With less than 14 weeks to go before Santa forces himself down our chimneys to make our dreams come true yet again (who are we kidding? We wish we were still under the age of 10!), it’s never too early to start ticking things off your festive to-do list. While Santa probably isn’t going to be doing much to ease the stresses of planning out your Christmas, we certainly can.
Being the early bird means you get to beat the rest of the flock for all the best festive deals at DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro. Why not sit back, relax and have a painless lead up to Christmas this year? Leave the hustle-and-bustle of the busy high street, and instead enjoy in the crucial weeks of merriment before December 25.
Christmas Shopping in Stirling and Dunblane
We all know the less-than-pretty feeling of battling through crowds to grab the last Christmas bargains in the run-up to the day. A smarter way of going about what some would call the necessary evil of Christmas shopping is to do it off the beaten tracks. And there's no prettier destination than the historic city of Stirling, with its cobbled streets and quaint little shops naturally inspiring your Christmas custom.
At Dunblane, we’re a stone’s throw away from the retail centre where you can find some true gems away from all the franchise merchandise. Whether it’s a gorgeous teapot set for the aunt or a reindeer soft toy for the kids, Stirling is full of small retail surprises waiting to be discovered.
If the revelry of the centre isn't for you, avoid the queues and find the perfect gift online. From Prosecco afternoon teas, to an overnight break for two from just £109, a DoubleTree Dunblane gift voucher is sure to bring a smile to a loved one's face on Christmas morning.
Christmas Party Nights
How about organising your staff do or a festive get-together for friends in our countryside hotel? Choose from our range of Christmas Party Nights, with packages available for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in December. Stay over for an extra £45 on a Thursday, £50 on Fridays or £60 on Saturdays. All prices are inclusive of our leisure facilities, unlimited breakfast and a late checkout at midday.
Your Own Private Party
For a night that’s a touch more bespoke, our expert event planners and party throwers can work with you to create Your Own Private Party in one of our elegant function suites. Get your Christmas feels on and join your cohort for an intimate night of festive cheer complete with a disco, photo booth, a glass of bubbly, and party food or a three-course dinner.
Christmas with Nick Nairn at The Kailyard
Our resident culinary wizard also has some top tips for moving away from the cliff’s edge when preparing your Christmas spreads. You can sample Nick’s super creations at The Kailyard if you decide to indulge over the festive period, but here’s his advice for making a success out of your home-made menu early on:
- Get your roasties prepped on Christmas Eve. Peel, chop and parboil them for 7 minutes, then drain and leave them to dry for a minute. Shake them about to rough up the surface so you end up with lovely crisp tatties. Melt your duck fat and coat the potatoes in it. Then store in the fridge overnight and they’re ready to pop straight into the oven for 30 minutes on Christmas Day.
- Same goes for your parsnips and any other roasted veggies you’re using – simply chop reasonably small, coat them in melted duck fat and store in the fridge overnight, ready to pop into the oven the next day.
- Make the stuffing up to a month ahead. Fry sausage meat with chopped onions and garlic and jazz it up with chopped pancetta, lemon zest and juice, seasoning, and finely chopped flat leaf parsley. Allow to cool then roll the mix into balls, place onto a tray and whack them in the freezer if there’s still up to a month to go. Defrost on Christmas morning at room temperature. They’ll only take 20 minutes to cook.
- My absolute top tip is to rest your turkey for long enough. Cook your bird to 72°C then remove from the oven and allow to rest for as long as you’ve cooked it. Now the oven is free to cook everything else. Just before serving, turn your oven up full then whack in the turkey for 2 or 3 minutes to reheat the surface temperature – it will stay warm for 2 hours or more!
And that’s it from the master chef. Don’t forget that you can steal another tip or two for your Christmas luncheon from our recipe collection, brought to you by Nick himself. Have a great time mixing up your fairytale Christmas in the next two months!