Clear blue skies and warm spring sunshine accompanied us on our long weekend cabin break at Forest Holidays, Strathyre. The weather was beautiful and quite possibly the best we’ve had in Scotland this year. We really couldn’t have picked a nicer weekend to enjoy the stunning setting in which our wheelchair accessible Forest Holidays cabin was set.
There are 12 amazing Forest Holidays locations throughout the UK, all set exclusively on breathtaking Forestry Commission land. Two of their locations are in Scotland, one of which is their Strathyre site, a short 30-minute drive from my home. I was delighted to be invited to visit this location. There is also Forest Holidays Ardgartan, Argyll which is just over an hour from Glasgow.
Getting to Forest Holidays Strathyre
The drive up to Strathyre is pretty special and holds a lot of happy memories from my childhood and now into adulthood. Passing through Callander, a place that my family have driven to many times just for chips and a cone by the water (it is the simple things I love the most).
Continue along lush roads that are bordered by thick woodland, undulating hills, and the magnificent Ben Ledi hillside. You will next arrive at the Forest Holidays location in Strathyre, which is only 5 miles from Callander.
We couldn’t help but stop to admire the stunning surroundings as we crossed the bridge over the river and descended the little paved road to the site.
Arrival at Forest Holidays Strathyre
After parking, we entered the Forest Retreat and were greeted by a lovely woman who checked us in and provided information on the range of activities available and the surrounding area.
We were then handed an info pack with loads of additional information and headed to our wheelchair accessible cabin.
The Retreat is the site’s hub where you can make bookings for activities, shop for groceries, essentials, souvenirs and gifts, eat in the café and get drinks from the bar. Everything you need for a wonderful holiday. In the Retreat, just beside the front desk, there is also an accessible toilet.
Wheelchair Accessible Silver Birch Cabin
Cabin 38, a silver birch cabin adapted for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility, was our home for the weekend. The cabin was simple to find because the site is clearly signposted. I enjoyed the flat smooth paths from the car park to the cabin.
We parked as close as we could to the cabin to unload our bags because there is no direct parking next to the cabin itself, and then we parked in our designated parking space. As you can see from the arrows in the above photo, it’s not very far from our cabin to where we have our car parked.
As I rolled up the ramp of our cabin, I instantly fell in love with the view and was excited about our weekend in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Our cabin looked out onto the beautiful forest on one side and on the other side, we had Ben Ledi towering over us. Incredible. My partner has climbed Ben Ledi many times and it is a popular mountain among both novice and experienced climbers.
Our wheelchair accessible silver birch cabin is described as ‘style and substance’ but it wasn’t just modern and stylish, it was cosy and that’s what I love about cabins especially out in the forest.
The open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining area were very accessible and I felt comfortable moving around in my wheelchair. The kitchen has been adapted for wheelchair users with a lowered sink and cooker, which is great if you can or enjoy helping out in the kitchen.
The fully equipped kitchen also includes tableware, cutlery, glasses (even plastic tumblers and champagne glasses for the hot tub) and more. The website lists everything available in the cabin and you’ll receive various emails leading up to your stay with additional information and things to bring with you.
The flooring throughout the cabin made manoeuvring easy and smooth. With its enormous floor-to-ceiling windows, the lounge was the ideal place to take in the scenery and wildlife, including a dear that came up to the decking one morning.
Although I’m not a morning person, it was amazing to wake up each morning to the sunshine streaming through these windows.
We also enjoyed the great in-cabin entertainment centre with lots of recent movie releases, sky channels and the option to order food to the cabin. You can order everything from stone-baked pizzas to curries and more. How about that for luxury?
Each day we would receive messages through our TV from The Retreat letting us know what activities were available that day. This was a good way of staying connected and informed.
Wheelchair Accessible Downstairs Bedroom
The cabin sleeps four people in two bedrooms, one double downstairs and one twin bedroom upstairs. Naturally, I had the accessible bedroom downstairs, which is accessible from the living area. The bedroom was spacious with a large double bed, bedside cabinets and a wardrobe.
The bed was great because it had plenty of space underneath for a portable hoist to roll under, as well as space to store things or equipment to keep the floor clear. There were two spotlights above the bed with a switch to control the lighting. The built-in wall shelving next to the bed was useful for keeping clothes and other items organised.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
The downstairs wheelchair accessible bathroom has a large wet room shower with a good sturdy fold-down shower seat attached to the wall. The showerhead and controls were all within easy reach and the water pressure was great.
The toilet and sink were on the other side of the bathroom. I loved that there was so much space for turning my wheelchair and there was more than enough space for a hoist or other mobility equipment as well as extra people. The toilet was slightly higher than a standard toilet and there were both fold-down and fixed grab bars next to it.
There were also two fixed grab bars next to the sink for extra support. I liked the bathroom’s accessibility features, in particular, its spaciousness and wetroom shower, but the sink was a little too small for my needs. This didn’t cause me any major inconvenience as I was happy to be able to roll under the kitchen sink easily if I needed to.
The upstairs en-suite bathroom had a toilet, sink and cubicle shower.
Private Outdoor Terrace
Forest Holidays with Hot Tub Hoist
Hot tubs are one of the main reasons I book cabins. I find them to be amazing hydrotherapy for my weak, achy muscles, but getting in and out of the hot tub can be challenging because I am unable to do it on my own. I need to be physically lifted, which can be difficult and dangerous for both myself and the person doing the lifting (sorry, Allan).
However, Forest Holidays have found a solution and installed a hot tub hoist in this silver birch wheelchair accessible cabin. Pretty damn amazing don’t you think?
Having never tried one before I was excited about using the hoist to get in and out of the hot tub safely and hassle-free. It did just that.
A hot tub experience is meant to be relaxing after all. It was incredibly easy to operate and made the whole experience more enjoyable and therapeutic for me and more importantly Allan and his poor back.
Once the hoist lowered me into the hot tub we just raised it up and left it sitting out of the water. This allowed me to move around and sit where I wanted. Then when I wanted to get out we’d lower it back into the hot tub and I’d shimmy onto the seat. Of course, you can always stay seated in the hoist while in the hot tub if you prefer.
At times I enjoyed being half-submerged in the water while seating on the hoist seat as it was the perfect way to cool down with the breeze.
Wheelchair Accessible Decking Area
We had amazing weather during our stay so we spent a lot of time outside in our large private decking area. There is a BBQ rack on the decking and you can buy a BBQ starter pack from the Retreat as well as BBQ food if you don’t already have your own.
We enjoyed sitting outside in the warm sunshine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Perfect relaxation! I’m already wishing I could wake up every morning to breakfast outside with the beautiful view from our cabin.
Accessible Loch Lubnaig
If we weren’t in the hot tub or relaxing on the decking or watching movies then you’d find us down at the lochside. There are great cycle paths throughout the site with stunning Loch Lubnaig running alongside and although there are openings to get down to the loch, not many are accessible due to the rough uneven gradients.
Amazingly we found an accessible way down that was very manageable (albeit a tad bumpy) for me and my power wheelchair. The terrain was a mixture of compacted gravel and stones, which I thought would sink under the weight of my power wheelchair, but surprisingly it didn’t at all.
I’m pretty certain that manual wheelchairs would manage as well. It’s extremely worth it. Just look at that view!
The opening down to this area was next to cabin 33, which was only a short walk from our cabin. It was lovely to sit down at the lochside and watch Allan teach our nephew how to skim stones and explore. We all had a great time together and loved how tranquil it was.
The views of Loch Lubnaig and the mountains are so spectacular that we could have easily spent the entire day there. My mum kept saying how relaxed she was, which she never does.
Forest Holidays Strathyre Location
The location of Forest Holidays Strathyre makes it ideal for exploring local towns, villages and nearby cities such as Stirling, and Aberfoyle as well as the Highlands. Callander is the nearest town and only 5 miles from the cabins.
There are plenty of shops and local produce as well as lots of Scottish history for a great day out. Nearby attractions like Go Ape, a safari park and the National Museum of Rural Life are some options for great family days out whilst staying at the site.
Forest Holidays Activities
There is so much to do both at the site and the surrounding areas, so no matter what you’re interested in you are bound to find something. I’m sure we would have explored more of the area had we been staying longer, but after only just returning from a busy trip to Vienna, a relaxing break was just what we needed to recharge those batteries.
On-site activities including archery, canoeing and air rifle shooting are available and suitable for wheelchair users. If you’re interested in taking part in any of these activities it’s advisable to notify staff before booking to ensure everything is in place.
There are also guided safaris, and forest survival and explorer activities which are great to keep children entertained. My Nephew enjoyed the on-site play park and looking for insects in the bug hotel.
If you’re looking to unwind and enjoy some well-deserved pampering then there is also a range of in-cabin spa treatments on offer. I’ve also enjoyed a lovely accessible walk in Strathyre many times.
Final Thoughts on Forest Holidays Strathyre
If you’re looking for a wheelchair accessible cabin holiday amongst the forest with excellent facilities, staff, activities, scenery and more then I recommend you check out Forest Holidays cabins. Our wheelchair accessible silver birch cabin break at Forest Holidays Strathyre was brilliant and exceeded our expectations on all levels.
The hot tub hoist was a major bonus and shows huge steps are being taken in the right direction towards greater accessibility for all. As a family, we couldn’t fault the Silver Birch wheelchair accessible cabin. It was a perfect break which we all thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to return.
A massive thank you to Forest Holidays for welcoming me as a guest of Forest Holidays Strathyre. As always, all opinions are my own.