In a serene woodland setting is this old Scottish steading – converted by owners who have a background in restoration and design. They live with their children in the big manse 30 yards away, are full of enthusiasm for their new project, and love the wildlife that surrounds them: woodpeckers, owls, red squirrels, roe deer. Your stylish, light-flooded retreat is a high-spec, architect-designed conversion, with a large expanse of glazing on both sides of the living area, and bedroom windows – at either end – appropriately discreet. Colours are soothing, sofas are leather, and the wood-burner comes stocked with logs, guaranteeing good nights in. Fresh flowers, recipe books and novels add a homely feel, there’s a barbecue on the patio and Cowshed toiletries by the bath (you get a fabulous shower room, too). You’re walking distance from Aboyne, its shops, restaurants and impressive village green, focus for the Highland games. Prosperous Royal Deeside is famous for castles and fishing (the river Dee is a stroll away) – and munro-baggers are spoiled for choice!