Fabulous Forres Self Catering Holiday Cottage – Professional Traveller Review 2021

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Looking for a Forres self catering holiday cottage?

  • Dog friendly?
  • Rural countryside location?
  • Easy access to Forres?
  • Surrounded by wildlife with walks on the doorstep?

Great! Then check out my review of a Wee Gem, a fabulous Forres self catering holiday cottage just 3.5 miles from Forres itself.

Here is everything you need to know including a video tour of the inside of the cottage.

Forres Self Catering Cottage – Booking Wee Gem

I booked A Wee Gem through Cottages.com because I had previously booked a holiday cottage stay but had been unable to go due to travel restrictions in Scotland.

After a series of phone calls I was able to change the booking to a Wee Gem which I booked for the first week in May (included the May bank holiday).

The details were comprehensive on Cottages.com and having checked the reviews I felt happy booking this Forres self catering cottage. It was in a good location, in a rural setting and had all the features we needed.

Dogs were extra however, so that was another £60 on top of the price and there was another £40 for administration fees making the total price for a week long stay £509.

Wee Gem Pre-Arrival Information

Around a week or so before our stay I received the directions to A Wee Gem alongwith some revised check in and check out timings. Check out was by 9am and check in from 4pm to allow extra time for cleaning (due to Covid19 restrictions and requirements).

The pre arrival information also advised that to help with cleaning and sanitisation various items had been removed from the cottage such as welcome packs, throws, hairdryer, DVDs, books and games.

This wasn’t a problem for us and it was helpful to know in advance.

Front of Wee Gem Holiday Cottage

Arriving at A Wee Gem Forres Holiday Cottage

The directions to the holiday cottage we very accurate. Having tripped the speedometer when passing the Knockomie Hotel coming out of Forres on the A940 we easily found our way to the turning off the road 3.3 miles later.

The cottage was reached by travelling down a farm track for around 1 to 1.5 miles. On the way we passed fields of sheep and lambs.

Open Plan Living Room Kitchen Area With Door to Back Garden
Wee Gem Forres Holiday Cottage Facilities

Having taken a number of self catering holiday cottage trips over the years A Wee Gem was one of the most well equipped cottages we have stayed in.

Here’s what the cottage included;

Entrance Porch

  • QR code for contact tracing check in
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Dog towel
  • Oil fired boiler
  • Spare linen
  • Set of steps

Open plan living room and kitchen

  • Woodburning stove with free kindling, firelighters and unlimited wood (dried wood so burned well)
  • TV with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Freeview on Demand and ordinary TV channels plus a DVD player
  • Two seater sofa and two armchairs
  • 5 seater dining table with views across the garden
  • Door out to the back garden
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Microwave
  • Fan oven with grill
  • Dishwasher
  • Well equipped kitchen with pots, pans, plenty of crockery and cooking utensils
  • Cleaning and household supplies including dishwasher tablets, bin bags and cleaning fluids
  • Sideboard with plenty of storage space, table mats, smart meter and WIFI router

Double Bedroom

  • Double bed with duvet and 4 pillows
  • Two bedside tables with lights
  • Wardrobe
  • Chair
  • Towels

Twin Bedroom

  • Single duvet on each bed with two pillows
  • Towels
  • Bedside cabinets with lights
  • Wardrobe
  • Door out into the garden

Bathroom

  • Walk in shower
  • Bath
  • Washbashin
  • Extractor fan
  • Wall mounted fan heater
  • Large heated towel rail

Garden

  • Open plan garden area (not fenced in or fenced off)
  • Shed with garden table and chairs
  • Barbecue
  • Bird table stocked up each day by neighbours
  • Sunken seating area with a fire pit
  • Pretty flower beds
  • Parking for two or more cars outside the cottage
Kitchen Area of Wee Gem Holiday Cottage
Staying at Wee Gem Forres Self Catering Cottage

The cottage was very well equipped and one of the big attractions for me was the wood burning stove, which also included free unlimited wood. This was a great benefit of the cottage and we loved spending time sitting infront of the lovely fire.

There was also a good supply of kindling, firelighters and newspapers plus matches so everything you needed infact.

A great bonus of the cottage was that you could override the heating timer and just put the heating on when you needed it. This was great given we were quite conservative in our travel plans due to Covid19 and an increase of cases in the Elgin area, as such we spent a bit more time in the cottage during the day than you normally might do.

Everything was immaculately clean and there was everything you needed for your stay including a good selection of cooking.

Rubbish needed to be taken to the bins at the top of the track so we just popped these in the car when we were heading out and dropped them off on the way past.

The weather was a bit too damp to sit out in the garden but it would be a lovely place to do that with a nice grassed area for children to play.

View of Findhorn River Near the Cottage

Staying with Dogs

Due to wildlife in the area and of course ewes with lambs it was not possible to let dogs off the lead. The garden wasn’t enclosed and it was a kind of shared garden with the neighbours.

For my elderly dogs this wasn’t a problem – they don’t go very far or very fast. However, for more active dogs this might be more of an issue.

At the bottom of the garden was a path alongside the River Findhorn. This was spectacular but again might not be suitable for all dogs. I took one dog and kept her on a tight lead as she is a bit unsteady and the drops off the side of the path were extremely steep and a good 200′ or so in places.

I did meet some dog owners who had their dogs running off lead but their dogs were a bit bigger and perhaps a bit more steady on their feet (or paws).

Red Squirrels Enjoying the Nuts

Wildlife In the Area

It was wonderful to see so much wildlife on the doorstep – literally and it even impressed my teenage nephew.

During out stay we saw;

  • A pair of red squirrels who fed most days from the nut feeders. As a photographer I got some amazing photos of these beautiful animals close up.
  • Jay
  • Woodpecker
  • Goldfinches
  • Good selection of garden birds including Robin, Blue Tits, Great Tits etc
  • There was a semi tame pheasant which roamed around the grounds
  • At dusk we saw some deer emerging from the woods
  • Whilst not wild it was lovely to see the lambs gamboling around the fields. There was a slightly worrying incident when a ewe got a plastic bag stuck on her head but apart from that it was all good!
One of the Ewes

Video Tour of the Inside of the Wee Gem Forres Self Catering Cottage

There was alot to show you so my video review is in two parts – check it out for an inside view of this lovely cottage.

Things to Do in Forres

Here’s where we went and visitied while we stayed at this Forres self catering cottage;

Logie Steading

You can actually walk to Logie Steading from the Wee Gem cottage. I drove instead as I had elderly dogs and a teenager. I have to admit I love Logie Steading because of the bookshop.

We had a lovely soup and cake lunch in the cafe, which was very busy, but managing to deal with everyone very well.

The bookshop has a fantastic range of books and was surprisingly quiet. I was able to stock up on some Baedeker guide books to help with some travel inspiration!

Logie Steading has free parking, Longhorn cattle, lovely riverside walks, a farm shop, wool shop, wine shop, several gift shops and the Olive Tree cafe. There are toilets there too of course. It’s a pleasant spot to visit and you can easily spend several hours there.

Mackenzie and Cruikshank Garden Centre, Forres

Having never visited this garden centre before we decided to head their for lunch. It was really good with amazing soup served in a huge bowl, great scones and fab cakes (although I didn’t actually have room for any!). The service was warm, friendly and welcoming.

The garden centre has toilets, a lovely gift section and some great plants available as well as a pet section. I will definitely be visiting again!

It’s worth going just for the scones to be honest.

Phoenix Cafe, Findhorn

On the opposite side of Forres to the holiday cottage out on the coast is the lovely village of Findhorn.

Findhorn has a lovely sandy beach. We had a look at the beach first, but it was blowing an absolute gale so we headed back to the Findhorn Foundation, an eco village set between Findhorn Village and the old RAF base.

The foundation has eco homes on site and a great events space the Universal Hall. Just at the entrance to the Universal Hall is the Phoenix Cafe.

We had a lovely lunch sitting outside on the very charming terrace. The floor is decorated with pretty tiling and the area is surrounded by trees. It is a very short walk from the car park. There are toilets for cafe customers also.

The food was lovely, with delicious soup and it was lovely to sit with our dogs who enjoyed a bit of sun puddling while we were eating.

The other reason I like visiting the Findhorn Foundation is the shop. There is a huge selection of wholefoods, vegan and vegetarian options plus books, gifts and much more besides. It’s well worth a visit.

Suenos Stone, Forres

This ancient standing stone is located right beside the A96. It is easily reached from Forres itself and is worth a quick visit.

It was difficult to photograph because of the glass case but there was an interesting interpretative panel which described the history of the stone and the meaning of the carved figures and depictions.

It’s worth visiting just to stand near something so old and historic.

Grant Park – Forres

This lovely park is just outside the centre of Forres itself. It’s a popular dog walking spot and it also has childrens play equipment, public toilets and lovely gardens with sculptures made from plants.

There is also a community garden to the side of the park, near the free parking area. In summer there is generally an ice cream van near the park too.

Grant Park would be a great spot for a nice walk, a picnic or just a stop with kids to let them play and run off some steam.

Nelson’s Tower

This tower, built by the local Brodie family, as a tribute to Admiral Lord Nelson was closed to visitors when we stayed in Forres.

It is worth a visit and you can easily see the tower above Forres. It is generally open 2-4pm each day and if open there is a Red Ensign flag flying.

Whether you are interested in history or not this would be worth visiting for the views across the area.

Brodie Castle

This is a fantastic place to visit if you enjoy walking. There are some lovely woodland walks, plus a walk down a lovely avenue which leads from Brodie Castle to the duck pond (you can easily go round the duck pond too).

The castle itself is worth a visit and visitors are taken round by a castle guide, giving them a chance to learn about the interesting and somewhat quirky history of the place.

Brodie Castle also has a small cafe, with a nice terrace.

One of my favourite features at Brodie Castle is the Playful Garden. I have taken coach holiday guests there and they have loved it – despite being a little older than the target market. The play equipment is lovely and the setting is just great, plus there is a little cafe and seating area for those accompanying kids to sit and enjoy!

Entry to the castle is £5.00 (for adults and children with under 3’s free) which makes this a good value option for a day out.

Summary of Our Stay at Wee Gem Forres Self Catering Cottage

  • Fantastic quiet and peaceful location
  • Wonderfully well equipped cottage
  • Warm and cosy with great woodburning stove
  • Wildlife on the doorstep
  • Walks from the door with spectacular river views
  • An amazing place to get away from things and just enjoy

Are you looking for a Forres self catering cottage?

Here are some other cottages in the area that you might like.

Chadwick Steading

Chadwick Steading is set in a beautiful estate, with lots of grounds for your to explore. It’s got walks and swimming available from the doorstep with the beautiful Culbin Forest and beaches around.

It’s a perfect retreat if you want to hideaway and immerse yourself in nature.

The reviews are great too. Why not check out this cottage now? (This cottage doesn’t take dogs)

Deer View Cottage

Deer View Cottage is just 2 miles from the spectacular sandy Findhorn beach. With quiet countryside views surrounding the cottage this is a lovely retreat.

The interior is cosy and welcoming and there is a woodburning stove as well.

This cottage is in a great location for exploring the coast and walking. (Doesn’t accept dogs)

Search Forres self catering cottages to find more cottages to choose from

Further Reading;

If you are new to self catering holidays then check out my top tips to get the most from your self catering holiday.

Travel Inspiration Series

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forres self catering holiday cottage review