OH and I found ourselves in Pitlochry at the weekend. We had decided to park at the Festival Theatre and I noticed there were gardens to the side of it. Apparently OH had known there were gardens there as he had built the fence around them in a previous life (OH can turn his hands to anything, dontchaknow?). He said there were supposed to be stage productions put on in the gardens as, when they were planning the gardens, they wanted it to be an extension of the theatre.
It was called The Explorers Garden and from what I could see before we went in was to do with Scottish plant hunters who had traveled the globe looking for new plants and trees to bring back to Scotland. We decided to pay the £4 entrance fee and have a wander around.
I’m told (by OH obviously) that August isn’t a great month for gardens. Flowers have either already flowered and are past their best or they are just getting read for Autumn. Therefore, we probably weren’t seeing them at their best. The gardens are laid out in segments each depicting different areas (S.America, Australia, New Zealand, N. America The Himalayas, and Japan) and there are boards explaining what explorers had been where and what plants they had brought back. Due to the season (I hope) I didn’t really see many of the outlined plants but I did enjoy the short traipse around the paths and through the woods.
Throughout the gardens there were paved circles, a couple of pavilions and an amphitheater. OH had asked the woman at the ticket desk if there were concerts etc put on in the garden and she looked at him blankly. If there isn’t (and that does seem the case) it’s a bloody shame as they could put on an excellent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream there.
I’m sure in other months it will be worth the entrance fee but not in August so pick your time to visit carefully. (£2 each would have been a fairer fee in August I think)
After working up an appetite it was only a short walk across the suspension bridge and into town to find The Old Mill. It’s an impressive building with an old water wheel attached. We gave the menu a cursory glance (should have paid more attention) as we entered and were seated by a polite South African cross between Derren Brown and Rylan.
Talk about a whirlwind experience. We went in, we ordered and before we knew it we were stuffed and back on the street again.
The menu was pretty uninteresting and uninspiring so OH had a burger (YES! That uninteresting) and I had the beer battered haddock.
4 minutes after the order was put in, it arrived. As the waitress set down my haddock she told me the plate was hot – she wasn’t joking. I spent the rest of the meal feeling like I was sitting in front of the coals in a sauna. The fish was a tad greasy but that was probably because it continued to cook on the plate and the deep frying oils continued to seep out of it. The skinny chips were fab though. OH said the best bit of his burger was the roll. Don’t get me wrong he did enjoy it, it was just the bun stuck out because it didn’t fall to bits as they often do.
My fish was filling but evidently OH needed more. So dessert menu it was – obviously it appeared promptly. It didn’t take OH long to decide on the Iced Cranachan Parfait with Raspberry Sauce, which was good as the waitress suddenly appeared from nowhere to take his order. I reckon it was less than 2 minutes before Derrin Rylan had the dessert on the table in front of him. Sweetly, he asked me if I wanted another spoon – I declined of course.
OH loved his Cranachan as it was like a surprisingly good cross between rice pudding and porridge. However, he says he would have preferred a smaller helping. This is because he eats anything that is put in front of him just like a labrador. Therefore, we were both stuffed as we left the restaurant just a few minutes later.
2 mains, 1 dessert, a soda water and lime and a mixed fruit Kopparberg = £39.05
It’s a lovely place, it was fast service, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds but the food was expensive for what is basically pub grub. There are loads of other places to eat in Pitlochry that I would maybe try first.