand the crofting way of life once widespread on these isles. →


Pictured: Calanais stones in sunset light, Lewis, Scotland

Island hopping in The “Outer Hebrides captures the




Overnight, enjoy a luxury stay in a rather more contemporary take on one of these traditional island houses - think Scandistyle interiors, complete with floor to ceiling windows and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Famed for its white beaches, clear waters and coastline, there is nowhere better than the Isle of Harris for a bracing walk along the beach before stopping to pick up some worldfamous Harris Tweed. Finally, head off to the most remote part of the British Isles, St Kilda. St Kilda’s islands, with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacks,



Pictured: Seilebost Beach on Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, looking over the Sound of Taransay and the Atlantic Ocean

form the most important seabird breeding station in northwest Europe. The earliest written records of island life here date from the late-Middle Ages and since then, the population has probably never exceeded 180.

earliest written records “ofThe island life here date from

the late-Middle Ages and since then, the population has probably never exceeded 180

The remaining population, some 36 residents that were known as St Kildans, were evacuated on 29 August 1930 from Hirta, the only inhabited island, to the Scottish mainland – at their own request. Today, the island is a World Heritage Site and is one of only 24 global locations to be awarded “mixed” World Heritage Status for its natural and cultural significance. Currently, the only year-round residents are military personnel; and a variety of conservation workers, volunteers and scientists spend time there in the summer months. This fascinating journey through the Orkneys, the Inner and Outer Hebrides is packed with history, inspirational stories of old and new, and raw Scottish beauty all washed down with a little water of life. It is time to step back into the present and leave the past and this bygone era behind.

Pictured: The main street of ruined and restored cottages on Hirta, the main island of the St Kilda archipelago

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Annika Busam, Creative Planner "Whenever anyone asks me where my favourite place in Scotland is, there is no hesitation before I answer: The islands. There is something very special about an island vacation. Perhaps it is the fresh sea air or the feeling of leaving everyday life at home. Whether you are feeling active, cultural, competitive or relaxed, our team are always best placed to create the perfect combination." ⬩ annika@dreamescape.co.uk



Behind the Scenes

Equestrian Experiences & Events

Plan a visit to one of Britain’s most-loved racing festivals, accompanied by an expert guide - as part of your Dream Escape




REAM ESCAPE BUILDS unique and exciting programmes around key events in the UK & Ireland racing season, such as Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot, and Galway Races. Dream Escape blends these cultural and historic visits with the finest of accommodation and dining, to ensure these very special, one-off experiences are themed seamlessly and deliver a holiday of a lifetime. With connections and insider knowledge that is second-to-none, the Dream Escape team can not only arrange VIP box experiences, but also access to Royal Enclosures and Parade Rings, as well as exclusive access to racing teams and invite-only events. Going racing with Dream Escape is the absolute best way to feel the thrill of the race but also the luxury of this longheld British country pursuit. At Cheltenham Racecourse, for instance, set in the rolling Cotswold Hills, the Festival is the jewel in its sporting crown. Its threetiered grandstand and terraces provide unparalleled views across the racecourse, and the countryside beyond, and the sense of excitement in town when ‘the Festival’ arrives

is palpable. Cheltenham is one of the oldest race-meets in Britain, and has been running for over a century. A key part of the British high society season and a favourite with the royal family, it is a bucket-list event for many. In 2021, the 28 races will still be going ahead, and promise to each offer something to savour, although it might have to be behind closed doors - with you instead enjoying the action from the comfort of your own home. A few months later, in June, when the British ‘season’ is in full swing, Royal Ascot provides the perfect venue for soaking up the atmosphere of the summer scene. One of Britain's most well-known racecourses, Ascot holds a special week of races each year called Royal Ascot, which are attended by The Queen, who is a keen racer and has been a horse-lover since childhood. Each day of the week begins with a Royal Procession, when The Queen and accompanying members of the Royal Family arrive along the track in horse-drawn landaus. They then spend the day watching the races from the Royal Enclosure. Towards the end of July, the racing season continues in Ireland at Galway Races, Ireland’s biggest and most famous racing festival. This joyous, fun-filled seven days showcases the best of horse-racing and is renowned for its warm and spirited atmosphere, with many of the major studs, breeders and trainers from across Ireland in attendance. Not to be missed →

Pictured left-right: Spectators enjoying Royal Ascot; Ascot parade ring; horses walk around in preparation of meeting their jockeys before the race. dreamescapemagazine.com



is the The Blue Riband race, which takes place on the third day of the meeting and is a race central to the history of Galway, while Galway Festival Ladies Day is on the fourth day of the Festival and one of the most colourful and exciting days of the competition. Experience the races as a true insider with exclusive access and a wide-range of events and experiences arranged by Dream Escape around the racing, and accompanied by an expert guide. Sally Strange, Dream Escape's Blue Badge Guide and Development Manager is also a keen racegoer and says: “Over the years we have arranged many wonderful experiences for clients around the major horse racing events. A particular favourite of mine has to be Royal Ascot - bringing clients into the Royal Enclosure and Parade Ring never disappoints.” Getting dressed up for the races is also a very important part of the event, and Royal Ascot especially is a veritable fashion showcase of the most creative millinery and striking design. “We always include a personal shopping trip and visit to a designer milliner as part of the itinerary,” explains Sally. “It’s such a fabulous additional touch to any trip.” Being in the presence of royalty at the races is, of course, also an incredible honour and privilege, and



mixing with the elite in the royal boxes at Cheltenham and Ascot means knowing all the little nuances of the English upper classes. Dream Escape can arrange lessons in British manners and etiquette beforehand, at stunning venues such as Highclere Castle. “We love introducing our clients to British heritage and our infamous high society and country life,” says Sally. While, after the races, you might enjoy a visit to the many private studs and leading stables in England that we have Pictured above and below: Spectators enjoying Galways Traces; HM The Queen at Ascot; Full Length Red Tartan Marlborough Trench Coat, hollandcooper.com; Friends cheering at Royal Ascot


There is no particular dress code at Cheltenham, but you can expect to see plenty of tweed, as well as people wrapped up in chic coats and striking hats against the - often bracing - early spring weather


Mixing with the elite in the royal box at Cheltenham and Royal Ascot means knowing all the little nuances of the English upper classes. Dream Escape will also arrange private etiquette classes, which can prepare you for prestigious royal events and are a lovely little add-on to a trip, providing a wonderful insight into royal protocol.

access to, such as Kingsclere in the Cotswolds, where we will meet the trainers and breeders. “All these pre and post visits are so often the cherry on the cake, and a lovely little add-on to a trip, providing a wonderful insight into royal protocol, training, breeding and the wonderful world of racing,” adds Sally.


— If these equestrian experiences fire your enthusiasm for racing, why not make Ireland – the home of racehorse breeding - the next stop on your tour.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk For more information on these and other events, get in touch with either Sally, Rosie or the planning team on: enquiries@dreamescape.co.uk ⬩

Dream Escape has personal connections with some of the most renowned stud owners in the country, and can arrange private tours and stays at the estates such as Kilshannig House, the home of Hugh Merry. These visits can also include meeting trainers and breeders as well as the horses; while the estates themselves are steeped in history, many of which are wonderful examples of Georgian architecture, with private art collections and artefacts dating back to the 1800’s. You may also want to take some time out to visit the National Stud of Ireland, an experience that “never disappoints and appeals to not just horse lovers, but anyone wanting to experience the beauty of Irish racing,” says Dream Escape's Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie. The stud, situated in the beautiful landscape of County Kildare, has recently opened a new state-of-the-art visitor centre and horse museum; and don’t miss a stroll through the wonderful Japanese Gardens, a treat for everyone and one of Rosie’s favourite experiences. dreamescapemagazine.com




Connect with the countryside in remote, windswept locations, surrounded by forests, nature and parkland. Dream Escape will find you the perfect countryside retreat to find fresh air and sanctuary. From your own private lodge, stunning Georgian home, cosy cabin, chic country house to a luxury remote treehouse, we hope you enjoy our selection of places to stay during your escape to the wilderness



Glenfeshie Lodge —

If our article on the Cairngorms National Park (p108) has inspired you, then you need look no further than this beautiful private lodge, carefully handpicked for completing your ancient Caledonian experience. Glenfeshie Lodge, belonging to WildLand, is set in 45,000 acres of woodlands intersected by sparkling rivers and lochs, encircled by a mountain-massif which is the most extensive and wildest of its kind in Britain - the centre of an ambitious privately undertaken 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes within the Cairngorms National Park. ⬩ dreamescapemagazine.com



NORTON HALL — Built in the 1820s Nor­ton Hall is a love­ly late Geor­gian house with spec­tac­u­lar views over the North Cotswold coun­try­side. Peace­ful­ly seclud­ed, set in ancient park­land and sur­round­ed by a wild gar­den, pri­vate arbore­tum and work­ing farm. This much loved fam­i­ly home offers plen­ty of space, sleeping up to 18 guests, with draw­ing room featuring a grand piano, a small­er sit­ting room with fire­place, perfect for a qui­et chat or after­noon tea with a book, a TV room, snook­er room with a full size table, super com­fy beds and amaz­ing views. ⬩


RATHMULLAN HOUSE — Set in tranquil wooded grounds overlooking Lough Swilly at the northern tip of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way coastline, (see p68) Rathmullan House offers an idyllic setting. The original house was built in the 1760s, in the 1800s it became the country residence of the Batt family, founders of the Belfast bank (now the Northern and Northern Irish Bank). Today it is a

luxury country house hotel, with awardwinning restaurant, owned by the second generation of the Wheeler family. The house’s gardens are a stone's throw from the 3km long sandy beach, while the spa sauna and holistic treatments are a gentl,e alternative to the great outdoors. ⬩




THE PIG CABIN — Part of the much-loved collection of small lifestyle restaurants with rooms, this is the original PIG, tucked away in the heart of the New Forest. Relax and indulge in fresh, clean food sourced from the kitchen garden then take a leisurely bike ride to the beautiful village of nearby Beaulieu. Then, to truly experience the natural beauty of the New Forest and everything it has to offer, you might enjoy a foraging tour with THE PIG’s foraging expert Garry Eveleigh – also known as The Wild Cook, who has foraged for many world-renowned chefs including Rick Stein (see p52), Mark Hix and Angela Hartnett.⬩


Private Castles Dream Escape also offer a special collection of Private Residences from around the UK and Ireland. In our Summer issue we will be featuring our favourite exclusive-use Castles Pictured right: Glin Castle, Ireland


THE YEWS TREEHOUSE, CHEWTON GLEN — Immerse yourself in earthy tranquillity in this beautifully exclusive retreat. Take a digital detox and relax by the wood burner while your private chef prepares a delicious meal to order. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings from the outdoor hot tub. There's also under-floor heating, mood lighting, and even a hatch where delicious deliveries (such as your breakfast hamper) can be made in the most discreet way possible, combining unparalleled privacy with ultimate indulgence.⬩

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk All the accommodation we use is handpicked carefully to match the needs of our clients. We have very strong personal relationships with each and every property, all of which are visited by our team regularly. You can therefore chat to anyone in the team for their personal recommendations with confidence or email enquiries@dreamescape.co.uk⬩




The Brecon Beacons



Head to the heart of Wales to experience undulating hills, breathtaking scenery and its unique Celtic culture Pictured left-right: Stroking a llama with mountains behind; Brecon Beacons; Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons' tallest mountain



HE THIRD OF THREE National Parks in Wales, a visit to the Brecon Beacons, with its snow-tipped peaks, tumbling mountain sides, cascading waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, incredible stargazing and endless walking trails to explore, is a must when visiting Wales. Sometimes referred to as "the central Beacons" the Brecon Beacons mountain range spans 500 square miles and includes South Wales' highest mountain, Pen y Fan. Not only is it incredibly beautiful, but it has an impressive cultural heritage. Noted attractions include the weathered remains of Carreg Cennen Castle, and, for those feeling brave and strong on foot, there's an underground tunnel to see the natural cave that lies buried deep in the castle rock, used as a storeroom and as the dungeon. If you would like to take a walk on the wild side and experience the Brecon Beacons as part of your next Dream Escape tailor made holiday, then we hope you will enjoy our take on how best to experience such a special national park, and to embrace the beauty of the landscape and the natural habitat.


CLIMB TO THE TOP OF PEN Y FAN No trip to the Brecon Beacons is complete without climbing to the top of its tallest mountain Pen y Fan (pronounced “Pen - A - Van”). Sitting 886 metres (almost 3,000 feet) above sea level, reaching the summit of this impressive peak you are guaranteed panoramic views for miles

of valleys, lakes and the deep greens of the Welsh countryside. Enjoy a private guided walk to reach the summit with a number of routes you can take, differing in difficulty and length. Let us arrange to take you there in the summer and you’ll be accompanied by wild sheep and ponies. In the winter, you’ll be surrounded by snow, ice and crisp, fresh air. →


PONY TREKKING To explore the Welsh great outdoors, but less so on foot, pony trekking is a fantastic way to experience the Brecon Beacons. Suitable for both beginners and seasoned riders alike, Dream Escape work with the best local pony trekking schools to give you a tour of the undulating landscapes of mid-Wales and to provide an insight to its historic past.


STARGAZING Wrap up warm, head outside and cast your eyes out to the Milky Way. The Brecon Beacons are well-known as an excellent stargazing location because of its sparse population and limited light pollution - making it an International Dark Sky Reserve. Sugar Loaf Mountain and Carreg Cennen are amongst our favoured spots from which to view the night’s sky. You might wish for your Dream Escape to include a trip your own personal local astronomer, so that you can explore the stars and constellations through a telescope.





FLY-FISHING ON THE RIVER USK Unwind by the River Usk for a spot of fly fishing with your own guide. Learn about tackle, flies and the local ecosystem whilst you fish - long known as a place to catch wild brown trout, your chances of reeling something in are high. There’s also a chance you may see an otter! Complete your day with some further relaxation staying at the tranquil luxury retreat, one of our Dream Escape preferred partners, Llangoed Hall. This is the perfect base for enjoying the Brecon Beacons and many more country pursuits, including archery, falconry and mountain biking.

Pictured left-righ: Exploring the Brecon Beacons on a pony trek; Carreg Cennen Castle; Llyn y Fan Fach



CANALS For something a little bit different you might like Dream Escape to arrange a relaxing trip down the scenic Brecon and Monmouthshire canal aboard the UK's first hybrid-electric holiday narrowboat. Sit back and relax, letting your skipper guide you, or if you prefer, self-drive, navigating this 36 mile waterway. Watch the world go by as you as you cruise the glistening waters, passing through numerous charming villages, with endless amazing views of the countryside, and an abundance of wildlife.


WILD SWIMMING IN LLYN Y FAN FACH As part of your Dream Escape itinerary you might like to start your day taking a dip amidst the beautiful Welsh mountains. A high lake in the shadow of the Black Mountain, Llyn y Fan Fach sits in a sheltered bowl with stony, gently shelving sides. Reaching up to eighteen metres in depth, it’s the perfect spot for diving and practising your underwater swimming technique. Located towards the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Llyn y Fan Fach is astonishingly beautiful and, according to legend, the home of a lake nymph.


CARREG CENNEN CASTLE Like all of Wales, the Brecon Beacons are steeped in a rich history and hold evidence of bygone skirmishes between the English and Welsh. The weathered remains of Carreg Cennen Castle can be found impressively perched on a limestone crag, despite being demolished by Yorkist forces during the Wars of the Roses. Dream Escape will take you on a visit to experience its underground tunnel and natural cave, once used as a storeroom and dungeon. Step back in time with one of our selected guides to learn more about this fascinating place and one of the most famous wars in British history. →



Pictured left-right: An autumnal scene at Scwd Ddwli in the Brecon Beacons. Waterfall and pool, with rocks in the flowing water and autumn leaves; Penderyn Distillery; Calm waters of Llyn Cwm Llwch lake


THE FOUR WATERFALLS WALK Known as Waterfall Country, a private guide arranged by Dream Escape, can accompany you on a spectacular walk near Aberdare, as you follow the river Mellte and experience the



beauty of Welsh woodlands. This 5.2 mile walk takes you past four waterfalls and provides you with the opportunity to walk behind a shimmering curtain of water before the river vanishes into the largest cave entrance in Wales.



PENDERYN DISTILLERY Private whisky tours and experiences are a highly popular addition to our Dream Escape programmes - and a visit to the Penderyn Distillery, a Welsh gem found in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, is no exception. Penderyn Distillery produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits - Dream Escape can arrange a private guided tour to see the mill, mash tun, innovative single copper-pot Penderyn stills and of course, sample some of the range in the Tasting Bar. For the more avid enthusiasts, a private Masterclass provides the opportunity to learn even more.


EAT AND DRINK LIKE A LOCAL If you would like to experience what it’s like to be a local in Wales, Dream Escape can arrange for you to take a trip to Brecon town centre where you might like to make a special visit to the Tap. This cosy pub offers a mouth-watering selection of homemade savoury pies and a range of both local and international beers -not to mention, freshly made Welsh cake!

Find out more

was invested in 1969. The striking mountains of Snowdonia lie behind; this area is crossed by narrow-gauge heritage railways that once Michael Davies, Creative Planner carried slate from quarries that are now crossed Michael Davies, is our Wales expert for good by zip wires! My grandfather hailed from a rural reason and is the perfect person to get in touch district near the English border; although often with to create a Welsh holiday of a lifetime; bypassed, there are some impressive places to "I am proud to have had grandparents who came visit including the historic home of the Earl of from North Wales. My grandmother grew up Powis, the highest waterfall in Wales, and the in Caernarfon, where Welsh is spoken as the longest canal aqueduct in Great Britain." local language; this coastal town is dominated ⬩ by the turreted castle where the Prince of Wales michael@dreamescape.co.uk







Cairngorms National Park Scotland:

Pictured: Still lake in early morning light, Loch Morlich, Cairngorms National Park

With Dream Escape's unrivalled knowledge of the Cairngorms, our experienced experts, headed up by Lesley Scott, will design you an all encompassing supreme journey, to include luxury accommodation and all the daytime highlights. With acres to explore, from immersing yourself in the ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, picturesque rivers and native wildlife, to reaching the summit of Scotland’s highest mountains - here's just a pick of the best when visiting the UK’s largest National Park dreamescapemagazine.com



NE OF THE COUNTRY’S most unique and cared for landscapes, Cairngorms National Park is home to more wildlife than you can shake a capercaillie at - that’s a vast woodland grouse native bird of Scotland by the way! Expect to see red squirrels, reindeer, eagles and capercaillies in this spectacular mountainous area - the largest of its kind in the UK, covering approximately 1, 800 square miles. Cairngorms National Park is also where you will find six of the UK's highest mountains with 55 Munros - a term that is applied to a peak over 3000ft. Here are six outdoor adventures that we at Dream Escape believe should be essential on every Cairngorms travel wishlist! GOING ON A COUNTRYSIDE RAMBLE One way to explore the Cairngorm's beautiful countryside is by walking a loop around Loch Morlich. Set in the heart of Glenmore Forest, Loch Morlich offers extraordinary views of the northern Cairngorm mountains. This 3.75-mile route is all the more charming because of the sheer diversity of the natural surroundings; you’ll experience a mountain backdrop, beaches and pine-scented forests.

Another great ramble is to head off the beaten track (accompanied by your own Dream Escape private guide) to explore Ballochbuie Forest, a designated Special Area due to its importance for breeding golden eagles. This beautiful part of the country is relatively seldom visited nowadays. Still, Queen Victoria must have appreciated it when she saved it from being felled in 1878, instead having it added to the royal Balmoral Estate. Lasting around half a day, during this experience you will cover around four miles. Your private guide will point out local high spots, including mighty Lochnagar - a pointed summit rising high above one of Scotland's most beautiful corries. Keeping with the royal theme, you might also enjoy seeing Queen Victoria’s favourite view from the crashing Garbhallt Falls and a cottage hideaway where, years later, HM The Queen Mother held her legendary picnics. Pictured left-right: Loch Morlich; A Red Deer Stag, Kincraig; A canoeist on Loch Morlich; Candacraig a stunning, exclusive-use, luxury Highland estate




Originally built in the 17th “century, Candacraig House

was enlarged in the Scottish baronial style with its pepper pot turrets and crow-stepped dormer windows in 1836.

LIVING LIKE A LOCAL There is no better way to connect with a National Park than a Dream Escape immersive experience, to view it through the eyes of an experienced local - and in the case of the Cairngorms, Katy and Julian are all you need. Their passion and knowledge of the Cairngorms spans history, mountains, nature and wildlife. They will take you on a privately guided walk through huge forests sharing their stories as you go, and if you wish, their wonderful springer spaniel, Mac may also come along for a stretch of his paws. There may be the chance of a spot of light foraging, discovering delights in Scotland’s wild larder, building a bird-house and showing you evidence of both left and right-pawed squirrels. Finish the day with a taste of genuine Scottish hospitality at its very best, dining with Katy and Julian. You will be welcomed into a real home with no menus or waiters - and treated as special guests of the family. Expect a wonderful evening, dining on traditional fare which is usually prepared and cooked by the host, often including popular dishes such as local smoked salmon or venison casserole, with the option of a well-deserved warming whisky.

STAYING IN A LUXURY PRIVATE CASTLE Find sanctuary retreating to Candacraig, a stunning, exclusive-use, luxury castle, and Dream Escape preferred partner. Nestled in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Candacraig is steeped in history and surrounded by the wild beauty of the Cairngorms. This breathtaking baronial mansion is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Originally built in the 17th century, Candacraig House was enlarged in the Scottish baronial style, with its pepper pot turrets and crow-stepped dormer windows, in 1836. It has been extended several times over the years and was reconstructed in 1955, retaining its Scottish style. Current owners Lynne and Marc Lino, originally →



Pictured left-right: Whisky room at Candacraig; Cairngorm Reindeer; Signposts to footpaths in the Cairngorms National Park; Balmoral, the Scottish holiday home to the Royal Family.

The period property features a “ whisky library with an impressive

selection of single malts following many years of collecting.

from New York, bought the property from famous comedian and actor Billy Connolly in 2014. Putting their heart and soul into lovingly restoring the 12 bedroom residence and grounds - they have a truly magical setting for guests to escape to. The period property features stunning Scottish architecture, a billiards room and whisky library with an impressive selection of single malts following many years of collecting. As a Dream Escape guest, you can enjoy full access to 18 acres of private woodland and manicured lawns, including a large Victorian walled garden, a lochan fed by the celebrated River Don and a woodland bonfire area – a very special spot to enjoy a dram by



the fire. Candacraig has numerous options for walks, ranging from a leisurely stroll through the grounds to challenging mountain hikes. If you prefer to cycle Candacraig has a selection of routes ranging from leisurely cycles down country roads to guided mountain bike rides on some terrific trails around Deeside. Also available as part of your Dream Escape programme are falconry displays and demonstrations, conducted by an ex-gamekeeper and expert falconer. His display includes a dozen or more different species typically including a “child-friendly” barn owl, falcons, hawks and the very impressive eagles, eagle owls, even a vulture! Archery is available on the grounds of Candacraig, and can be geared towards either the beginner or expert, with several targets - or why not head out to the nearby Glen Tanar Equestrian Centre, noted for their lovely Norwegian Fjord horses. The centre provides a great base from which to ride out into the hills and glens around Deeside. Discover Glenbuchat Castle, a nearby ruined tower house sheltering spooky nooks and crannies, and stairs to climb offering a wide-ranging view - or Braemar Castle situated in the heart of the stunning landscape of the Cairngorms National Park. Thrill-seekers should include in their Dream Escape programme a visit the Deeside Gliding Club for a unique aerial experience involving a tug aircraft towing a glider up to 2000ft, at which point an instructor casts off, providing 45 magnificent minutes in the air, with the instructor even allowing temporary piloting!


MEETING THE CAIRNGORM REINDEERS We will often tell our Dream Escape guests they can’t leave the Cairngorms without a special encounter with the Cairngorm Reindeers! The only free-range herd in the country, re-introduced to the park in 1952 and now 150-strong. Accompanied by an experienced reindeer herder, you will be guided up the mountainside where the main herd lives all year round. The reindeer’s soft velvet noses mean that they are a delight to hand-feed with their endearing and friendly nature - an unforgettable experience!

HM THE QUEEN’S FAVOURITE RESIDENCE You might like to follow in the footsteps of royalty and travel through Royal Deeside to visit the Balmoral Estate - made famous by Netflix's seasons of The Crown – however the actual royal estate cannot be used as a filming location, so instead, the cast and crew shoot on the Highland sporting estate of Ardverikie. The real Balmoral Estate was purchased by Prince Albert in 1852 as a gift for his beloved wife and since then successive generations of the Royal Family →



have adopted the area as their tranquil retreat. Balmoral remains a working estate and is widely thought to be HM The Queen’s favourite residence, and where she spends each summer holiday. She is well known to explore on horseback or, more famously, behind the wheel of a Range Rover! Get immersed in the history suffused into this magnificent castle and talk about its extraordinary connection to the Royal Family, starting with Queen Victoria, for whom the estate was originally purchased. Visit the Ballroom, which houses a collection of fine art and is the largest room in the Castle or spend some time wandering the three-acre gardens with a semi-circular wall of rocks surrounding a wonderful fountain, Victorian glasshouses and conservatory, which displays flowering pot plants throughout the year. A water garden has been formed to the west of the main garden, in the trees between Garden Cottage and the West Drive. Tucked away, slightly hidden from view is a life-sized statue of John Brown which Queen Victoria had commissioned following his death. Close to Balmoral Castle, stands Crathie Kirk. This pretty granite kirk was built in 1895 with the proceeds of a bazaar held at Balmoral Castle and is where HM The Queen and other members of the Royal family attend services when staying at Balmoral. Accompanied by one of the Estate Factors, Dream Escape can arrange for you to enjoy a private Land Rover tour of the Balmoral Estate - which covers some 20,000 acres in total. This journey takes you through the




Pictured left and right: Bird's-eye view of the Cairngorms National Park - such a special landscape and with a beautiful natural habitat to explore.

One of the largest whisky-producing “regions in Scotland, the Highlands is a

veritable paradise for lovers of a wee dram!

manicured parkland and gardens at the front of the Castle deep into the forest – a haven for wildlife including red deer and grouse – with the chance to enjoy views of Lochnagar, one of Scotland’s most famous mountains. You may wish to enjoy lunch at The Rothesay Rooms as part of your Dream Escape programme - located a short drive away in the village of Ballater. The restaurant is a collaborative project between local groups and Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland. Decorated in traditional Highland style throughout, the relaxed interior boasts an array of antiques and bespoke wooden tables, with plenty of the vibrant Duke of Rothesay tartan on show. TAKING AN EXCLUSIVE WHISKY DISTILLERY TOUR Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities, attracting visitors from all over the world. One of the largest whiskyproducing regions in Scotland, the Highlands is a veritable paradise for lovers of a wee dram! Dream Escape will arrange a private tour with a twist, from unusual tastings, pairings in private dining rooms to seeing limited edition Crystal decanters. Many distilleries offer exceptional behind-the-scenes experiences from seeing the Royal Warrant at Royal Lochnagar, sampling rare whisky at The Glenlivet, with founder George Smith, surrounded by beautiful countryside and Highland Cows, to experimenting with pairing your measures with hand-crafted chocolate made by chocolatier Iain Burnett - whiskies come with their own set of tasting notes and a flavour map to help you choose your preferred style.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Lesley Scott, Head of Planning Scotland & Ireland "I love nothing better than a ramble in the Cairngorms! It has to be one of my favourite places to get away from it all." ⬩ lesley@dreamescape.co.uk dreamescapemagazine.com



W W W. C A N D A C R A I G . C O M




Due to personal connections with the owners of these properties, Dream Escape can arrange special visits to some of our most well-preserved and impressive aristocratic homes across the UK and Ireland generally off limits to general public. Embark on an extraordinary journey through British history, from private shooting experiences to personal tours with the owners. A warm welcome awaits.



Alnwick Castle —

Arrive in style by private helicopter, landing directly in the estate grounds, admiring the impressive Capability Brown designed landscape in front of the castle. Alnwick Castle has been home to the Percy family for over 700 years and remains a family home today for the 12th Duke and Duchess and their four children. You may recognise it from its numerous TV and movie appearances, including Downton Abbey and two Harry Potter films, as the location for Hogwarts. Enjoy an informative tour of the State Rooms admiring the magnificent art collection, as well as family-friendly activities involving costumes, medieval crafts and dragons - not to mention your own private broomstick lesson! Plus don’t miss the small but deadly Poison Garden, filled with around 100 toxic, intoxicating, and narcotic plants.⬩ dreamescapemagazine.com


IRELAND BARONSCOURT — Baronscourt has been the home of the Duke of Abercorn’s family since 1612. Situated in a sheltered valley in the foothills of the Sperrin mountains in Ireland’s County Tyrone the estate is an oasis of peace and tranquillity. Experience salmon fishing on the River Mourne, take a lesson in pheasant shooting with Head Keeper, Stephen Pollock, who has worked on the Estate for 20 years, or simply relax by the fire. Also a vibrant working farm, throughout Baronscourt’s history, every generation of the family has ensured a programme of planting and landscaping of the park and gardens. Finish a perfect day with the taste of their “multi award-winning” wild venison from the comfort of luxury accommodation set within the original Stable Yard. Not just for day visits - Baronscourt is the perfect country getaway for enjoying outdoor pursuits.⬩



IRELAND KILLRUDDERY — Currently three generations, direct ancestors of the first Brabazons to reside at Killruddery in 1618, live in the magnificent 800-acre estate. Earl and Countess of Meath, Lord and Lady Ardee and the Brabazon Family are passionate about conservation, operating a colourful kitchen garden brimming with vegetables, fruit, cut-flowers and free-range meats. Take a private tour of the house, admiring the architectural transformations over the centuries, before wandering the high-hedged pathways of their world-renowned 17th century gardens, with endless flowering borders, ancient trees and apple orchard.⬩


Brynkinalt Hall — Brynkinalt Hall was built in 1612, and has been home to the Trevor Family ever since. The Trevors have a fascinating ancestry, as direct descendants of a union which took place in 942 between Tudur Trevor, King of Gloucester, and Angharad, daughter of Howel Dda, King of Wales. The site of Brynkinalt Hall can be traced back through the Trevor family to the 9th century. However, the family can trace their heritage even further back still - to the marriage of Severa, daughter of the Roman Emperor, Maximus, who died in 388 and Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu (Vortigen), the 82nd King of Britain. The family are also descendants of Llewellyn the Great, Prince of Wales (1194-1240), and the Kings of Ireland! Take a tour of this charming property with the current owners, Iain and Kate Hill-Trevor. ⬩

SCOTLAND MOUNT STUART — Set in 300 acres of the finest gardens to be found in Scotland, Mount Stuart House has been home to the Bute Family since 1719. A 19th-century mansion with extravagant interiors and expansive gardens - take a moment to absorb the sheer beauty of the building - before stepping through the door, where design inspired by astrology, art and mythology dazzles. Take the spiral staircase to what is believed to be the world’s first domestic heated swimming pool before marvelling over an early telephone system and Victorian passenger lift.⬩



HIGHCLERE CASTLE — Set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland, Highclere Castle has been home to the Carnarvon family since 1842, however more recently it has risen in recognition due to Downton Abbey - the award-winning drama series, and now movie. Take a trip to Highclere to meet the owners of the real Downton Abbey, visiting the stud and immersing in quintessential English life with authentic royal connections. ⬩

Tourin House — Situated on the banks of the river Blackwater with a fine view of the Knockmealdown Mountains to the north, Tourin is an Italianate style villa with classical proportions, surrounded by arable land and a fifteen acre garden. Meet the current generation of the Jameson family, of Irish Whiskey fame,

SCOTLAND BROOMHALL HOUSE — For the first time since it was built more than 300 years ago, Broomhall House, the ancestral seat of the Earls of Elgin and the Fife home of the family of King Robert the Bruce, has opened its doors. Enjoy a private visit to this remarkable and fascinating property, with a guided tour conducted by Lord Bruce, the heir of the 11th Earl of Elgin. Marvel over the the incredible artefacts, listening to Lord Bruce as he brings his extraordinary family history to life. ⬩

Kristin, Andrea and Tara - all artists and passionate gardeners - for a private tour of their beautiful and tranquil Irish home and garden. There are 15 acres to lose yourself in, to include the pleasure grounds and walled garden which belonged originally to the tower house.⬩



DISCOVER 300 years of history

WANDER in 2000 acres of Parkland TOUR Britain’s Greatest Palace

Buy one day, get 12 months free* blenheimpalace.com *Terms and conditions apply. Registered charity number 1166164


Hopetoun House ENGLAND


ALTHORP HOUSE — View the rooms and the grounds of Althorp House – the playground for nineteen generations of Spencers currently owned by Charles. Once the scene of courtly balls, political meetings and even a secret marriage, each of the 90 intriguing rooms in the house, surrounded by 13,000 acres of beautiful countryside has its own story to tell. ⬩

BRYNGWYN HALL — Expect a wonderfully warm welcome from owner Auriol, Marchioness of Linlithgow. From house parties to simulated game days, shooting to sumptious afternoon tea, with luxurious accommodation - this exclusive country house offers a truly memorable stay. Lady Linlithgow’s Georgian family home for over 200 years, neo-classical Bryngwyn Hall was originally designed by Robert Mylne. ⬩

— Hopetoun House is a place of beauty, tranquillity and architectural magnificence. Dating from the 17th century, it has been home to the Hope Family since the late 1600s; the present Lord Hopetoun and his family still live in Hopetoun House. In Outlander, Hopetoun house represents the Duke of Sandringham’s house.

The grounds also include a 16th century tower house, Midhope, which doubles as Lallybroch.Not only is the house filled with stunning collections but this truly remarkable and beautiful stately home sits in majestic grounds full of nature trails and scenic walks. ⬩

Find out more ENGLAND BLENHEIM PALACE — Blenheim Palace is one of Britain’s finest stately homes, given to the first Duke of Marlborough by a grateful Nation, following his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704. The palace later became the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill who is quoted as saying “At Blenheim, I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am happily content with the decisions I took on both occasions”. Sir Winston Churchill’s final resting place is at St Martin’s Bladon, just outside Blenheim Palace grounds.⬩

dreamescape.co.uk Rosie Peattie, Head of Guiding, has had the pleasure of visiting each of these properties over the years. "It has always been a privilege to introduce our clients to the wonderful characters who own these properties, they never fail to welcome us warmly into their homes and share their fascinating family history first hand" If you want any more details about private visits to these or any other properties, get in touch with Rosie on rosie@dreamescape.co.uk.⬩



10 of the UK & Ireland's finest:

Golf   Experiences

From beautiful fairways and private clubs to exclusive tee times with indulgent dining, luxury accommodation and exceptional private experiences, Dream Escape affords you peace of mind, dealing with all your golfing arrangements from start to finish. Here are just some of our favourite venues



Old Head

the UK or Ireland. Breathtaking holes abound here, none more so than the 17th, a long par five called “The For sheer excitement, and the Lighthouse”. Sate your other senses in most amazing views, there’s not the nearby Kinsale, Ireland’s seafood many courses can match the capital. Its pretty cobbled streets are Old Head in County Cork. lined with art galleries, craft shops Welcome to the Hitchcock film of golf and seafood restaurants serving many courses: gripping, edge-of-your-seat dishes – like local oysters, pan-roasted stuff. In-the-know golfers say there’s cod and seared scallops - landed at the no course more dramatic, or in such town’s jetty. → a stunning location, in the whole of dreamescapemagazine.com




Royal St George’s

“Royal St George’s – now that’s a real golf course,” the late great Arnold Palmer once said about this beautiful links course. Full of dunes and undulations, located in Kent’s Sandwich Bay, this is the only Open Championship golf course

located in the south of England, and host to the first British Open held outside Scotland back in 1894. That honour is bestowed again next summer when Royal St George’s will host the deferred 149th Open Championship. The nearby old-fashioned seaside town of Deal is a great base for exploring a charming stretch of the Kent coast.

Dream Escape have expert local knowledge and work with reliable and trustworthy suppliers. Between us, we have many years of experience organizing exceptional golf and sightseeing trips.







Mountains, sand dunes and the sea merge beautifully at Ballyliffin, in County Donegal, Ireland’s most northerly golf club. Located at the remote Atlantic edge of the Inishowen Peninsula, Ballyliffin hosts two beautiful links courses spread over 365 acres of picturesque dune land.

There’s the Old Links course and the newer Glashedy Links that winds through towering natural sand dunes, most set back a little from the coast. Many of the holes are simply spectacular: The green at the first is perched between two large sandhills, while the seventh tee is located atop an enormous sandhill.

Royal Birkdale

Lancashire’s ‘Golf Coast’ is a proud quartet of lovely golf courses located between Liverpool and Blackpool, on England’s northwest coast. There’s Formby, Hillside, Royal Lytham & St Annes, and one of the finest golf links in England: Southport’s Royal Birkdale. A testing course, especially when the wind is blowing – it’s no surprise then that it has hosted many major golf tournaments including two Ryder Cups and no less than nine Open Championships. There’s a treasure trove of stunning nature spots just a short drive away, including Rivington Pike, Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland. →





The Machrie

Set on Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides, the wondrous Machrie Links in Laggan Bay is a destination course that’s an adventure in itself to get to. The Machrie is a glorious island rolling links course nestled alongside seven miles of pristine beach, with 18 holes that weave in and out of the dunes. The new, refurbished course reopened in 2017 after being restored to its former glory. Now the combination of the finest contemporary golf course redesign in the UK with a fully upgraded hotel makes The Machrie a must-play destination. Islay is also worldfamous for its production of single malt whisky – you have nine distilleries to choose from!



Royal Porthcawl

Royal Porthcawl in Rest Bay has come a long way since its origins in 1891 when a further nine holes were added closer to the coast after members shared the original course with cattle. It’s now the highest-ranked course in Wales and enjoys sea views on every hole, and many



spectacular vistas across the Bristol Channel to the distant hills of Somerset and the North Devon coast. The 2025 Women's Open Golf Championship will be played here, the first time the event has ever been staged in Wales. Rest Bay opens out to a rocky shoreline where oystercatchers and other wading birds can be seen working their way along the coastline.

Dream Escape realise that time is a precious commodity, especially when it comes to planning inspirational golf experiences. Our trips afford you peace of mind by taking care of all your golfing arrangements from start to finish with access to a wide range of private and Championship golf courses as well as the lesser known links and private courses that will take you off the beaten track. Our planners will identify the most suitable properties, seeking out the best golf courses for the varying abilities and individual requirements of your clients, as well as wonderful experiences for the non-golfers.



St Andrews

Where it all began: No other course has hosted more British Open Championships than the Old Course at St Andrews, the spiritual home of golf and the game’s undisputed mecca. The world’s most famous links course, home to the Swilken Bridge, a small stone bridge 30 feet long, eight feet wide and six feet tall, in the style of a simple Roman arch, is brimming with history; golf was played here in Fife as far back as the 12th century. It’s also where the women’s game

teed-off, with the world’s first ladies golf club founded here in 1867. There’s a handicap requirement to play the course and they still uphold the tradition of a ballot (lottery) drawn two days ahead of play as a way of enabling golfers who are in the area to still have the opportunity to play the Old Course during their visit. St Andrews enjoys a unique setting, with the course forming part of the town and the beach used in Chariots of Fire stretching into the distance. → dreamescapemagazine.com






One of the world’s oldest golf clubs, the Championship links course at Carnoustie, is considered one of the world’s most difficult. Here golfers not only have themselves to compete against but fearsome fairway bunkers

and unforgiving North Sea winds. Many golfers say the course boasts Open golf ’s most thrilling finishes, with one of the greatest back nines in championship golf. There’s a foursome sting in the tail - a 444yard par four final hole, renowned as the one of the greatest challenges in golf.





Royal Portrush

The beautiful Dunluce links course at Royal Portrush Golf Club is named after the ruined 13th century Dunluce castle that overlooks the course. You might recognise the castle from the screen, as it featured as the exterior of Pyke Castle of House Greyjoy in the Game of Thrones TV series. It was at Royal Portrush that Ireland’s first professional golf tournament was held in 1895. The 14th hole - an exciting and short 210-yard par three - is played uphill over a deep ravine. Afterwards, sample two of Country Antrim’s other finest offerings: a whiskey tasting at the nearby Bushmills distillery, the world’s oldest, and not far away, the Giant’s Causeway, 40,000 interlocking basalt columns on the Antrim coast.




For some time it was thought the spectacular cliff top course of Ardfin would remain the private golf course of its retired hedge fund multimillionaire owner. But golfers worldwide rejoiced last year when it was announced that the course on the Isle of Jura, off the west coast of Scotland, would open to the public. Having just opened Jura House, Scotland's most exciting new hotel, and shipped in 1,000 tonnes of sand from the Isle of Man for top dressing

the fairways, there's never been a better time to visit this reimagined exclusive club. Ardfin has yet to appear in the world golf rankings because so few people have played there. The eleventh hole, that descends the cliff top to the shoreline, passes the small old stone boathouse where the Scottish band, The KLF, famously burnt £1 million in 1994. Also on Jura is the four-bedroom Barnhill cottage, where George Orwell completed his seminal novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Lesley Scott, Head of Planning - Scotland & Ireland Get in touch with Lesley for expert advice on your next golf trip ⬩ lesley@dreamescape.co.uk




A quarterly on-the-ground round up of what’s hot, according to Dream Escape’s multi-talented Mary Poppins, Rosie, and our resident fountain of knowledge, Sally. —

With love from...

Biggest event...

PLYMOUTH 400 — In 2021 there will be a year-long celebration of new, immersive, English-themed visitor experiences marking the 400th anniversary of The Mayflower’s pioneering voyage across the Atlantic from Plymouth to New England. An event brought forward from 2020. So it doesn't matter when you will be here on your holidays, there will be plenty of events to choose from! We can't wait to join in the fun 400 years after the epic journey, transporting 102 English pilgrims, set sail from Plymouth in 1620! The UK are commemorating the occasion with cultural events, walks and exhibitions taking place across 13 different counties starting in Plymouth and including Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Plymouth, the English Riviera and Worcestershire.⬩

YEAR OF COASTS AND WATERS — This year we are diving into Scotland in celebration of 2021 being designated as the year of its spectacular 'coasts and waters'! Join us on a visit to our favourite Scottish islands and explore Scotland's incredible coastline and waters - be it by kayak or paddleboard, wild swimming or in one of the famous lochs.⬩

nd a l t o c S x 130


Find out more


The last word

Travel Trend

AGRITOURISM — In Spring 2021 we are predicting a rise in agritourism and rural stays. With more people yearning for outdoor adventures in beautiful surroundings than ever before, countryside pursuits, from fishing, hunting, wildlife and horseriding are in abundance. Across the UK and Ireland we have seen our hotels and retreats making the most of their wonderful grounds, farms and kitchen gardens, by offering guests more unique hands-on experiences. We're excited to take our guests to meet the experts offering visitors off-grid and back to nature with animal encounters, wild foraging and nature trail rambles across the UK and Ireland. You name it! Come with us to discover these once-in-alifetime experiences, hidden glens, waterfalls and more! ⬩

dreamescape.co.uk Get in touch with Rosie Peattie or Sally Strange for expert advice on your next adventure ⬩ rosie@dreamescape.co.uk and sally@dreamescape.co.uk


Tulchan Club, a haven of 21st century living amid the stunning scenery of Speyside. For further information about membership and the 22,000 acre estate please contact membership@tulchan.com www.tulchan.com

01807 510 200