Saorsa 1875: A Vegan Visit to Pitlochry

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Last week, I finally had the pleasure of staying at Saorsa 1875. It’s been on my wish list of places to visit for ages as it’s the first vegan hotel in the UK, located in the beautiful Pitlochry.

Pitlochry is just an hour away from Dundee which makes it perfect for a wee day trip or short break. There are lots of lovely shops and cafes, though it’s known for the impressive dam, distilleries and festival theatre too. There’s plenty of vegan options to be found and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more dog-friendly town. 

On this occasion, we were visiting for the Enchanted forest. We booked two nights at the hotel so we could have a cosy evening in as well.

Saorsa 1875

Saorsa 1875 has the most gorgeous interiors, with an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary design which complement the history of the building and its fresh approach to plant-based hospitality.

We stayed in Wildcat, furnished with plush velvet cushions and the sweetest little window seat looking out onto the autumnal trees. The room was complete with vegan magazines, Hooglea teas, coffee, and a cafetière. In the hall there’s a mini fridge kept stocked up with fresh oat milk, which I was far too excited about.

After a chilly walk, we returned to the hotel for the dinner we had booked. Depending on the day of the week that you visit, there’s either a 3-course set menu for £35 per person, or 5-course at £65.

We started with cocktails in the bar, then were lead through to the dining room. The menu on this evening had three courses inspired by vegetables - carrot, courgette, and parsnip. Carrot was our favourite; coffee pickled carrots, smoked celeriac purée with walnut granola & carrot jus. We had plenty to eat and almost couldn’t manage it all, but still couldn’t resist sharing a cheeseboard by the fire afterwards. It’s not every day you have the option of a vegan cheeseboard after all.

Breakfast is included and featured a selection of delicious granola pots, overnight oats, porridge with a little station of toppings, and a couple of hot options to go with the tasty toast. The first morning there was potato hash and house baked beans and on the second there was tofu scramble too. We had a mix of oat lattes, fruit juice, and smoothies during our stay in an attempt to try everything!

We felt so at home, with such a friendly and welcoming team running the hotel. We’re already planning our next trip - next time we’ll take Daisy the chihuahua as she’d love to sit by the fire in the bar.

Plant-based options in Pitlochry

We had a full day of wandering around Pitlochry, and although we only had one lunch to eat out we still did some research for future visits. Here’s some of our vegan foodie finds in Pitlochry:

  • Hetties Tearoom: vegan soup and toasties, ask for separate menu. They had vegan-friendly cakes too
  • Chinese Village: lots of options on the menu including vegan chicken fried rice!
  • Fern Cottage: separate vegan menu with 3 courses (changes regularly)
  • Cafe Calluna: homemade pastries and tarts as well as a few cake options. We ended up going here - I had a yummy Mediterranean tart and David had a panini with soup

As for shopping, there’s Handam which is a lovely wee eco-friendly refill shop. We also bought some treats at the classic sweetie shop, Love Your Sweets, as it had a vegan corner (and fudge!). On the other end of the scale, was the decadent Explore Chocolate where you’ll find the most luxurious little vegan chocolates. They look absolutely beautiful and taste incredible too.

Eating vegan at The Enchanted Forest 

On the second night of our mini break, we ventured into the enchanted forest. This was our third year visiting and it just keeps getting better. This year’s From the Deep theme was such a fun one, with jellyfish and eels and sea monsters galore. I’d definitely recommend it for a magical evening - book an early slot and make sure to go around more than once!

The vegan offerings have improved this year, though we felt the salt and chili broccoli wasn’t much of a meal compared to the options for meat-eaters at the Fish & Chips stand. On the other hand, the pizza was great and it was fab to see lux hot chocolates and marshmallows for toasting. Maybe next year there will be a vegan dessert option as the churros and donuts smelled amazing, here’s hoping!

We had a wonderful stay in Pitlochry and will certainly be back soon, it’s so close to Dundee it would be silly not to.

Find out more at:

Pumpkin Picking at Cairnie Fruit Farm

Monday 16 October 2023

pumpkin picking cairnie fruit farm fife

pumpkin picking cairnie fruit farm near dundee
pumpkin picking cairnie fruit farm fife
pumpkin picking cairnie fruit farm wheelbarrow
pumpkin picking cairnie fruit farm fife
Every year I say I’m going to go pumpkin picking but then it gets booked up before I get the chance. Not this time! There are quite a few places nearby offering this seasonal activity, but Cairnie Fruit Farm is where we chose to go as I know their cafe serves vegan treats so it meant we could make an afternoon of it.

Cairnie Fruit Farm is under a 30-minute drive from Dundee. From June to September (but mostly July), you can pick your own strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, cherries, and sunflowers. You don’t need to book for those, but you do for the pumpkin patch. You can choose from a morning or afternoon slot, it costs £1.50 per adult then you pay for the pumpkins you pick, priced by their size.

It was super busy when we got there but it’s such a lovely atmosphere. They went all out with the decorations and the wee shop is stocked to the brim with autumn treats and accessories. There are loads of backdrops set up for photo opportunities; from spooky hay bales to face-in-the-hole scenes, and crates filled with pumpkins.

We walked around to the ‘pumpkin patch’ which is actually two massive fields filled with a wonderful variety of pumpkins in all different sizes and colours. You can grab a wheelbarrow or cart (another photo op if you have a wee one!), and fill it up with your haul. It’s actually really hard to choose but we ended up getting a giant warty orange one, medium green, and a couple of tiny white ones. We shared a wheelbarrow with our friends and when it came to payment there was a bit of confusion so we accidentally got charged twice for some of theirs but didn’t notice at the time - might just be easier to have your own wheelbarrow if you can.

We then stopped at the cafe for a quick bite to eat. We had the spiced butternut soup which was delicious and warming, just what we needed after a slightly chilly walk around the fields. We finished up with some chocolate cake which was absolutely perfect - it reminded us of how you'd imagine the one from Matilda tastes - properly sticky and fudgy, yum! There was also a vegan toastie and carrot cake available, though you’ll need to check the specials on the day. I totally forgot to photograph lunch but you can see a peek of the chocolate cake in this video.

Next year Cairnie’s Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch will be celebrating 25 years! Make sure to follow @cairnie_fruitfarm so you can get your slot booked in. We had such a lovely time, it’s just a really wholesome activity.
Find Cairnie Fruit Farm at Cairnie, Cupar, KY15 4QD

6 Alternative Ways to Explore Dundee by Foot

Wednesday 4 October 2023

girls who walk dundee coffee stop

If you, like me, find yourself working from home and yearning for a change of scenery or a reason to explore new corners of Dundee, then you've come to the right place. Read on to find out six fun ways to explore Dundee by foot.

1. Open Close Dundee

A series of street art trails that take you off the beaten track. There’s one in the city centre, another in Stobswell, and the newest in Lochee. Take a walk around forgotten corners of the city to see colourful murals and painted doors by local artists. You can find out where to pick up a map for £1 on their website:

2. Girls Who Walk

If you fancy a more sociable walk check out girls who walk. A new walking group with regular get-togethers. Check out their Instagram or Facebook to find out about upcoming walks and socials. It’s such a welcoming group and a lovely way to meet new people too.

3. Get Geocaching

You’ve maybe heard of the world's largest treasure hunt before. To join in you just need to download the free app, sign up, open the map, and choose a Geocache you want to go find. There are different sizes and varying levels of difficulty, along with hints and comments from fellow Geocachers. Once you find it, sign the log and log it on your account, then put it back for others to find. This is such a fun way to explore new places but it can get addictive - the ones you find turn to smiley faces on the map.

4. Take a Tour

Learn all about Dundee’s dark history with DD tours. Louise and Stewart offer guided walks with “Thrilling tales and hidden narratives”. Look out for Perth Road walks in the summer and tours of the Old Steeple. At the moment they're offering tours of The Vaults.

5. Gather a team for CluedUpp 

These quirky outdoor escape room style experiences get you exploring whilst solving puzzles. The game is played through an app, takes 2-3 hours on average, and costs £30 for a team of up to 6. The most recent one in Dundee was Witchcraft & Wizardry: Murder by Magic! Check out their website for upcoming events:

6. Grab a Trail Map

If you head down to the Waterfront there are lots of trails in the area. Pop into the V&A or Discovery and grab a map - some are *technically* for children but they're still super cute. There's the Selkie Trail, the V&A's Seek and Peek map illustrated by Cara Rooney and Friend Ships illustrated by James Gemmill (to name a few). For those keen on a more advanced map, there's the Maritime Trail taking you on a 1.5km walk around historical waterfront spots. Look out for Heather Street Food for a delicious coffee to fuel your stroll. 

I have almost done all of these but I'll make sure to check off the full list so I can share some videos on Instagram too. I'd love to hear if you've found any interesting ways of seeing more of Dundee!