Escape to Little Eden highland cottage on the Loch Lomond shores

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Period charm meets modern-day luxury in the renovated Little Eden Highland Cottage on the banks of Loch Lomond

 words Adrianne Webster | Photography Unique Homestays

We’ve known about the healing properties of water for centuries. The act of bathing in streams, lochs and rivers can provide peace or exhilaration – or a mixture of the two. Just ask your wild-swimming pals. That instant magic, plus the sublime scenery, of course, is what draws many to Loch Lomond every year – and to Little Eden cottage.

Outside the village of Balmaha on the eastern shore is an ancient holy well, St Maha’s Well, named after an 8th-century widow who preached the gospel in Scotland; legend has it that this was a place of healing for the local community. Hundreds still visit to dip in the water and reset their equilibrium.

Dining and kitchen area in Little Eden Highland Cottage, part of the Unique Homestays list of beautiful UK getaways
IMAGE | Unique Homestays

Ironically, it was through the smirr and drizzle of a wet April morning that I found myself on a drive to the bonnie banks, in deep need of rest myself. I was on my way to the aptly named Little Eden, between Rowardennan and Balmaha. Photos promised Beatrix Potter-style charm, with a pond, gardens and ivy rambling over the old stone walls, plus a fireplace and cosy armchairs. It looked like just the place to shelter from the dreich Scottish weather.

Once I’d settled in and got my bearings, I was struck by just how close Little Eden is to the lochside – a mere 105 steps from the front door to the water’s edge, if you’re wondering. Yes, I did count.

Loch Lomond views from the Little Eden Highland Cottage in the heart of Scottish Greenery
IMAGE | Unique Homestays

The visitors’ book was full of stories from families who enjoyed swimming, canoeing and paddle-boarding, and I could visualise how glorious it would be to wake up on a bright morning, have a bite to eat and then head out on the calm water.

I’d love to say I was just as adventurous, that I took full advantage of the loch and the well-trodden trails of the West Highland Way, which passes the cottage, but the crackle and warmth of the fire, combined with the allure of a good book and a couple of boxsets in the TV cabinet, convinced me otherwise. I gave myself permission to be well and truly lazy. How often can we say we have absolutely nothing on the to-do list?

Living room area in Little Eden Highland Cottage, part of the Unique Homestays list of beautiful UK getaways
IMAGE | Unique Homestays

Little Eden (or Mill of Ross, as it was previously known) was built around 1800, and the ghosts of its past are still evident and celebrated. Much effort has been made to preserve the original stove fire, the panelled doors and stone steps down to the bathrooms. But this is no off-grid bothy. The usual downsides of an older home – draughts, creaking floorboards – aren’t found here.

The cottage has been lovingly restored, with the previous owners connecting it to all the services – electricity, water, sewerage, phone – and cultivating the lovely garden. Plush bedding, cosy bathrobes, Nespresso coffee pods and a hamper filled with local eggs, milk and biscuits are all provided. There is underfloor heating too, a welcome relief for your feet even if you haven’t spent the day out walking; this may be a rural Scottish getaway, but it’s one that can be done in luxurious style.

Bedroom area in Little Eden Highland Cottage, part of the Unique Homestays list of beautiful UK getaways
IMAGE | Unique Homestays

The decoration is simple but effective, with a colour palette that reflects the calm of the water and skies beyond – cool greys, taupes and creams combine for a sense of peace and serenity. Woven baskets, woollen blankets, fabric lamp shades and reclaimed timber picture frames and cabinets provide a case study in the importance of texture. And there’s a definite nod to the surrounding countryside, without ever straying into cliché.

Little Eden birds eye view, nestled amongst the trees
IMAGE | Unique Homestays

There are subtle touches of tartan and an antler light fitting in Little Eden, but the overall design pares back on the visual clutter and lets the cottage’s charm (and the lush garden views) do the talking. On my last morning, I opened the blinds to find the clouds had miraculously parted, the sun-speckled loch beckoning me.

I pulled on my boots and wandered down to the shore to enjoy a cup of coffee, feeling totally reset.

Unique Homestays are your point of contact for booking this gorgeous Little Eden escape.

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If you’re looking for more glorious Scottish homestays, try reading our feature about a gorgeous escape to Scottish luxury boutique hotel, Lundies

An escape to Scottish luxury boutique hotel, Lundies

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