Despite the fact that we live approximately an hour away from Turnberry, we have never actually managed to visit. So this summer we made it one of our priority destinations. Great decision as Turnberry didn't disappoint. The views are undeniably some of the best we have seen in Scotland. As we came over the hill, we were presented with a view of the ocean and Ailsa Craig, stunning! Karam's reaction was "m.o.m.g!" translated "major oh my god!" We were really lucky with the weather, it was the finest weekend we had had all summer.
For our stay rather than booking into the main hotel, we opted for one of the apartments, in Lands of Turnberry. The words self catering send shivers of horror down my spine, and I have detested it ever since a particularly bad holiday we had to the Balearics where we were staying in a friend's villa and ended up spending the entire holiday, shopping, cooking and cleaning. The "holiday from hell" as it is always referred to. Why would we want to do that whilst we were on "holiday", therefore we swore off self-catering! The memory must have become faded, because somehow I was talked into self-catering.
But this time it was my definition of self-catering!! We booked our evening meals in the main hotel, and opted just to have breakfast at the apartment, and lunch whilst we were out. Much more manageable, and saved us the grief of shopping, and cooking every day.
The apartments have recently been renovated and include dishwashers, microwaves and fridges etc, but best of all a washing machine - always comes in handy when travelling with little ones.
We arrived on the Friday, J.snr, Karam, Jeevan and I. The children were impressed that we had the run of the house to ourselves, yet still had access to all the facilities the hotel had to offer.
Unfortunately we had arrived later than planned, but luckily we managed to re-arrange the time of our golf lesson. The resort is home to the Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy. This corner of the world is most famous for the two Turnberry Golf Courses. The 18-hole Ailsa course hosted the Open Championships in 1977, 1986, 1994 and 2009. The 18-hole Kintyre course was the venue for the Open Championship in 2004. It was very exciting just being here and experiencing the atmosphere and enjoying the stunning views from the course. The fact that we got to play a little just added to our excitement. We went out onto the course with golf professional Sven, he was great fun, and really encouraged us to be competitive! As if we needed any encouragement! After a practice run we decided to head out off the golf course to the Pitch and Putt area, and put our skills into practice.
The resort has six restaurants. For the first dinner of our stay we had booked into the Ailsa Bar & Lounge. Perfect choice, as it has an outdoor area, and as it was a lovely sunny evening, we opted to dine al fresco, much to the children's delight! The Bar is fairly relaxed, but still smart. The food is pub grub with a posh twist! Famished from our outdoor fun, we tucked into the fish and chips with gusto. Too stuffed to have dessert, J.snr and Jeevan decided to walk back to the house. Karam and I stayed and she tucked into a warm chocolate brownie with maple & honeycomb ice cream and I had the sticky toffee pudding, with butterscotch sauce served with vanilla ice cream. Her reaction and mine, "too yummy"!!
The walk back to the house was very enjoyable.
And we slept in! So we grabbed some hastily made toast and our coffees in travel mugs and made a run for the meeting point, which was luckily right next to the house. The first activity of the day was a visit to the Little Turnberry Farm. Christina who runs the farm was there to meet us. She guided us around the working farm and the children were allowed prepare the food, and to feed the animals which included miniature donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks, rabbits and chickens. They were so excited, and voted this the best experience of their summer so far! Result! Christina was a fabulous guide and answered all of their never-ending questions patiently and efficiently!
In the afternoon we went out to Culzean Castle and Country Park. I loved coming here as a child so it was nice to bring the children and watch them experiencing it.
We headed back to the hotel and straight to the pool. Two hours later, everyone exhausted we decided to head out to dinner in Restaurant 1906. This restaurant is a lot more formal, yet the kitchen managed to cater for adults and children alike. Prior to dinner we had the opportunity to meet Martin Flanagan, the Deputy Head Chef, which was great fun, he showed us round the kitchen and we even got a wee sneaky peek into the ultra exclusive chefs table. We got to sample some delicious appetisers washed down with a glass of bubbly for me, and a Turnberry's own brand beer for J.snr.
After all the excitement of being in the kitchen we settled down to dinner. The restaurant is named 1906 because that is the year that Turnberry opened its doors.
The composition of the current menu is based on the workings of Georges Auguste Escoffier, French chef, restaurateur, and culinary writer who popularised and transformed traditional French cooking. He is a legendary figure among chefs and gourmets and was one of the most important leaders in the development of modern cuisine.
For starters the chef put together a dish that was off menu, a seafood platter with West coast lobster, Sound of Kilbrannon scallops, and the most delicious langoustines. For mains I opted for John Dory "Lady Egmount" which was served with sea asparagus, leeks and champagne veloute. J.snr chose the Steak Dianne which was flambed at our table, quite an entertainment! The children loved it, and most of the other diners were enjoying the spectacle. The children had St Brides Chicken Forestiere, which was pan seared with morel & bacon fricasse. Cafe Lattes for the adults and it was time to head back to the apartment.
All packed and ready to leave, we had a lovely time at Turnberry, and despite my horror at the thought of self-catering, it wasn't as bad as I imagined. At Turnberry they make it a pleasant experience, as you get to use all the facilities and restaurants available at the main hotel. So a combination of a bit of self-catering and meals at the hotel work out well. And the privacy of having your own apartment works out well, especially when travelling with children. Overall it was a great experience, and we are looking forward to visiting Turnberry again, next time though I will be booking the hotel, it would be nice to experience that as well, haven't quite turned into a self-caterer yet!
The Turnberry self catering cottages