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Romantic getaways: The enchanted Georgian manor hidden in the woods

Balbirnie House Hotel, Fife.
Balbirnie House Hotel, Fife.

Nestled within 400 acres of beautiful parkland in the heart of Fife, Balbirnie House Hotel is one of Scotland’s most recognisable destinations for romantic getaways – and it’s easy to see why.

Rolling up to the luxurious Georgian mansion situated in the village of Markinch, you can’t help but look upwards at the four grand pillars that welcome you inside.

Upon entry to the grade A listed building, you are met with a smile as the reception finds itself tucked into the left of the doorway.

Reception at Balbirnie House.

Built in 1777 as a private estate for the Balfour family, the country house boasts a mix of rich history and quality of a modern design featuring 31 rooms and two deluxe suites, as well as a beautiful long gallery, a cosy library bar with fireplace and a drawing room.

In the new wing you find the Orangery, the Brasserie and an exquisite Ballroom,  accommodating up to 250 in theatre style or over 200 for a banquet.

Ballroom at Balbirnie House.

Voted Scotland’s National Wedding Hotel of the Year and Haute Grandeur Europe’s Best Destination Wedding Retreat, it’s hard to overlook the prestigious venue as one of the very best in the country.

The room

We made our way up the winding staircase above reception and through the top corridor to our exclusive four-poster bedroom.

As the door was flung open, our jaws hit the floor as we cast our eyes around the extravagant suite.

The enormous bed was a resting ground for every pillow in the kingdom, filled with the softest feathers in Fife.

Sinking into the mattress I was on cloud nine, and it’s safe to say, getting to sleep wasn’t an issue.

But that wasn’t my favourite part of the room, that goes to the bathroom.

An elegant free-standing bath took centre stage where you could wash your worries away and dip your toes into tranquillity, soap suds optional.

Beneath the crested curtain pole a large bay window gave a perfect vantage point over the gardens and nearby woodlands.

A tasting experience

The hotel boasts two delicious eateries, the Orangery and the Bistro; the latter serving up a country-casual vibe with homely food at a reasonable price.

On dining, it was quite busy with what appeared to be locals who had just enjoyed a walk on the grounds or a round on the nearby golf course.

I tucked into a tasty Cullen skink, followed by Balmoral chicken accompanied by mash and vegetables.

To finish, an apple creme brulee with a side of cinnamon biscuits. The perfect combination to round off the evening.

The Orangery, however, offers a more formal procession with its Seven menu a must for those looking the ultimate dining experience.

Launched by executive chef Kris Currie in September last year, the menu features the very best of Scottish seasonal produce that changes every six weeks.

Taking the menu for a taster, we were treated to a scrumptious selection of seafood, red meat and something sweet.

Oyster to start. Not knowing what to expect, I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. Immediately I was transported to the coastline. I could taste the salty sea breeze on my lips. That was definitely a taste not to forget.

Other delightful dishes included braised shoulder of lamb accompanied by herb crumbed sweetbread and dauphinoise.

Sorbet to make the mouth water and all kinds of flavours too, from banana, pear, rhubarb and white chocolate. All made in-house. Delicious.

The grounds

The surrounding woodland offers a variety of walks ranging from a short stroll to more challenging hikes for serious walkers.

The landscape of hidden streams, dens and years-old trees create an enchanting atmosphere around the hotel for lovers of nature and the outdoors.

The hotel garden hosts space for tables and chairs under a canopy of fairy lights, making any night magical.

Hanging from one of the large trees you can also find a rope swing to enjoy, like something out of the Secret Garden.

As the sun tucks away behind the hotel, the outer lights magnify the beauty of the country manor.

White, red, blue and green, the beauty of this place suits every shade.

Balbirnie House at night.

A much needed escape 

From check-in to check-out, you’ll realise Balbirnie House is a special place, full of charming character and somewhere you feel welcome.

The homely atmosphere allows you to kick back and relax, from sprawling out on the biggest bed you’ve ever seen, to enjoying a whisky or wine in front of a roaring fire.

The library at Balbirnie House.

Service is excellent and the team stops at nothing to fulfil the smallest request.

And it’s worth mentioning, the gardens make a great place to propose…



Price: £140 – £200 per night

Distance: 91 miles from Aberdeen, 136 miles from Inverness

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website

Guest Servives Directory

Address: Balbirnie House, Markinch Village, Glenrothes, Fife KY7 6NE

Phone: 01592 610066


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