Based on an old Scottish word for feeling snug, sheltered and warm, Còsagach has been identified as a top trend for 2018 by VisitScotland. To be honest, I don't need an excuse to cosy up. Here's a round up of cosy spots to get the Còsagach vibe in Aberdeen and shire.
What’s Còsagach? We’re talking snug as a bug, taking bracing walks before retiring in front of log fires, with a warming dram or hot chocolate in your paw.
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COMFORTING RESTAURANTS – A roaring fire, a subtly decorated Scottish interior, great food and a warm atmosphere. The Cock and Bull near Balmedie knows that providing good service and hospitality, alongside hearty meals produced from the local larder is a winner. Having an aperitif or coffee by the hearthside is an added bonus. Families welcome, and ideal for multi-generational celebrations.
City centre options include Malmaison where guests are encouraged to sip pre dinner drinks in front of the fire before heading through to an intimate booth for dinner.
COSY OUTDOOR TERRACES – Sitting outdoors in Scotland, yet feeling snug and cosy, is challenging. Banchory Lodge Hotel in Deeside has a riverside outdoor terrace, with heaters pumping out warmth, so it’s just about feasible to take in the views of the powerful River Dee without retreating indoors. A family friendly hotel with hotel rooms full of character and, don’t fret, the hotel terrace is safely set back from the river for wee ones.
A city centre option is Cafe 52: a dark, atmospheric venue with an outdoor terrace with heaters and blankets provided.
THE WATER OF LIFE – A dram is a warming concept, especially in the heart of Scotland. Sneak inside the 800 year old Cave Bar in Meldrum House Hotel, Oldmeldrum for a touch of the uisge beatha with a touch of history and heritage with every sip. The stone walls cocoon guests, and it’s a really unusual location boasting centuries of Aberdeenshire history, a great talking point.
OUTDOOR HOT TUB – Cosy doesn’t have to mean indoors. The Sail Loft Hostel (I repeat, hostel!) boasts a luxurious outdoor hot tub for guests to luxuriate in. On a clear, crisp night, with the stars overhead, it’s a pretty magical place to be, super family friendly too.
COMFORT FOOD – On a cold day, sitting by the beach, clutching a hot poke of chips, as the wind lashes your face, has its own charm. Aberdeenshire, on the coast, with the fantastic port of Peterhead and a range of fishing villages dotted every few miles down the shore, means that excellent fish and chips are easy to find. For a sit down meal head to the Ashvale in Aberdeen city, or head to the Rockpool Cafe in Cullen for take away or a sit down experience. Kids usually love these treats.
HOT CHOCOLATE – Make your way to the Chocolate Bar in Ellon for an extensive hot chocolate menu, all available in regular, large or kids’ sizes. The menu includes Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Cinnamon and the curious Magical Unicorn Hot Chocolate, but make mine a Chilli Chocolate Hot Chocolate.
FAMILY LIVING – Whilst we all enjoy a hotel, getting that cosy feeling often comes from having your own space for your family to enjoy, space to live. Prepare a warming meal for the children, put them to bed in their own bedrooms, then retire to the living room to curl up. Self catering cottages, castles and apartments, such as those provided by the National Trust for Scotland, deliver unique, historic accommodation across Aberdeenshire – from Fyvie Castle near Turriff to Mar Lodge in Braemar.
In Aberdeen itself, Skene House Apartment Hotels provide homely, welcoming apartments in the heart of the city. Or for a convivial, budget break head to the quirky Cullen Harbour Hostel on the north coast. We cooked huge pasta dishes with other families in the communal kitchen, and sheltered in our apartment as the rain lashed down outside and the waves crashed on the shore a few metres distance.
I hope you enjoy a few Còsagach moments throughout these chilly months.
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