5 reasons to launch your new business product in Castle grounds – Corporate Event Venues

How important is your car launch in 2015? Are you looking for a special private venue to hold your business event? Will a spectacular backdrop make your new product look even more fantastic? Here we uncover why hiring out an exclusive use castle can become the best business move you could make this year.

Exclusive use means tailored to suit your needs

Ask most businesses who have hired out a private Castle in Scotland and they will confirm the quality and investment they received in return for exclusive use or private hire of that property. It really is better than you ever imagined. There are no other companies around taking up meetings spaces and a section of the dining room for dinner. There is no talk of other celebrations going on in the Castle to distract you from your business agenda. There is simply you, your team, clients, guests or delegates and the beautiful property – and a small team of very discreet hospitality staff. This means you can concentrate on getting the job done during the day and making exclusive use for business well worthwhile.

Castles come with a 5* service

Exclusive use of a heritage property such as a Castle has even more benefits. The historical nature of a medieval Castle like Aldourie will only enhance your stay; because these stately home type properties in Scotland used to be a private home to a large, wealthy family they were designed with that in mind. You receive everything you need including an impeccable service in one corporate hire location. You have privacy in the intimate rooms, perfect for BoD or board meetings and brainstorming sessions. The ballrooms or drawing rooms are large so perfect for training staff and separating into small groups. The grounds are usually in keeping with their original historic period therefore vast with different areas such as woodland and gardens – Aldourie Castle even has a private pier onto Loch Ness.

Stunning backdrops impress clients

Everyone likes to receive a personal invitation. Your business clients will appreciate even more the setting of any private hire castle; the nature of the Castle is to impress, with its tall turrets, medieval façade and its obvious historical significance. If the reason for hiring out an exclusive use venue for your corporate event is for launching or selling a product or service you have the bonus of an impressive outside backdrop. A stately home, historic castle or a museum will have the ‘wow’ factor your product deserves to help it looks its best. It shouts ‘luxury’, ‘quality’ and ‘style’.

Uniqueness sells!

Maybe the only habitable castle on Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle and Estate, would have a unique appeal to your clients during your grand product launch event. Imagine how impressive you newly launched Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Land Rover, Jaguar, BMW, Bentley, or Mercedes Benz would look against the terracotta walls of a medieval property. People like to experience something and visit locations out of the ordinary; it makes them feel special. From a vintage car rally on Loch Ness to a brand new car model launch for your rapidly growing business a castle in the Scottish Highlands could be the setting your delegates remember over all other corporate events this year.

Fresh country air clears your head for clearer thinking

If you choose a private hire property with grounds you then have the choice of holding your product launch or teambuilding event outdoors. Being outside will bring out the best in your staff and clients, especially if it’s a nice sunny day, as there is freedom associated in being outside. Fresh country air also releases stress and creates endorphins.  Your company can instil more value into their product if they invest in a countryside location. Our exclusive use property in Scotland, like many other private hire venues in the Scottish Highlands, is surrounded with woodland and tree-lined paths, ideal for stretching your legs when things get a bit stressful on the day and for clearing your head to give you the ultimate business brain required for these challenging and important corporate events.

Private corporate hospitality property hire in Scotland for your meeting, product launch or event is now sought after by small to large businesses alike. You will find that most properties offering exclusive use will be pleased to tailor the property and service to accommodate your launch event or meeting requirements.

 

 


3 real reasons to book your meeting in a private Castle

With so many hotels offering corporate stay discounts and group booking offers it’s hardly surprising that event bookers are swayed towards booking the same old hotels for their annual general meetings, their teambuilding days, senior management meetings and conferences. But what if they looked a bit further into the corporate travel offering, beyond those surface ‘offers’ and into the spectacular looking venues offering the true executive experience, the real landscape views and the ultimate in luxury accommodation?

Aldourie Castle is one of very few venues that can meet all corporate stay needs under one roof. Forget the spas, the gyms and the pools – our corporate guests come here to really escape the office environment but still have the opportunity to throw them selves into what really matters at work and for their business; teamwork, relationship building, problem solving and sharing ideas. They leave Aldourie with a clearer perspective than when they came. Surely, any CEO would benefit from a corporate stay like that…

parallel57-aldourie-castle-01 private Castle

Once again, we tell you why choosing a corporate stay venue like Aldourie Castle will help your company achieve its ambitions. Here are five reasons to book this Castle for your next important meeting or event.

1.Private venues offer more quality time with staff
By booking a private hire property for your corporate stay, you are ensuring that you and your team receive the very best in hospitality. Each room is to be used and explored, there are no boundaries, no thinking “are we allowed in this area?”. Everything that a private hire venue stands for is to make you feel at home and comfortable without the want for anything. Our experienced but small hospitality team offer you an impeccable service; we can attend to your every whim or be around only when you require us. It is your choice how involved the Castle management is during your stay. You are the boss here the same as you are in the office, commanding attention and setting the rules if you wish. Instead of worrying about what you can and can’t do or use, we open up the Castle as your own playground or work space enabling you and your dedicated team to get on with the main reasons you booked your meeting or training in the first place. If you run over time, it’s not a problem. The meeting rooms are your own. We want you to get the most out of this experience so you leave happy and book with us again.

private Castle Library

2. There is space to think and clear your head
The whole Castle is yours for the duration of your stay. Aldourie Castle is special like many other private hire properties in that you can wander in and out of any space or room in this enchanting historic place and relax completely in its overwhelmingly welcoming atmosphere. One of the most sought after aspects of a corporate hire property is that it offers senior managers and CEOs the space to think and clear their mind in order to concentrate on important matters and gain a clear perspective . Aldourie Castle and its surrounding 500 acre Estate allows all business guests to experience this by the space. luxury and beauty it provides. Guests can wander into the Library, take up a book and spend “time out” of work mode to collect their thoughts. Staff can go off in smaller teams and split into different rooms – there are numerous spaces to be at Aldourie, both inside and outside. For overnight or 24 hour corporate stays the luxurious bedrooms at Aldourie ensure a restful night’s sleep where you can reflect on your productive day and wake up with the sun streaming in through huge baronial windows.

34. Aldourie Castle - Tower Bedroom private Castle

3. Unparalleled luxury and beauty all around
This is what it says on the tin. You only have to start down the winding drive of Aldourie before realising you are somewhere very special indeed. This may sound like a romantic getaway but this Castle retreat has been proven to be extremely conducive to corporate events such as senior managements team meetings, brainstorming, staff training, small conferences, teambuilding and more. And the reason? Total peace and privacy. Dinner on the terrace with sublime views across the iconic Loch Ness waters.  Early morning jogs in the pine scented woodland or along the beach with the majestic Scottish Highlands in the foreground. Afternoon tea in the formal gardens with the scent of flowers in bloom. All these things and more make a corporate stay all the more attractive and enjoyable for you and your team of colleagues.

Spend less time looking out for special offers and discount group stays and more time realising the reasons why it’s more in your business’ interests to look for somewhere unique and special. A place in the wilderness, yet still easily accessible, that your team can look forward to exploring, enjoy every moment of their stay and look back on with fond memories.

 


5 reasons to choose an intimate winter castle wedding

Enter into the start the New Year with an intimate snow-topped Castle wedding

It may be something about the cosiness of a roaring fire lighting up the room as you enjoy a delicious Scottish wedding breakfast, or the crisp wintery air outside allowing you to snuggle further into your white fur cape placed delicately over your beaded dress, or the simply stunning photograph opportunities that can be achieved with such ethereal and pristine winter backdrops. Whatever your reasoning behind choosing an intimate winter wedding, we at Aldourie Castle couldn’t agree with you more. Here are a few more reasons why a winter wedding is the perfect end, or start, to the year.

Margaret Soraya wedding photography - Aldourie Castle castle wedding
Winter weddings are an excuse to wrap up warm in fur or velvet

Arrive in style wrapped up to the nines in a beautiful warm wedding dress

One of the bonuses of a winter wedding is that your wedding dress can be as heavy or as full as you wish without worrying about being too warm during your Big Day. Why not theme your dress around your venue – Medieval or other vintage styles would befit the Castle, with some added luxury and sparkle perhaps; beads, diamantes, full lace sleeves and velvet are gorgeous options that would look and feel in-keeping with the season.

Be adventurous with colour

If white is really not for you there are plenty of rich or bright shades which perfectly contrast against cool wintry settings – such as crimson or emerald green. Although wedding dresses can be colourful all year round choosing one for your winter wedding makes such a statement amongst a more sepia toned setting. The cool but atmospheric backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, either baron or snow-topped, make any winter wedding photograph a work of art. Bright colours in the foreground will add much interest and depth to the look and feel of your wedding day.

The Scottish Highlands create a magical backdrop castle wedding
The Scottish Highlands create a dreamy and magical backdrop

Hot beverages for a party spirit!

Champagne is both elegant and traditional – especially for the ‘toast’ – but how about something different for the reception? Pimms is perfect for the height of summer so why not try the opposite for your wedding nuptials and let your guests indulge in the spiciness and festiveness of mulled wine. Many a bridal party at Aldourie Castle opts for this tipple at their winter wedding, with which guests can sit on the grass verge to gaze out over the impressively vast Loch Ness waters or take a leisurely stroll through the trees on the back drive, without feeling the chill.


Theme it ‘Winter’

So many luxury castles and houses are made for big parties – so if you’re choosing a venue such as Aldourie Castle you really can have a ball with theming your intimate wedding. A recent autumn wedding we hosted saw the bride choose sophisticated and inspired twig centrepieces and a tree-named table plan as well as throwing autumnal shades of burnt orange and deep reds into the mix – it was delightful! Although the magnificent baronial interior of the Staterooms speaks for itself there’s always room for a personal touch; take advantage of the medieval feel of the Castle and invite your guests to Winterfell in the world of Game of Thrones; this doesn’t have to be as corny as it sounds; decoration and a costume here can make for a really impressive, stylish but subtle theme. Lastly, ensure your flowers choices are brimming with rich colouring and the occasional sparkle of silver or gold.

Theme your wintry wedding castle wedding
Theme your wintry wedding: Imagine a Game of Thrones look and feel

And finally…Let it Snow!

How many of us worry about the weather, whether it be too hot and sticky or too cold and rainy? Couple that with your wedding day, and stress levels can get high just anticipating bad weather. What many a photographer may never tell you is that a bright sunny day is not necessarily the ideal scenario for capturing the best images.

By choosing to have a winter wedding you’re more likely to expect there to be snow on the ground; what better than a gentle snowfall to add to the excitement of the day. And what’s more, it means you can relax your feet in wellies under your wedding dress for some of the photos – and nobody will be any the wiser!

snow topped castle wedding Scotland castle wedding
A snow topped castle wedding on Loch Ness in Scotland: perfection

For couples searching for the perfect winter wonderland venue, Aldourie Castle near Inverness still has available intimate winter wedding dates from January to March 2015.

Celebrate with your select nearest and dearest family and friends in what will be one of the most memorable days of your lives, in an enchanting location and luxurious place.


Top 3 reasons for a last minute Castle Company Christmas Party

It’s approaching the end of the year; your staff are restless, targets have been hit and the budget has been spent (well, nearly – you still have some money left to treat your team to a fantastic Christmas Party!)

With so many reasons this year to reward and incentivise your staff, why not celebrate in the most stylish surroundings possible in the heart of Scotland? Don’t do what all the other big companies are doing and find a neat little venue close to the office for convenience. Go that extra mile – or six – out of Inverness and along the easy road to Aldourie. Pull into the grand gated driveway and  let your work troubles drift away as you all slowly slope into Christmas mode among the comforting trees of the Scottish Highland’s most beautiful country Estate.

Aldourie Castle panorama - Company Christmas Party

1. Your staff will thank you for years to come
Every member of your team will be grateful for the ‘treat’ they have been awarded for a long year’s hard work at the office. They will thank you, their boss, not just for the occasion but for the thought that went in to providing them with such a luxury Christmas party venue, 5 star service and the most delicious Scottish food. Make them feel special this Christmas and make December a month to look forward to and, most of all, be grateful for, for everyone in your company.

2. Joint wonderful memories boost staff morale for next year
Team spirit will thrive come January as you all recall the wonderful time spent in one of Scotland’s most historic house party Castles. Not everyone will admit it but they all want to live like a King or Queen, a Laird or Lady, just for a night in the year. Let your team remember the excitement, the luxury and the beauty or such a place as a private Castle overlooking Loch Ness waters. You can then all take that memory through to 2015 and shared memories will evoke teamwork and even friendships amongst your staff.

Special Events at Aldourie Castle Company Christmas Party

3. Last minute can mean a surprise event!
Send a memo letting each department know that there will be a surprise last minute Christmas Party to congratulate and reward them for all their hard work. The dress code can be black tie or smart / casual – you decide – but the venue will be something out of a dream. Lift their spirits even higher with a surprise venue and private transport, so they really will have no idea!

 


Hire a Castle for the weekend for business use

The advantages of booking to hire a castle for the weekend are many and in this blog we will give you a taste of what Aldourie Castle can offer. Below is the second part of our corporate hospitality blog showcasing even more of what a private hire corporate hospitality property in Scotland, such as Aldourie, has to offer business groups in the luxury group travel market.

Excellent Scottish Catering
You’ve seen the setting; it’s undeniably beautiful. That will impress your team of staff in the first instance. But what is next on their list? We imagine we are close if we say “food”. Good home cooked food is what we specialise in at Aldourie; we offer luxury dishes using the freshest ingredients, including meat, game and vegetables. We have a variety of menus unique to the Castle that our in house chef has created to define this luxury Scottish venue.

Hire a Castle for the Weekend for Business Use

Available for group hire
When a company spends time and money choosing an ideal venue for their important business meetings or events, having a venue all to yourself is sometimes a necessity. As one of Scotland’s most impressive corporate hospitality properties, Aldourie is proud to offer only exclusive hire, allowing you to hire a castle for the weekend exclusively for your needs to any one business group. Private use of the Castle is what makes it special, more special we think than staying in a top hotel or spending the day in a modern specially designed conference centre.

Even though the Castle is historic in its look and feel it does feature contemporary aspects that make your stay here all the more enjoyable. But, for authenticity, we keep these as subtle as possible. The Castle’s main restrooms are a prime example; with marble tops and luxury interiors they are almost as comfortable as the bedrooms.

Hire a Castle for the Weekend

Uniqueness: The only habitable Castle on Loch Ness
If you as an event manager are looking for something different that your corporate group has not experienced before, there could be nothing more rewarding than seeing the reaction of your team to the first sight of Aldourie; be it the wooded entrance, the deer bouncing through the woodland or the tall turreted castle itself. Everything about the Scottish Estate is unique, from its glorious views to the atmosphere as you step inside to the fact that it features luxury bedrooms for overnight bookings.

Space for your team to enjoy
The beautiful Castle is hidden away from view, near to the main roads and networks but from these roads it is nowhere to be seen.  Despite this proximity to the local amenities and transport links Aldourie Castle is located well within a private 500 acre parkland, away from the noise of the busy traffic and instead surrounded by wildlife, nature and tranquillity. The peaceful and spacious environment at Aldourie makes it the ideal venue for important meetings, product launches and events and gives every one of our guests the chance to think and breathe. So why not call today and hire a castle for the weekend for your corporate event, or alternatively fill in our online form.

 


What does Exclusive Use of a private Castle actually mean?

The first thing to know when you hear the words ‘Exclusive Use’ in reference to a hospitality venue or private property is that it’s most likely a very special and unique place indeed. And secondly, if it’s a historic property, that it is unlikely to be open to the public, making it an even more exciting and intriguing place to visit. Thirdly, this phrase means that the property is available only for private hire by an individual or group. There is no rule who that individual or group may be; it could be a family reunion of numerous generations, a corporate booking or a close group of friends sharing an idyllic holiday. With us, you can rent an entire castle on the shores of Loch Ness.

The library has hundreds of books Use of a private Castle

All of the above outlined attributes of our beloved Castle go down very well with guests. They like to know they are staying in not only a beautiful property but a special venue that can be experienced only by those who feel it worthy enough of hiring the place privately for themselves or their group. This private Scottish Estate and the enchanting Castle that sits within it is classed as a private historic property rather than a public place owned by any of the national heritage organisations that look after buildings and gardens, such as the National Trust or Historic Houses Association.

These organisations are brilliant at up-keeping hundreds of beautiful properties that are dotted around the UK and are responsible for opening their doors during certain time of the year for the public to visit and enjoy. (This is not always the first wish of their current owners but in fact a necessity to keep the contents and the properties themselves in existence). If owners are lucky enough to not to have to rely on The National Trust and HHA for their services and therefore tick all the boxes and have means to operate as a private hire property then this opens up a whole new set of opportunities for such heritage buildings.

4. Aldourie Castle from Loch Ness Use of a private Castle

Setting up your own heritage Estate as a private hire property however is not as simple as listing it on a few websites and telling some travel agents where it is located. There is hard work to be done in making it ready for the guests you want to attract. For instance, health and safety regulations have to be adhered to and any overnight accommodation has to be guest-ready (not like the red-roped bedrooms you see in various stately homes that, although look inviting and exciting to experience, would probably leave you with a bad back by morning).

Like any top hotel, private use venues have a priority; to satisfy guests with an exceptional service and comfort so they either book again for next year or recommend the property to family and friends. All this means research into what other exclusive use properties are offering on a service and comfort level, and aiming to match or go a step further than them. It then also means investment of pieces such as incredibly comfortable items befitting the property. There is a certain knack needed here which is why so often a professional interior designer is hired; the furniture must be attractive, coordinating, comfortable, endurable and at the same time, if in a historic setting, should appear as if it was placed there hundreds of years ago. The same theory applies to the decoration of floors, walls, ornaments and artwork etc. You get the idea! There is so much to prepare for before a property can even be considered as being hired out to the luxury travel market.
Use of a private Castle - red room

Now you realise that the properties you see available for ‘Exclusive hire or Exclusive use are those which are in-keeping with their original era through design, style and architecture but have most definitely been through a period of transformation and modernisation of their facilities, both inside the property and in the grounds. This is no mean feat and, as with Aldourie Castle, often takes years of vision, research, preparation, hard work and perseverance in order to achieve the final outcome. Guests who hire an exclusive use property therefore appreciate what they are getting in return.

For there is something quite special and mystical when you rent an entire castle for a week, or even just overnight, in a country house or castle that was once lived in centuries ago by families and welcomed intriguing historical characters as visitors for weeks on end. Aldourie itself was such a Castle, complete with house party status and part of a celebrated and popular sporting Highlands Estate.

Privately hiring this Castle as your own home lets you and your guests share in the memories of years gone by, family secrets and as many historical facts as you can possibly take in. Exclusive Use is what is says on the tin: special, privileged and entirely yours. Enquire to rent an entire castle exclusively on the shores of Loch Ness today.


5 reasons to book your business meeting in a private castle

Are you searching for the best meeting and exclusive use venue Scotland? Aldourie Castle Estate features a versatile venue for corporate hospitality and is fully equipped to cater for any type of meeting or corporate event. The medieval Castle is located in the 500 acre Highland country Estate and ticks all the boxes for any type of midweek meeting hire need.

exclusive use venue Scotland - private bedrooms
Luxury bedrooms and private use of a Castle

An impressive setting

Aldourie Castle has hosted events for numerous high profile companies since its renovation in the early 2000s. It is a perfect backdrop for your company event – reward staff with a celebratory Christmas lunch or impress your clients with a company charity dinner. Its regal interiors and private setting make the Castle the ideal exclusive use venue Scotland for hosting creative brainstorming meetings or BoD strategy meetings where peace and quiet are important.

Exclusive use venue Scotland

How important is it that your chosen corporate hospitality venue offers fully private meeting facilities, catering and grounds? In this competitive business world where progress is key to the survival and profit of a company, having a venue all to yourself is necessary. Not only do you and your guests receive a tailor made service but knowing you have the entire venue to yourselves makes the occasion even more personal to you and your company. The individually designed luxury guest bedrooms for 24 hour hire of the Castle make for an even more exclusive stay.

Exclusive use venue Scotland on the shores of Loch Ness
Privacy and space for important business meetings

Ideal location

The beautiful Castle is hidden amongst a cluster of tall trees in the heart of a historic country Estate. Yet, the Castle’s location is deceiving. Just outside the Castle’s walls is the main road to Inverness where there is an airport with flights to London and Edinburgh, a train station and links to the main route networks to get to other parts of Scotland. Despite this proximity to the local amenities and transport links Aldourie Castle is situated in its own private countryside away from the noise of the bustling traffic and instead surrounded by wildlife, nature and utter beauty. The peace and calm at Aldourie makes it the ideal exclusive use venue Scotland for important meetings, product launches and events.

Unique atmosphere

There is no doubt that Aldourie is one of the most unique and inspiring business meeting venues in Scotland. Too often are meetings held in bland, stuffy rooms without space to think and breathe. Aldourie is different. From the excellent hospitality on arrival through to the final cup of coffee, delicious food and drink, to the majestic setting designed to inspire all its visitors, the medieval Castle is hard to compare with any other venue. Each window has a mesmerising view of the deer-dotted Estate, the Highlands or the famous Loch Ness. There are few meeting venues that could compete with such an outlook.

exclusive use venue Scotland for your event launch
Launch your product at Aldourie

Complimentary wi-fi

Your business meeting or event will receive free wi-fi throughout the day and there is the added novelty of being out in the middle of the Scottish Highlands countryside with great connection to the Internet. Just minutes from the nearest town of Inverness with airport, train station and transport links, Aldourie sits in a world of its own but with all the mod cons you would expect from a contemporary meeting room venue.

Next time we reveal five even more great reasons to hire out Aldourie Castle exclusive use venue Scotland for your private meeting or event.


A Luxury Castle Stay in Scotland

The beauty of Aldourie Castle on Loch Ness near Inverness is that it can be used as a celebrations venue at any time of year. The surrounding Scottish Highland landscape comes into its own in every season making the baronial style castle look magnificent against its ever changing backdrop. Likewise the property itself can transform from enchanting summer fairytale castle to an ethereal winter medieval façade in a matter of months, which could be a result of a few well-placed lights outside, but, mainly due to the changing skies and weather and the reflections from the waters of Loch Ness. The natural surroundings of this old and loved castle have a lot to do with the atmosphere both in and around the luxury venue, making it truly a luxury castle stay in Scotland at any time of year.

Luxury Castle Stay in Scotland

As a wedding venue Aldourie really is the pinnacle of luxury, offering a self-contained stay for up to a week for a bride and groom and their family and friends. Celebrate in Scotland in spring and summer at Aldourie, a luxury venue, where the evenings on the parkland are never ending, where flat tree-lined paths lead guests astray into romantic woodland and beach walks, where an evening boat ride or cruise along Loch Ness can be arranged as quickly as your haggis can come out of the kitchen. Life is easy at Aldourie, the team here strives to make your luxury wedding or celebration in Scotland an experience to treasure for the rest of your life.

As a prelude to your magical big day here at Aldourie Castle the bride to be can invite her nearest and dearest girlfriends for pre-wedding fun hiring out the fairytale Castle as a luxury hen party venue for the weekend or even a week-long celebration. Hen party activities can be arranged out on Loch Ness or in the parkland or luxury games can take place in the castle itself. Why not have a stylish and sophisticated hen party in Scotland with The Hen Planner to organise activities at Aldourie Castle?

Luxury Castle Stay in Scotland

Fine dining for a unique celebration or occasion is a seamless operation here at Aldourie Castle. For those wishing to experience true fine dining in Scotland this is the place. Not only has Aldourie the spectacular backdrop for your guests to arrive to it also has the hospitality, service, experience and luxury to provide the ultimate venue for your celebration. During autumn the weather gets a little fresher and the leaves start to fall around the medieval castle floating from the hundreds of trees that enclose the venue. It’s a really magical time to experience Aldourie Castle Estate, if just for the beauty of the place. Inside, your guests can gather for pre-dinner drinks in the cosy red Drawing Room, leisurely exploring the castle with its library of books and hallways laden with portraits and heirlooms, before being seated to a three or four course dinner in the grand traditional Dining Room. Ever since the Highlands clans were diminished in the area Aldourie has made a name for itself as a fine dining venue in Scotland. Be in a corporate charity dinner, business dinner with important clients or a unique dining event in celebration of Scottish cuisine. Whatever the event celebrate it on Loch Ness in a famous castle in Scotland with impressive Scottish Highlands views and an unrivalled autumnal atmosphere.

Luxury Castle Stay in Scotland

Into the party season months of November and December a luxury castle stay in Scotland takes on another feel completely. Festivity takes over and the interior rich reds, golds and creams complement the outside of the Scottish Highlands castle. The Loch Ness property then becomes a perfect luxury party venue for events such as Murder Mystery dinner evenings and family reunions. Because the castle can be as informal as you like it is ideally suited for multi-generational stays of groups of family and friends. The child friendly party venue in Scotland is at its best when there are children exploring its every room and creating their own fun and adventures out in the Highlands estate from playing with the castle’s very own dog Loch Ness Lizzie to climbing the tree house and looking out over Loch Ness. The luxury Scottish castle with 13 bedrooms is a popular choice for family reunions and parties. Its convenient location, just outside Inverness and close to train stations and the airport, makes Aldourie Castle the luxury castle stay in Scotland for family and friends to get together in Scotland. The estate makes for a winter wonderland walk as children experience adventures in the Aldourie woodland looking for Santa’s Grotto, reindeer and sleighs hidden in the snowy parkland.

Luxury Castle Stay in Scotland

Another option available for a luxury castle stay in Scotland is murder mystery dinners for private groups in autumn and winter are always successful nights and there are many opportunities for these types of events from Halloween to Burns Night in January. What better place to spend December than at Aldourie, when Christmas is upon us and being with family and close friends is important. This enchanting castle is the ultimate house party venue in Scotland. Get everyone together for a family reunion on Loch Ness at a Scottish Highlands castle and make some lasting memories. After all, nobody needs an excuse for a party!

If you would like to book a luxury castle stay in Scotland then why not in touch via our online booking for or, alternatively, call us to discuss your particular needs.

 

 


Aldourie Castle History; Scottish Highlands, Clans & House Parties

The Highlands: from frightening wilderness to tourist trap

Aldourie Castle is located on Strath Dores’ low lying rolling grounds, between Loch Ness’ southern shore and the steep sides of the Glen leading up onto Drumashie Moor. People have lived in this area of the Highlands for thousands of years. There is so much here today to explore and enjoy but it has not always been this way. This mesmerising castle has seen a lot of history and in the process undergone substantial changes. Originally starting life as a laird’s mansion house, Aldourie began its story in a time when terror reigned during the Highland clan system. As the hills around it transformed so did Aldourie itself, only eventually achieving castle status in the 19th Century.

To understand the reasons for the transformation of the property from house to castle it is necessary to understand the forces in play in the Highlands at that time. As the Highlands trudged through bleak wilderness into tourist-appealing rustic idyll thus was born the Highland Sporting Estate and the Scottish baronial castle.

Aldourie a Highland Sporting Estate Aldourie Castle History
Aldourie a Highland Sporting Estate

The earliest part of the building was built by Alexander Macintosh of Kyllachie in the 17th Century whose family’s clan had held land in the Findhorn valley about 12 miles east of Aldourie. Although the old Scottish clan society proved to be a stable, lasting and fair way of living there was an equal measure of uneasiness amongst the Highlands that came with this way of ruling. Each clan had a chief to whom the people owed allegiance and he in turn could call on them to fight in his private army when required.  Often disputes would break out with neighbouring clans over boundaries or disputed chieftainships. This wild untamed and frightening land was governed by people of the same description and this was the reason few Lowland Scots or English ever ventured across the Highland line, leaving it all for the indulgence of the Highlanders for many years to come.

Alexander Macintosh was a real Highland character who led his clan to battle on several occasions. He was responsible for the first phase of construction at Aldourie in around 1622, a modest two-storey building with a few rooms and an attic. On Alexander’s death the property passed to his nephew William VIII of Kyllachie, who already owned a lot of land in the area, and in turn to the latter man’s son, Donald IXth of Kyllachie, in 1655. In 1667 there was a record of a Donald McIntosh of Aldowrie’ showing that the house had been built to a standard that was rated important enough to be recorded in his name. One of Donald’s daughters, Katherine, married John Barbour in 1700, who gave the title ‘of Aldourie’ to himself although his acquisition of the property did not officially happen until 1733.

Drumashie Moor ancient village settlement Aldourie Castle History
Drumashie Moor ancient village settlement

An event which would make history was on its way…

The Battle of Culloden in 1746 marked the defeat of the old Highland clan system. The British government could no longer tolerate a radical, independent minded and repeatedly rebellious people living in its northern lands. The Highlanders were subsequently brought into line; new laws forbade them to keep weapons of any kind and even to wear Highland dress – a deliberate move to quash an ancient culture. At the same time, Fort George was built and other measures taken to ensure that peace reined across the Highlands.

Around 1754, still in its modest form of ‘mansion’ house, Aldourie was sold by the Barbour family to William Fraser WS of Erchitt and Balnain. William’s daughter Anne married Alexander Tytler in 1776 and as was custom among the high classes of the time they merged surnames. By the 19th Century the old clan system had been consigned to history books, many chiefs had forfeited their estates or sold up and former clan lands were changing hands fast to new breed of landlord. These new owners had a real interest in the land from an economic or recreational perspective but little interest in, or loyalty to, the people, including their history or culture.

Alexander Fraser-Tytler Aldourie Castle History
Alexander Fraser-Tytler

Entrepreneurial landowners saw economic opportunity in wool and soon sheep were growing in the Highlands. The wool boom did not last but by the time it finished the Highlands had been transformed and the dawn of tourism was beginning. The new Highlands brought curious travellers to see what all the fuss was about, including famous writers such as Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell in the 1770s, Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Their writing changed people’s views of the Highlands from terrifying baron land to a wild, romantic and rustic place. The icing on the cake came in the form of royal approval when Queen Victoria and her new husband Prince Albert started holidaying in the Highlands in 1842, ultimately buying Balmoral Castle in 1848.  What the Queen did, society followed, and aristocrats flocked north to buy their own Highland estates to hunt, shoot and fish.  However, they competed this time not in the shape of war but instead vying for attention in the form of spectacular house parties in the most impressive houses…or castles.

The Fraser-Tytler family owned Aldourie for some generations and by the 1830s the family, an influential set of lawyers and historians, were amongst the highest ranks of Scottish and Highland gentlemen. It was only natural they would want their home to reflect their status and the growing interest in the land as a sporting and social playground. And so began the build to transform a house into a more comfortable home that would define their power, position and taste. The first of four new building phases of Aldourie Castle was completed in 1839 and the rest, they say, is history…

The Highlands working farms Aldourie Castle History
The Highlands working farms

The Fraser-Tytler family owned Aldourie Castle until it was necessary to sell to the late Mrs Neil Fraser-Tytler’s husband’s cousin, Colonel Angus Cameron. Colonel Cameron died in 2001 and his widow decided to sell the Aldourie the following year and move to Inverness. However, the family retained some of the estate and is still active locally. Today, ever patient Aldourie remains a private sporting estate, now famous in its own right as the only habitable castle on Loch Ness, and is regularly hired out for exclusive house parties. The beautiful property, hidden away amidst the tall trees, has been through many changes but will always maintain a strong, justifiable sense of pride in its surrounding Highland legacy.


Outdoor activities for your Scottish castle stay

Of all the guests who take the castle over as their own home for a few days, a week or even longer, it is very rare that they don’t organise some sort of outdoor activity, especially in the summer months. Of course, because Aldourie offers the best in hospitality, it is our staff that does the organising of such events; our castle guests are welcome to state how they wish to spend their time at Aldourie and we in turn grant them their wishes and put in place the activities they request.

Aldourie prides itself on a service of excellence and so it goes without saying that we use only the most professional and quality local suppliers to deliver any event or activity for exclusive parties of guests at the castle. We have built relationships with key companies who we can rely on for all outdoor activities, however unusual they may be. In fact, because Aldourie is so unique and spectacular a place, the more outlandish the activity the better!

4. Aldourie Castle from Loch Ness Scottish castle
Aldourie Castle guests can enjoy exclusive outdoor activities

500 acres of private land secluded in its own picturesque country setting yet just a few miles from Inverness, main roads and the airport has quite an appeal for guests wanting to arrange outdoor activities. Why? Well, it could be because a group of corporate directors are staying at the castle and they require some downtime from their important meetings, so a little boat ride on Loch Ness is just the ticket. Or, a large company has opened a new division and is wanting to train up their newest recruits and build relationships amongst staff, so team building activities in the parkland are often a popular choice. On a completely different scale, a family reunion is taking place in the castle over the course of a weekend the parents wish to put on a host of child orientated park activities to give the children things to do during their stay. The parents will no doubt join in too.

Aldourie Castle Activities Scottish castle
Archery activity days with an authentic Castle backdrop

It’s quite evident how versatile the Scottish Highland estate can be for different groups of guests who are staying at the unique baronial castle, but how varied can the castle parkland become to cater for an array of different types of outdoor activities and events?

To start with, Aldourie Castle is exceptionally place for a residential stay property and takes pride of place just metres from the southern shoreline of the infamous Loch Ness. This, to anyone looking to take over an historic castle with grounds in Scotland, is a key attribute of Aldourie. Boat trips on Loch Ness are a popular choice for exclusive stay guests who wish to experience the fabulous views across the Highlands and breathe in the fresh water’s air. Boat trips are also a must for any group stay at the castle hoping to catch a glimpse of Nessie the notorious Loch Ness Monster, who only recently showed her face as she glided by Aldourie to take in the spectacular night time view of the medieval castle (we do have a photo to prove it). Boat trips on Loch Ness are available exclusively for our castle guests and they board directly from Aldourie Pier. We use the renowned company Cruise Loch Ness for the best boat rides of the famous water.

Activities Aldourie Castle Scottish castle
Boat trips on Loch Ness

The woodland on the Scottish country estate is simply great for exploring; filled to the brim with mystery and adventure, it is the ideal playground for children and dogs. The tall woods cater for endless family fun time during Aldourie Castle stays and with Loch Ness Lizzie, (Aldourie’s very own Flatcoated Retriever), always around and ready to greet a fellow playmate, there is company even for your family pet! Here in nature’s wilderness guests are encouraged to make their own fun but for specific activities and requirements the Aldourie team can always call on the professionals.

The Scottish Highlands Scottish castle
The Scottish Highlands

The Highlands’ glorious and ethereal backdrop is yet another reason why guests choose Aldourie as their favoured location for both traditional and modern outdoor activities. The aptly named Boots & Paddles offer an array of water and land based activities; from the authentic Highland Games and the active Segway to Walk on Water Balls, Kayaking and Canoeing. All these activities take place on the Aldourie Estate itself and are available for the guests who take the castle for private hire for any length of stay. There are areas of the parkland that are quite flat and therefore ideal for Segway rides, tours and experience days;the personal transporter ride that is becoming increasingly popular for team building and team activity days. The entire atmosphere that is conjured from the combination of the deer dotted parkland and the magical backdrop of Aldourie Castle brings historic outdoor activities, such as archery, to life. Guests can imagine the battle fields of long ago as they aim and fire at their targets. The photograph opportunities for these types of activities are, needless to say, an added bonus.

There are plenty of things do outside on this incredible castle estate in Scotland. The estate walls and the woodland keep within them so much potential to explore and enjoy: from the giant tree house from which children can see the immediate shoreline, Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands beyond, to the gated family graveyard and beautiful formal gardens. Imagination and creativity run wild at Aldourie which is why so many of our guests return on a regular basis whether that is to stay in the castle, attend a celebration event or simply to enjoy a relaxing holiday in one of the four self-catering cottages on the Scottish estate.

Walk on Water Balls Scottish castle
Walk on water balls at Aldourie Castle

The Aldourie team is proud of the quality of service it provides and therefore chooses only to work with suppliers of the same status and who are proven to provide exceptional service and deliver quality products and assistance for outdoor land and water based activities. We use the same trusted suppliers over again for various events, castle house parties and residential stays as we can be sure in the knowledge they are attending to our guests as attentively as we do at the castle. As a result their time in the great outdoors is as happy and relaxed as can be and can only add to what is always an incredible Aldourie experience.

The outdoor activities that can be arranged by the castle are available for guests staying exclusively at the castle only and cannot be arranged for holiday cottage guests or for members of the public.

We are pleased to work with the following trusted suppliers to deliver the activities detailed above:

http://www.cruiselochness.com/
http://www.boots-n-paddles.co.uk/