3 (all year)
Braemar is one of three fantastic timber-framed properties at Thistle Lodges in Sandyhills Bay, within walking distance of a beautiful sandy beach and with views over a private loch and woodland. Braemar sleeps up to eight people in three bedrooms and can be hired on its own, or together with Bainloch and Laggan Hill lodges to accommodate up to 24 guests in comfort. The lodges are part of a well-kept private development of similar properties and guests can make full use of facilities like a small indoor heated swimming pool with sauna and a bar and restaurant. You can find out more about the accommodation on the owner's website.
Sandyhills Bay is a favourite holiday destination for families due to its unspoiled beauty and peaceful location at the mouth of the Solway Firth at the very tip of Scotland’s south coast. The beach is good for swimming at high tide, while the vast expanse of sand flat at low tide insists on being explored. Or perhaps you would prefer a round of golf at Colvend, only a short distance from the lodges. Other nearby attractions include Bainloch Deer Park, Drumlanrig Castle and Mabie Farm Park.
Walking is an understandably popular pastime around Thistle Lodges, and there is certainly no shortage of routes from which to choose. The coastal walk from Sandyhills to Kippford is a perfect way to build a healthy appetite, and for much of the way you can choose between the cliff footpath or, if the tide is out, the beach route. The unique landscape of the Urr Estuary is managed and protected by the National Trust for Scotland, or take your binoculars and see how many different types of birds you can spot at RSPB Mersehead or WWT Caerlaverock.
The two-storey layout of Braemar means that it can comfortably sleep eight people yet does not feel overly large or excessive for couples. The lodges are designed and furnished with families and groups of friends in mind, yet retain an intimate and cosy feel that also makes them perfect for a romantic escape. The area around Thistle Lodges is a mecca for mountain biking, situated as they are between the unparalleled 7-Stanes routes of Dalbeattie, Mabie and Ae. The lodges are fully equipped for mountain bikers with bike stands and other tools and in the case of Braemar basement bike storage.
When you start to explore Dumfries and Galloway, you will appreciate why Countryfile magazine named it their Holiday Destination of the Year in 2016. Despite its mild climate, sandy beaches, forests and fells, it remains delightfully un-commercialised. Galloway Forest Park is the largest in Britain, and when you walk beneath towering Scotch pines it can sometimes feel like you are the only person for miles, yet the friendly villages and towns ensure you always have access to delicious local food and drink whether you want a meal out or ingredients to rustle up supper back at base.
Andrew & Jennifer Collard joined Independent Cottages in November 2019
The lodges share the same layout, with south facing balconies that overlook private loch and woodland area.
Outside: Each floor has a balcony at the front, accessed through sliding glass doors. The downstairs balcony has furniture so you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine as you drink in the view of the loch. There is allocated parking for two cars outside every lodge, with additional parking around 400 metres away by Reception. Guests are welcome to use the site's heated indoor swimming pool and sauna. A travel cot, highchair and stair gate are all available on request.
Additional Information: All utilities, linen, towels (not beach towels) and fast WiFi are included in the cost of hire. Up to two well-behaved dogs are welcome with prior agreement from the owner. Short breaks (minimum three nights) are possible, depending on availability. Smoking is not permitted.
Star Rating: 3 Star
Visit the owner's website (opens in new window)