If a farming escape coated in luxury and wrapped in relaxation sounds like just the Christmas gift you were looking for, then look no further than the Hideaway Experience, near Dundee.

Balkello Farm, in Auchterhouse, is not only a busy working farm but is home to luxury adult only hideaways – large wooden lodges, with floor to ceiling windows boasting panoramic south facing views over the rolling hills of Fife – all equipped with state-of-the-art spa facilities to offer guests the ultimate switch off from the pressures of daily life.

During a two-night stay at the recently opened Stargazers Hideaway, I spent most my time soaking in the outdoor hot tub, relaxing in the sauna and reading a book by the log burning stove, not to mention sampling some delicious local produce and enjoying a tour of the family farms.

Agritourism is a growing industry here in Scotland, with many farms across the country opening their doors to visitors to enjoy an escape to the countryside – offering accommodation, farm tours and farm to fork experiences, plus much more.

Caroline and Ross Millar, of Balkello Farm, have been at the forefront of the trend for more than a decade now, opening up their first Hideaway to visitors back in 2005 and more recently have opened their fifth and final hideaway, the Stargazers – aptly positioned and named to give guests the best views to gaze at the stars.

The idea for the Hideaways stemmed from Caroline and Ross’s love for travelling and staying in luxury, adult only properties. They saw an opportunity to offer a unique holiday destination on their own farm which could combine both the modern luxuries which can often be associated with a city destination, such as spa facilities and modern furnishings, but with the perfect countryside backdrop.

Visitors staying at Balkello also have the opportunity to holiday on a working farm where the Millar family rear sheep and cattle, as well as growing barley, wheat and oilseed rape.

Caroline is a strong advocate of the role agritourism plays as the sales arm of agriculture and this was very much reflected by the added touches included in my stay, with the opportunity to taste a selection of delicious meats from local butchers James Pirie and Son, Newtyle, which were kindly left in my fridge on arrival.

The Hideaways are perfectly suited to couples and were designed by Caroline and Ross in a relaxed open layout with all rooms opening on to each other and enjoying the same dramatic views over the farm.

Guests can utilise a fully fitted modern kitchen complete with a bar and dining table. In the next room you will find a living area with a log burning stove which also can be enjoyed from the master bedroom next door, and finally the beautiful open bathroom and spa which opens out on to the decking and hot tub.

All guests are left a welcome booklet with details of facilities included in the Hideaway but also on places in the surrounding area they can enjoy as part of their experience, which included the dates and locations of local farmers markets and shops, walking routes, restaurants and bars.

On my first morning, I took a trip to the recommended Grewars Farm Shop, a short 10-minute drive from the Hideaway and was blown away by the wonderful produce on offer, ranging from locally sourced fruit and veg to a fantastic array of cheeses, meats and preserves, to beautiful gifts including handmade chocolates and a large selection of Scottish gins.

After filling my car with lots of yummy goodies, I headed back to the Stargazers for an afternoon of relaxation courtesy of local masseuse, Karen, who arrived to give myself and my partner treatments in the comfort of our own Hideaway.

Guests have the option ahead of their stay to add on a range of extras including spa treatments, flowers and food packs from the local butchers in Newtyle.

If, like me, you are someone who finds it extremely difficult to switch off, then the spa facilities located in the Hideaway will definitely ease any tension. The beautiful bathroom is complete with free standing tub and a double overhead shower, complemented further by both a sauna and relaxation room.

More subtle touches which make your stay even more enjoyable include a music system which features throughout the Hideaway, as well as the outside hot tub area, so you can set the perfect background music to complement your stay.

In the warmer months, there is a hammock, loungers and day bed on the decking for guests to relax in and a state-of-the-art BBQ and stylish home bar, complete with cocktail shakers, glasses and drinks recipes for guests to enjoy.

Holidaying at the Hideaways is the perfect romantic getaway and has provided the ideal setting for marriage proposals, as well as being enjoyed by couples celebrating a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon – with one of the Hideaways even being fittingly named The Honeymooners.

For those looking to explore the countryside, they can enjoy a number of lovely walks both on their doorstep on the Sidlaw Hills and slightly further afield.

The beautiful nature reserve of Tentsmuir is only 30 minutes’ drive away and Lunan Bay is 45 minutes to the east, where guests are encouraged to visit Arbroath for a famous Arbroath Smokie. In-keeping with supporting local farmers, guests are recommended to take a trip to St Andrews to visit Balgove Larder and its steak barn restaurant.

During 2020 and 2021, like many businesses, The Millar’s had to sadly close to guests due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Since opening up their farm up again this summer, they have been able to do so in a way that visitors can feel comfortable and safe with strict cleaning and hygiene procedures in place.

As demand for spending time in the countryside continues to grow, the Hideaways offer a perfect escape from crowded cities and busy lives for a weekend of luxurious relaxation, but with the added element of soaking up life on a working farm and supporting local producers in the process.