It’s a 5-6 hour drive from our home to John O’Groats, where we caught the ferry to Orkney (well the ferry was a 5 minute drive away at Gills Bay, but near enough). Which is a long way to go in a day with two little ones, so we decided to stop for an overnight stay at the lovely Natural Retreats lodges at John O’Groats.
We arrived tired, with wild children ready to run around. Fortunately they were content with exploring the lodge while we had a rest.
There are a number of self catering lodges behind the hotel and the first task is to work out which number your lodge is. I was a bit silly and couldn’t see the number on the paperwork, which was right in front of me! Fortunately, once we worked out which lodge was ours, it was easy to find. You are also given a code to enter the lodge when booking, which makes it a really easy process to get into your holiday home.
The lodge itself was gorgeous, we chose a 3 bedroom property, which was perfect for us. You enter into a cloak room area, which has plenty of storage cupboards which house the hoover and ironing board etc.
I loved the welly boot stand, and the simple coat rack and bench below are exactly what you need when coming inside from a Scottish adventure.
You then enter into the open plan living space with a gorgeous modern kitchen, with everything you could need, a large dining table and sofa area complete with wood burning stove for those colder months.
One side of the property is a wall of glass that opens up to a wooden decking area and enjoys the sun in the afternoon and evening. I was surprised at just how warm it was in the property (there was no heating on) and when the sun was fully out in the late afternoon our lodge was actually too warm in the living area without the glass doors being open a little.
The bedrooms were simple, but luxurious, wool throws for when it’s cold and spacious cupboard areas for storing your belongings.
The master bedroom has an ensuite, with a modern shower and toilet. The family bathroom is next door, which had a waterfall shower and a huge sink, which the kids absolutely loved!
Natural Retreats are also rather lovely and leave a little hamper of food out for guests, filled with wine, eggs, bread, jams, oatcakes, chocolate and then milk, cheese and butter in the fridge. This is a lovely touch and the boys were rather taken with the jam and oatcakes (the chocolate was mine)!
The little card that welcomes you also has the weather for the following days, which is useful when planning your holiday within the area. There are lots to see from Dunnet Head’s dramatic landscape, day trips to Orkney and Duncansby stacks.
We were only staying for one night on our way to Orkney, so instead we went for a look along the coast by John O’Groats. We didn’t get very far. The boys loved the big sculptures down by the John O’Groats sign and spent the majority of the afternoon playing on those.
We did manage to get a family photo beside the sign, but only with one child as littlest just wanted to play.
The menu at the Inn sounded delicious, but as the boys were quite tired and rebellious we decided to forgo a nice restaurant dinner for a take away from the lovely fish and chip stand. They had a great selection of options including veggie burgers and haggis. I chose the veggie burger and it really was very tasty.
We had another walk down by the harbour after dinner and took in the amazing views across the ocean to Orkney. We hoped to see whales, but we didn’t say anything but seabirds.
Apart from the lodges you can stay in one of the Inn’s colourful apartments with 1, 2 or 4 bedrooms,which look pretty stunning from the outside.
The boys eventually fell asleep after all the excitement and we could relax in the living area and watch the sun go down. The lodge was a truly lovely place to stay and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to visit the far North of mainland Scotland.
* I have been compensated for this review, however all opinions are my own.