Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club (pronounced Murray’s Hall) is nestled in Scotland’s Perthshire countryside, set within its own 365 acre estate, which houses the traditional country house hotel and its own two magnificent parkland golf courses, the Murrayshall and the Lynedoch.
The hotel itself dates back to 1664, the original estate house the home of Sir Andrew Murray, part of a family steeped in Scottish aristocracy. Sir Andrew was the son of the First Lord Balvaird and the younger brother of David Murray, who succeeded his father as the Second Lord Balvaird, Viscount Stormont and Lord Scone.
The present and ninth Earl of Mansfield is descended from this lineage and resides at nearby Scone Palace, a deeply significant and historic Scottish palace famously known for its role as the crowning place of the ‘King of Scots’, having housed the Stone of Destiny, which was used in the coronations of the Kings of Scotland until the end of the 13th century.
Today, Murrayshall is a leading Scottish retreat, the hotel itself having 40 deluxe bedrooms and suites.
The hotel is only a few miles from the historic city of Perth (an hour’s drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh) which served as the capital of Scotland until 1452. Perth was one of Scotland’s wealthiest royal burghs from the 12th century onwards. It sits alongside the River Tay, the longest river in Scotland (sometimes referred to as the ‘Silvery Tay’ after a poem by William McGonagall, a man who would become known as ‘the worst poet in the history of the English language’).
Over the centuries, Perth was an important market for imported goods from England, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, the Low Countries and France, and it was a city much fought over during the years. During the Scottish Wars of Independence, Perth was captured by Edward I of England in 1296, before being retaken by Robert I (The Bruce) in 1313. It fell to the English once again from 1335 to 1339.
Edinburgh would eventually replace Perth to become Scotland’s capital in the 15th century. Today, Perth is a vibrant city offering a wealth of attractions for visitors from museums, art galleries, castles and gardens to golf, walking and cycling. There is plenty to keep you entertained in the city and Murrayshall is an excellent base to explore Perth and the wider area.
Immediately on entering the gates of the Murrayshall estate, you begin to feel more relaxed, the long drive up to the hotel encased by towering trees and with part of the golf courses on the left. The extensive grounds overall are filled with manicured lawns, beech hedges, rhododendrons and ancient deciduous trees. The sandstone hotel is striking and grand, featuring small turrets, and once inside, the interior of the hotel includes rich woods, warm leathers and contemporary furniture. There are nods to its Scottish location and heritage with some tartan carpets, but not overbearingly so.
I was travelling with my wife and two young sons and so we stayed in a Lynedoch suite, the largest of the suites available at Murrayshall and the hotel’s offering for those looking for plenty of space, whether that be for an extended stay or a stay with the family. These suites are also dog friendly.
Situated in Balvaird House, just 50 yards from the main hotel, the rooms are fantastically spacious – they are in an older classic Scottish country style with pine panelling and furniture. There are practical additions to the suite as well including a small kitchen area with microwave and fridge.
The hotel has two main dining options – the Lynedoch Brasserie and the Stutts Clubhouse Bar and Grill. After a brief walk around some of the grounds following our arrival, we enjoyed a drink in the bar, where there was a roaring fire within a fine original wood carved mantelpiece and a Yamaha baby grand in the corner.
We then had dinner in the Lynedoch Brasserie, which is the main formal restaurant of the hotel. Beautiful starters of hand dived scallops with a Thai style bisque and a pea and broad bean tartlet with feta, poached duck egg and truffle were followed by North Sea cod with butter poached young leeks and a traditional ribeye with thick cut chips. There was also an extensive children’s menu making it a family-friendly dining option.
The following morning we were back in the Lynedoch Brasserie for a great breakfast, this time the daylight enabling us to take in the lovely views over the surrounding rolling countryside.
After a morning in Perth, we teed off on the Murrayshall Golf Course, the hotel’s 18-hole course, a par 73 at 6,120 yards. I donned once again Ecco’s new Golf Biom H4 golf shoes for the round which are supremely comfortable. Ecco’s premium leathers are designed, finished and finessed into high-performance golf shoes that are able to withstand wind, water and the test of time. These golf shoes are meticulously well made.
Gore-Tex is integrated into the uppers of the shoes before they are sealed, which prevents external moisture from penetrating while allowing natural moisture to escape, keeping your feet dry in the often wet conditions of Scottish golf. They also have removable lightweight Ortholite inlay soles providing long-term cushioning, enhanced breathability and moisture management. Stylish and comfortable golf shoes for all conditions and perfect for Murrayshall, where after a few days of heavy October rain, it was quite wet underfoot.
The parkland courses at Murrayshall, which also includes the nine hole Lynedoch Golf Course, are an absolute delight. Fine fairways, well kept greens and some fantastic holes. There’s a particularly great stretch of holes from the sixth through to the ninth. At the sixth hole a large tree splits the fairway. The seventh is a dogleg right, another huge tree sitting in the middle of the fairway and acting as a good positioning marker. The green then lies over the burn and requires an accurate second shot to reach the putting surface.
The eighth is a long par three through an avenue of trees and the ninth a fantastically challenging extreme dogleg right and a par five. More burns and ponds feature on the back nine. It’s a challenging but beautiful course in a wonderfully peaceful countryside setting.
Murrayshall is indeed a perfect base for a golfing break, in addition to its own great 27 holes, the surrounding area is awash with great golf courses from James Braid’s masterpieces at Gleneagles to Auchterarder Golf Course and the courses at Blairgowrie.
It’s also the perfect spot for an outdoor pursuits based break, embracing time in the great Scottish outdoors. Murrayshall can arrange a plethora of activities to keep everyone entertained, from those seeking more genteel activities to those looking to be more adventurous.
The hotel excels at providing outdoor activities enabling you to make the most of the magnificent Perthshire countryside. The hotel can arrange salmon fishing at the famous Cargill Beat on the River Tay (one of the best known beats on the Tay) or provide guides to take you paddle boarding or kayaking down the river. Murrayshall also arranges guided walks to enable you to take in the beautiful countryside.
In a nutshell
Murrayshall is a lovely retreat as it stands today and the hotel’s owners have invested more than £2.5 million into the estate over the last few years to make it an enviable location for a stay in Perthshire. Despite this, the hotel has no plans to rest on its laurels and has a major planning application with Perth and Kinross Council, which, if approved, would see the development of, amongst other things, a new spa and leisure facility, outdoor pursuits area, a golf academy to accompany its existing golf courses and the addition of luxury glamping units and lodges.
General manager Gary Silcock recently commented: “Murrayshall has been a landmark on the Scottish landscape for centuries”, adding that there are “ambitious plans to transform the estate into one of Scotland’s prime visitor destinations and golfing centres.” After a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable stay at Murrayshall, I’ll look forward to returning to experience these new developments which will ensure that Murrayshall remains as one of Scotland’s great hotels to visit.
Standard rooms at Murrayshall Country House Hotel start from £159 for double occupancy. View their website for special packages which include golf.