Travel,  UK

A few days at Red Squirrel Cottage

I had never seen a red squirrel in the wild until I arrived at Red Squirrel Cottage.

What a magical place.

After 3 days in Edinburgh in the bustle of the city, we were ready for the some tranquility in the Perthshire countryside.


Most of the B&Bs we have stayed at during our 15 years together have been booked through Alistair Sawday’s brilliant website. It started as a well thumbed guidebook which we bought the year we got married and booked 3 or 4 places in France for our honeymoon. We have since discovered many more beautiful hideaways in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as the UK.

Red Squirrel Cottage did not disappoint.

In the extensive woodland grounds of the historic Cuil an Duin Country House, Red Squirrel and Garden Cottage offer top notch self catering in the most delightful location. You would never find it by accident, although access couldn’t be more convenient from the main route from Perth to Pitlochry.

David and Sally left their busy London lives some years ago to move to this magical corner of highland Perthshire, and they’ve taken to it like ducks to water, or should I say like red squirrels to the woodland.  We were promised red squirrel and deer sightings and happily we saw both.


My favourite thing was probably the bath with piles of fluffy towels and lovely locally produced toiletries. Lying in the bath with the sash window open to the garden, a warm breeze and the mesmerizing sound of birdsong.

I must report on the bedroom.  I had read about the Hypnos bed on the website but could never have believed how comfortable it would be. Bliss.  I’ve never been a “bouncing out of bed” sort but this mattress would challenge even the most sprightly morning soul.  It’s probably the most peaceful bedroom I have even slept in. The woodland sounds, the beautiful coordinated Laura Ashley decor, the crisp white sheets and copious cushions. Restful beyond words.

Shall I go on?

How about the superbly equipped kitchen with the fastest boiling kettle of my life, induction hob and dishwasher. We ate out most evenings but thoroughly enjoyed making our breakfast here.

We enjoyed a comfy leather sofa and TV, and of course pretty good wifi.


David and Sally have thoughtfully placed a peanut feeder very close to each window so you can watch the squirrels from every room. What a joy! Once we’d got over the excitement of seeing the first one – they just kept coming. Munching the nuts, chasing each other round the trees and posing for photographs.

Once I’d worked out my shutter speed, found the right aperture and played with the ISO, I eventually got some half decent pictures. Not sure I’ll ever be a wildlife photographer – don’t have the patience, to be honest – but it was something of an achievement.

There’s so much more that could be said about Cuil an Duin, but this place is more about how it makes you feel. That’s hard to put into words.

Look it up on the website and see if you fancy it.

If you struggle with steps you’d probably be better booking Garden Cottage on the ground floor. It’s  just as pretty, easily accessible, and can be joined to Red Squirrel for a larger group.

We will definitely be back.

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