You’re approaching the big one. Another year older and another cake. Another birthday lunch to think about, plan and prepare.
What can you cook this year that’s a bit different and that everybody will eat?
Plenty to look forward to: waking up at 3am worrying about cooking timings and where everybody’s going to park. What if it rains and you’re all stuck inside the house, squashed into the small living room with nowhere to sit?
You’ll need to bring the garden chairs in from the shed so there are enough seats for everyone at lunch, and the house will need a good clean of course. The dining table is never big enough, so the emergency table will have to come in from the garden. But you haven’t looked at it for six months and aren’t sure how you’ll get all that mould and moss off it in time for lunch…
So much for a memorable day. You’ll probably need a holiday to recover.
What if instead you could make this birthday extra special? So memorable that the family will remember it for years to come and talk about it as the best family celebration yet?
What if instead you could turn this birthday into a full weekend of celebrations, staying in a grand castle with its own turret, spiral staircase and four-poster bed, a fitting venue for such an event?
1. Choose the people
Special birthdays aren’t about the number of presents or the size of the birthday cake – they’re about who you share them with, so bring together your favourite people for a party to remember.
Close family, old friends, distant relatives you’ve not seen for years – contact them all to invite them to share in your extra special birthday.
A phone call is probably best for what you’re planning, then you can really get them on-board and excited about the event!
2. Set the date
You’re going to want at least two or three days away to have time to unpack, properly relax, catch-up with everyone and have your special birthday meal, so choose a long weekend that fits with everyone.
3. Find the venue
This is the fun part – dream big and aim for a spectacular location, fit for a once-in-a-lifetime birthday bash.
How about a 16th century castle with grand wood-panelled dining room? Or a holiday lodge with its own indoor pool, games room and Jacuzzi?
Take advantage of the knowledge already out there and speak to one of the Scotts Castles team for advice on what’s right for you.
One thing you can be certain of, you’ll not be short of options.
Start with size of venue, depending on how many people are joining you for the party, ensuring the property can comfortably accommodate all your guests and then narrow your choice down based on location, facilities and nearby activities.
And don’t forget that x-factor – you’ll want somewhere extra special that will make the right impression on your guests.
4. Agree arrival and departure dates
You’ll probably want to choose a date close to your actual birthday, perhaps staying for two or three nights.
One night to unwind and catch-up with everyone, one night to celebrate in style with the party, and one final night to relax with your favourite people before all heading home to the four corners of the globe.
5. Book the venue
Is the venue available for your chosen dates? You can either book online or call to speak to a specialist who can answer any niggling questions you may have.
6. Sort transport
You’re almost there!
How are you and your guests getting to the venue? People may want to fly, others will drive, while some may choose to arrive by train and get picked up from the nearest train station. Liaise with the specialists at Scotts Castles to confirm nearby public transport options and agree with guests in advance how they will be travelling.
The journey is the start of the holiday so you may want to stop off en route, pausing to admire the spectacular Highlands, sharing lunch in a traditional Scottish pub overlooking a loch.
7. Book the chef
When else can you treat yourself to your own in-house chef? A big birthday celebration is the perfect excuse!
Take all the stress and worry out of cooking for big family groups and let an experienced professional do all the hard work for you. Craft your own menu featuring all the family favourites or leave the expert to create something delicious based on your likes and dislikes, using locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Speak to Scotts Castles about sourcing a practised chef local to your chosen property and the team will do the rest.
8. Choose some fun activities
The fresh air, jaw-dropping views, sights of rare birds, sea life and mammals – just some of the reasons people flock to Scotland’s beautiful landscapes year after year.
Perhaps you want to capture a rare glimpse of the red-crested Pochard during your stay, or watch bottle-nosed dolphins playing off the coast, or maybe you’d prefer a round of golf on one of Scotland’s world-famous courses.
Designate one day during your birthday weekend as a day spent together, when you share a fun activity with your guests. Perhaps organise a trip to Loch Ness, a tour of a whisky distillery or a day’s sight-seeing in Edinburgh.
The best holidays are made up of memorable experiences so be sure to include at least one activity that will give you all something to talk about over dinner and drinks that evening.
Many of the properties come with wifi for the iPad addicts, but if you’d prefer to have your guests fully engaged in the celebrations, we can switch it off in advance… just let us know.
9. Pack (don’t forget the camera)
This is really happening – the moment has come to pack for your birthday weekend away.
Tickets, money, passports.
Pah, more like party dress, camera and jewellery.
As well as the normal travel essentials and clothes, you might also want to take a guest book or similar so party guests can record their favourite memories and shared stories from the trip while they’re still fresh.
It will give you something to enjoy, as well as the photos, long after the party is over and you’re back home and unpacked.
Make sure your guests know that the birthday dinner is going to be a glamorous affair so to come prepared with suitable attire!
It’s finally here! The biggest and best birthday party ever!
An amazing location, a stunning venue and a treasured weekend with your favourite people. Consider asking the older children in the family to take photos, arming them with disposable cameras to capture candid shots throughout the weekend.
But most of all, enjoy it.
Large family holidays are a rare treat to get everyone together in one place – make it count and treasure every moment.
It isn’t every year you hit a big milestone, so make this year’s birthday celebrations count, and leave the garden chairs in a shed for another month.