Hayley Matthews: Putting on the Ritz at child-friendly Gleneagles

Gleneagles Hotel was perfect for an anniversary break
Gleneagles Hotel was perfect for an anniversary break
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I feel very blessed to be ­celebrating ten years with Mr Hayley this week. He’s seen me through redundancy, anxiety, pregnancy, a tough labour, post-natal depression and much more and deserves a medal.

He’s an amazing dad to our son and I couldn’t have wished for a ­better lobster (Friends reference for the Friends fans).

To celebrate, I wanted to go somewhere really special, since we hadn’t had a proper family break for ages, yet suitable for all of us in the family.

Now, I’ve also been doing a BBC Radio Scotland ‘no car’ challenge, so it also had to be somewhere we could get to easily by public transport.

I’d heard lovely things about ­Gleneagles and had a look at activities for kids – my son has more energy than Mo Farah, so we’d need to keep him busy and there was lots. The Easter programme looked great and they’ve got their own train station accessible from the Central Belt, so I could keep in with my ‘no car’ challenge. All arrows pointed to Auchterarder.

We did think about going just the two of us but, our little happy family isn’t just created by me and my partner, our son makes up the majority of the happiness with his little sayings, kisses, cuddles and hilarious personality. Plus the guilt of going somewhere with loads of things for kids to do would have left me feeling a terrible parent.

We decided to bring our son with us and I’m so glad we did. It was lovely to just spend the weekend relaxing as a family and playing games with him. We checked in and took him to The Den which is a lovely new space for kids.

We played giant snakes and ladders, Xbox, pool, Connect4, air hockey and more. It was like a mini-wonder world for kids with the Little Glen next door for wee tots. We couldn’t get him out.

I know parents sometimes need time to themselves, however this wasn’t one of those times. When we saw our room we were ­gobsmacked! We’d been upgraded to a suite and felt very lucky.

Our son spied the shower, whipped off his clothes, jumped in and was singing with all the complimentary bottles round him within minutes. The place looks incredible since being refurbished and doesn’t feel stuffy or pretentious, just a big playground for kids and grownups.

Once we’d scrubbed up we went down for dinner to The Birnam Brasserie and after a day of activities, I was determined that the tablet was staying away from the dinner table. I suggested my son ask for crayons and paper instead.

Making a new friend in one of the restaurant managers, he drew a big picture of a hotel for them while insisting that it should be displayed on the wall.

He also told everyone how they do better hot dogs than me and had the entire place laughing!

In the morning, after a breakfast fit for a king, we took a family walk ­outside. There were kids playing, cycling, scooting, having fun and it was such a lovely sight.

Our son had a ball keeping busy with the tennis, golf and the ‘look after a pony’ afternoon which flattened his wee batteries.

I’m wondering if I could get away with making such a big fuss of an 11- year anniversary. Or even ten-and-a -half year anniversary. The summer activity programme looks amazing, so I’m looking for any excuse to go back soon!