How a castle and cottages create the perfect combined holiday

Last time we described how they couldn’t be more different as holiday hot spots on their own. This week, we explain how Aldourie Castle and Cottages, booked together, create the holiday of a lifetime…

The beauty of a private Highlands country Estate

It’s not every year you get to explore at leisure a centuries-old country estate in the heart of Scotland. So, when you get the chance to stay in an exclusive use property that is surrounded by 500 acres of grounds – some wild and rogue made up of woods, forest floor and hidden treasures; some neatly trimmed gardens and hedgerows – it’s best to take it…
aldourie castle loch ness

Fitting for larger parties

Say you are looking for somewhere private and exclusive to host your large family get-together. But the problem is that you have family dotted around the world. You need a place that is easily accessible (an airport nearby and direct flights from major cities a must). You also need a location that is not only beautiful but peaceful and extremely homely too.

Now, say your family is larger than a group of 30 people and you’re struggling to tick all the above boxes. You are also struggling to allocate everybody a room for the night. Many exclusive use properties or luxury destinations in Scotland are converted stately homes or mansion houses. The trouble is they have a small number of bedrooms (usually the original bedrooms of the house). So the property itself is too small for your family stay. A hotel, although it has plenty of space and many guest rooms, does not have the exclusivity ultimately required.

Choosing an historic Estate is the best option because there are usually other properties within the grounds that guests can stay in. For instance, the four traditional holiday cottages on the Aldourie Estate. You can spread your family group out across the entire grounds, where each cottage is within easy walking distance of the Castle. As a result, your bigger party (up to 50 guests at Aldourie) can be accommodated.
Garden Cottage Loch Ness

Another benefit of stay in the Castle and cottages: you have more settings and window views to experience.  Although Aldourie Castle is a luxury in itself, its captivating aura and interior beauty can sometimes be all-consuming. (Be prepared to enter another world when going on an Aldourie holiday). Many private stay guests say they want to explore more of the grounds next time. Therefore, having your family of guests spread out across the parkland means ample reason to roam around.

Best of both worlds

From romantic lie-ins in wooden beamed bedrooms overlooking Loch Ness to showering in a turret and wandering through formal gardens like a Downton Abby character, your experience of ‘Castle’ and ‘Cottage’ could not be more different. Guests don’t have to decide which of these holiday types they prefer when taking over the whole Estate. Both are there for the taking to enjoy whenever they please.

Some mornings you might want a complete five star service at your disposal. And also a large Scottish cooked breakfast on tap. Other days you could want to light the fire yourselves, cook your own eggs and bacon and wash up your dishes whilst admiring the woodland view through the window. At Aldourie, two types of holiday can coexist just minutes apart.

Pier Cottage Loch Ness

Roam down the back garden of Pier Cottage to the shoreline to watch the boats bobbing on the marina. Later, take the family dogs for a walk in the woods (all four cottages are pet-friendly).

Later, sit out on the Castle terrace facing Loch Ness and take afternoon tea. In the evening everybody can reconvene in the Castle to eat banquet style on long tables in the Main Hall. A multi-itinerary for a multi-generational holiday in the Scottish Highlands.

Historic living in the 21st Century

Some just wish to take a short break or luxury stay for the moments it brings and the memories it generates. Others look for something with more meaning and like to know the history of the place they are occupying. Stay on an historic Highland estate making use of both the quaint cottages and the large house and see just how life used to be for the wealthy and fortunate Scots.

Adventure through the ample grounds, which change from season to season and look at the archives in the library to read up on the Scottish clan history. Realise the proximity of the cottages to the castle, and get a feel for how an estate would run. Taking over a Highland retreat of today is not only a luxury family holiday but a learning curve for children and adults alike.library books Aldourie Castle Scotland

The variety of outdoor sports and activities groups and families can take part in together are also another pull for making good use of your exclusive use property and grounds.

Fresh air combined with majestic views across wild scenery make for longer days no matter the time of year and give you more energy to enjoy your stay.


Why does Loch Ness appeal to celebrities around the world?

Who visits Loch Ness in Scotland? And why? The answer: anyone and everyone. For its beauty, its tranquility and its aura. For its historic relevance. For its Loch Ness Monster. The list is endless and the so is its fanbase. We are hardly experts but as we sit peacefully on its southern shoreline gazing across its glistening waters we feel impelled to tell you a little of why this home of Nessie generates such worldwide appeal.Aldourie Castle Loch Ness celebrities

Cruises from award-winning tours

Take a ride across this world famous landmark with leading cruise operators in Loch Ness. This part of the Scottish Highlands is home to numerous award-winning cruises such as Jacobite, Cruise Loch Ness and Highland Experience, which deliver some of the most fascinating, interesting and exhilarating Loch Ness boat tours in the Scottish Highlands. Historically and factually accurate content combined with an experienced tour guide will take you over the wild rippling depths of the Loch as you start your trip from scenic villages such as Fort Augustus or the popular Highlands’ city, Inverness. Expect to see some historically acclaimed islands and castle ruins along the way as well as passing by our very own beloved Castle which sits just on the banks of Loch Ness.

Aldourie is the only habitable castle on Loch Ness so be sure to look out for its spires and turrets as you pass by, and give a wave to any guests who are dining out on the terrace in the warmer months or strolling along Dores Beach.Loch Ness Boat Tours Aldourie Castle celebrities

Nessie: the Loch Ness Monster

With hundreds of sightings over the years reported by Nessie fans, celebrities and general passers-by, it’s no wonder the legend of the Loch Ness Monster lives on to this day (the latest ‘evidence’ being the alleged 900 foot trench discovered in the iconic landmark large enough to house a whole family of Nessies!). Folklore captures the imagination and people who have the means to book their own private Nessie hunting boat tour (or indeed have their own transport) to look for this Monster for days on end will do just that in order to check for themselves.

From European royalty, to Hollywood stars to intense Nessie fanatics who’ve spent their lives trying to catch a glimpse, Loch Ness brings in people from around the world to visit its peaceful haven and holiday in this part of Scotland. Many, we believe, come for the thrill of the chase in such ethereal surroundings. Charlie Sheen is known to have spent many fun filled weeks residing around Loch Ness in search of its elusive Nessie.Aldourie Castle Nessie Loch Ness celebrities Inspiring landscape evokes imagination

Loch Ness has been the setting for many famous books, poems and songs of the past as a result of its ethereal and majestic atmosphere. Just the look and feel of the place alone has inspired many a writer and artist to get their creative juices flowing. Celebrities love to tap into this idea as much as anyone else and so will make a beeline for the Scottish Highlands and plan on visiting Loch Ness and its vicinity for days, weeks and sometimes months on end. Here famous actors have found clarity, peace of mind, tranquility as well as historic and creative inspiration for getting into character and a resolute calmness conducive to learning lines.

Aldourie Castle on Loch Ness provides the perfect location for this type of staycation for the luxury travel market, housing numerous celebrities over the years in its private 500 acre Scottish Estate. Private bookings enjoys panoramic views over Loch Ness and luxurious rooms in which to while away the hours and rest either alone or with an intimate group of friends.

Look out for PART 2: Why does Loch Ness appeal to celebrities around the world?


What makes an ideal filming venue?

Viewers have been presented with countless historic properties on their TV screens in recent years, which are being used as filming venues for period dramas, feature films as well as stately backdrops for outdoor cookery programmes, documentaries and roadshows. Aldourie Castle is the perfect filming venue in so many ways – ideally located with large spaces, acres of idyllic grounds, available for private use and featuring the most stunning interiors.

filming venue Scottish Castle

We have had a major filming session over the past few months, which we look forward to announcing very soon. But in the meantime we do our best to promote the Castle to filming location agents and scouts as the ideal historic venue and grounds for any type of filming. We think Antiques Roadshow, for instance, would be very at home at Aldourie. Here are just some of the reasons why…

A helpful and supportive team
We shall start with the basics. A film crew is already scheduled with back to back tasks once they are set up on location so what is helpful to them, although it’s probably the last thing on a director’s wish list, is a friendly and supportive logistics team. Especially great at hospitality the team at Aldourie are only a phone call away to be on hand at the Castle or anywhere on the parkland (we simply jump in the Jeep!) to provide everything from lunch to photocopying.  Our five star service is also put to good use as everything is done with efficiency and a genuine Scottish smile – enough to help even the most stressful of filming days.

Aldourie Estate woodland filming venue

Scenic surroundings
Beautiful settings are surely sought after in a filming location. We only have to look outside the window of the Aldourie Estate office to see the striking and mesmerising Highlands’ landscape, complete with picture perfect mountains and endless wildlife.  Spend a day, a week, a month or longer at Aldourie Castle and filming will not be a chore. It is a permanently peaceful place. Whether the film crew are on a tea break or filming the next outdoor scene the enchanting and atmospheric outside setting at Aldourie combines relaxation and inspiration with a striking backdrop.

Heritage and architecture
Aldourie and its magic can offer the filming location scout something different from the norm.  Housing centuries of heritage in portraits, characterful features, high ceilings and heirlooms the atmosphere of the Castle’s rooms themselves lend it naturally as a perfect period setting for filming. The colours and interiors of the staterooms can apply themselves as a backdrop for royal weddings and society parties whilst the cosiness and intimacy of the bedrooms could showcase Aldourie as a private yet stately mansion house.

Aldourie Castle - filming venue

Expanse of land
A family graveyard, a tree house and marina with its own pier, old derelict buildings and bridges can be found at Aldourie, located not far from Inverness but cocooned in a private setting. And that’s not all. Tree lined paths, green countryside, pretty formal gardens, spooky woodland, trickling streams, unspoiled parkland and four characterful cottages in their own Loch Ness wilderness are captured within 500 acres of land right on Aldourie’s doorstep. And all this versatile space is available for private hire at any time of the year.

 

Overnight accommodation and private space for actors
Aldourie Castle and the cottages combined sleep over 50 guests making the Aldourie Estate perfect for actors who would otherwise have to find accommodation elsewhere. This way, they can be as close to the filming location as possible and the spacious bedrooms and en suites give them private time away from filming to look over scripts and take a break between scenes.

The bridal suite at Aldourie Castle Loch Ness Scotland - filming venue

Variety and convenience
Choosing to film their next big TV drama, advert or feature film on such a varied location has all sorts of benefits for a production company. Everything is within walking distance at Aldourie Castle. Parkland strolls for those creative thinking sessions, inspirational views and beauty spots to explore and healthy yet delicious food and drink available on request – ideal for tight filming schedules. Production teams can take a short break from filming to enjoy a stroll amongst the delightful formal gardens and orangery, allowing five minutes to themselves on a bench amongst the winding paths. There is endless car parking and flat outside solid ground space for setting up filming equipment and access to the Castle from the main road, air and rail links couldn’t be easier.

Aldourie Castle at night filming venue

The list goes on but the best way to appreciate what this unique and captivating Scottish estate can offer as a filming location is for you to visit it. We are optimistic Aldourie’s next filming adventure is just around the corner; after all, as a Castle taken straight out of a fairytale, we are confident that when Disney finds our hidden location they’ll wonder how they ever managed without us.