Holiday cottages get a makeover

As bright and lively summer gives way to comforting and cosy autumn, Aldourie Castle Estate is proud to present its four revamped idyllic retreats in the heart of tranquil Loch Ness. The holiday cottages on the Highland grounds just outside of Inverness offer even more appealing accommodation than before. As the Scottish countryside bursts into flames of colour, snuggle up in Ivy’s lounge, crunch through the copper leaves of Gate Lodge and breathe in that fresh Scottish air with a short break at Pier Cottage.

As well as a beautiful imposing castle on the shores of Loch Ness available for private hire, multi-generational stays and family holidays in Scotland can also be experienced in the perfectly formed character-filled cottages on the surrounding Aldourie Estate. The ideal holiday destination for families, couples or groups visiting the Scottish Highlands, the spacious holiday cottages can also be rented together for Castle house party stays that require additional guest accommodation. Holiday cottages on Loch Ness Scotland

This summer’s refurb has been a full-on experience for the hospitality and management team at Aldourie, not least for the talented gardeners who have designed new outdoor spaces for holiday cottage guests to enjoy. Scenic morning walks, autumnal picnics and evening campfires are all on the agenda this season at Aldourie, to make the most of these beautiful new outdoor spaces. Adventure is literally at your fingertips from each and every holiday cottage on this unique Loch Ness Estate.

Picturesque Ivy is postcard-perfect

Ivy Cottage is sought after by many of Loch Ness’ regular holiday makers. Its convenient situation close to all routes at the edge of the Aldourie Estate is one pull whilst the idyllic aesthetic of a symmetrical exterior at the end of a hedge lined path and framed by a pretty picket fence is another. Flowers surround the front of the cottage and it backs onto vast fields from a private yard setting. The traditional cosy stone sitooterie is an atmospheric place to shelter from the breeze and take in the glorious Highland countryside over a good book or a chat with friends. Its two penthouse bedrooms offer ample space for couples to unwind and romantic stays in Ivy are complete now that the outdoor area has been revamped to create a beautiful backdrop to those all-important memorable holiday moments.

Aldourie Castle, loch ness Holiday cottagesGarden’s in bloom all year round

Garden Cottage has been painted top to toe on the outside and looks brand new again. Its varied plant life and flowers make for a colourful private space to enjoy the fresh Highland breeze over a warming cup of coffee or refreshing glass of wine.  Beyond the garden gates our imaginative gardening team have created an adventure wonderland for children, adults and pets alike to enjoy in the form of the vast outdoor garden-come-orchard complete with rose arches, low hedging and access into the rest of the expansive 500 acre Estate. Families can adventure forth in the morning, walking with the dogs in the main parkland whilst exploring the changing colours of the grounds. In the afternoon, kids enjoy entering through the huge iron gate into the Secret Garden – AKA the castle’s enchanting arboretum – full of autumnal wonders including a giant tree house overlooking Loch Ness and a hidden family graveyard, perfect for Halloween stays.

Aldourie castle, cottages, loch ness- Holiday cottages

Lodge in Gate with a view of the Castle

Offering one of the best views in Loch Ness (in our humble opinion, anyway) stately Gate Lodge looks out across the grounds towards the impressive façade of Aldourie Castle, behind which is the magnificent backdrop of the Highlands over Loch Ness. Smartly repainted to portray its former glory, the two-floor lodge hides a discreet back garden full of wild flowers and entrancing scents to complete its fairytale appeal. Black wrought iron fencing has been re-varnished to give the cottage a really polished look in keeping with its status as King of the Parkland. Ideally located on the Estate, it witnesses the comings and goings of all guests along the winding drive and is perfectly placed to spot the roe deer as they come out to play in the evening. For Scottish holidaymakers who like to be part of the action Gate Lodge is a charming base, and seclusion can always be found in its cosy lounge or in beach strolls not far from the cottage.

Aldourie Castle, loch ness Holiday cottages

Private Pier makes your stay unique

Pier Cottage has undergone the most profound change of them all; from a brand new loch-side al fresco area complete with a fabulous BBQ and cosy picnic table to an exterior paint job that has transformed this spacious holiday rental into a shining star in the midst of Aldourie’s all-consuming woodland.  The bungalow-style short break retreat is ideal for peace and quiet, water activity enthusiasts or guests who find it easier to reside in one-level accommodation. Its spacious and naturally inspired interior provides an instant warmth and comforting dwelling for couples and families looking for a home-from-home stay. Dogs are welcome to chase around the huge garden, run wild in the woodland and splash about to their heart’s content in the Loch. Morning strolls through the wooden pergola and down towards Aldourie Pier provide a fantastic view over the water towards the Scottish Highland hills, which in autumn are ablaze in colour.

Aldourie Castle Estate Is still taking holiday cottage bookings throughout autumn and winter 2015 – 2016. Don’t miss out on the experience of a lifetime in the beautiful Scottish Highlands on Loch Ness. View our holiday cottage calendar here.

 


Why Scotland is a beautiful holiday location in all seasons

We’d like to introduce you to the wonder of Aldourie through the seasons, to help you decide when best to stay in a holiday cottage or have a luxury family house party in the Scottish Highlands. The look and atmosphere of the Castle changes throughout the year and each season brings more wonder than the last. Welcome to a year in colours and scents at Loch Ness’ most enchanting castle and estate…

Aldourie-Castle beautiful holiday locationSpring

The joys of springtime on the Aldourie Castle Estate really do set guests and staff up for the year ahead. The colours in the arboretum start to appear; green foliage creeps out of bare branches and brambles and the buds show their heads in the garden and woodland. On the Estate, private holiday guests can look forward to fresh fragrant walks in the mornings and afternoons coming across daffodils and daisies aplenty that spill out over the acres of parkland.

The delightful sound of spring in the air comes from the eclectic birdsong in the woods and bushes. Families who use the Estate to its full advantage during their exclusive stay at the Castle will notice the wildlife awakening from their homes – red squirrel, pine martins and roe deer are just a few animals to be found in the Scottish Highlands. Springtime calls for a game of archery in the park for early risers and midday picnics sitting amongst the bluebells.

In Aldourie Castle, we gather up some wild flowers and daffodils from the grounds and arrange them into vases throughout the bedrooms for guests to enjoy.

34.-Aldourie-Estate-Red-Squirrel beautiful holiday locationSummer

When the weather is high…and even when it’s low, summertime at Aldourie is a sight to behold. Cottage guests can wander the Estate into the evening, enjoying the light nights along Dores Beach, walking the dog through shadowed trails and gazing over Loch Ness from the Estate’s private pier. The boats bobbing on the marina are symbolic of the summer season at Aldourie; backed by the majestic Highland hills they accentuate the calmness of Scotland’s beautiful nature and distinctive wildlife.

The Castle gardens start to bloom with bright colours in every shade from rose arches to rhododendron walks and wild cascading flowers. The tree house and campfire spots are popular pastimes among summer guests with their promise of adventures and warmer nights. BBQs on the terrace overlooking the loch make for an enjoyable afternoon in the sun and into the evening when guests can wander the grounds with a glass of the Castle’s finest cellar wine.

Chef brings in seasonal herbs and fruits to bring dishes to life; from summer favourites including forest fruit cheesecakes and gateaux to new fish and chicken pies and salads.

 

19.-Aldourie-Estate-Parkland beautiful holiday locationAutumn

The trees start to turn in September usually but it does depend on the climate. A sea of golds, burnt oranges and crimson reds sweeps across the Scottish Highland hills and woodland floor, cocooning Aldourie Castle in an autumnal coloured rainbow. For cottage and Castle guests that stay during October and November the atmospheric Loch Ness and old family graveyard are among their favourite haunts, from Halloween strolls through clusters of parkland trees to peaceful boat rides in the nostalgically scented afternoon.

Afternoon Tea is often served in the Red Drawing Room where guests can recline on chaise longues and look out at the golden peaks and the forests swaying in the autumn breeze. Throughout the Castle, open fires flame with a gentle roar and cosy furnishings provide the perfect luxury base. Outside, because it’s always more fun to be there, the children can pick apples and various other fruits from the mini orchard near the greenhouses. The season brings plenty of pine cones and conkers for them to collect on chilly mornings.

Pumpkin pie is an Aldourie Castle chef staple, enjoyed best with friends and a fresh pot of coffee in the Laird’s Room. After cooking up an autumnal feast in the country kitchens of the holiday cottages, guests succumb to the temptation of the wood burning stove after crunching some leaves underfoot during a satisfying woodland walk.

Margaret-Soraya-Photography-Aldourie-24 beautiful holiday locationWinter

Colour slowly fades on the Estate and a silence falls as the Highland wildlife returns to shelter. Blue, cloudless skies and low sun heats up the wintry mornings; guests love a brisk walk before breakfast then watching the children race back to the Castle for a full Scottish fry up! Afternoons are made up on speedboat rides on Loch Ness wrapped up in winter woollies feeling the crisp wind against your face and dewy winter wonderland strolls looking up onto snow-capped peaks over crystal clear waters.

Back inside the Castle, hot cider and mulled wine flows and candles with festive scents fill the staterooms with smells of Christmas. Chef can be found cooking hot casseroles and Sunday roasts using the finest local game, poultry and winter veg accompanied at their best with a soul-warming bottle of Merlot from the Castle cellar at the traditional dining table.

If you’re lucky enough to be staying on the Aldourie Estate when the snow falls one of the most magical sights is seeing the Castle from the Dores side of the Loch, backed by evergreen forests and fronted with snow-capped hedges and a calming glistening lake. Snow drops and snow bells pepper the formal gardens and arboretum – fill up a vase for the bedroom to bring in the exciting smells of winter to your cottage retreat.


5 reasons to book a holiday cottage over hotel in Scotland

People have always enjoyed the freedom and flexibility that accompanies a DIY holiday from camping to self-catered hotel stays; you have the base covered but you make your own fun from there. But the growing popularity in cottage breaks in the UK and abroad is proof that people want a holiday entirely on their own terms and deep down like the creature comforts of a home from home experience. Some added luxury and an idyllic location are usually top of the list, especially if a couple, family or group of friends are travelling far up the country to the magnificent and famous Scottish Highlands. It just so happens that Aldourie can provide all the convenience and beauty needed to make the perfect cottage holiday or short break in Scotland.

Aldourie-Castle-loch-ness-35 hotel in ScotlandSelf-catering is more fun

When you’re planning and preparing your own meals you can eat what you like, when you like, which certainly helps set the tone for a freeing existence during your cottage holiday. Convenient and relaxing, holiday cottages on any farm or large country estate will usually boast a chic country kitchen with all the mod cons you’d have at home – and the change of scenery makes it all the more enjoyable to cook and chat with family and friends. You also have the choice to break up your routine with visits to a selection of local cafés or pubs in quaint towns or glorious countryside settings – check your holiday cottage manual for the owner’s recommendations for the best eateries around.

Aldourie pleasure:

Never mind Jamie Oliver’s dazzling kitchen or The Great British Bake Off marquee set ups, the huge kitchen at Pier Cottage looks out onto Highland wilderness and woodland and has a spacious cooking island and American style fridge-freezer whilst country chic Ivy Cottage has its very own SMEG. Let the beauty, aromas and tranquility of the Highlands inspire your contemporary cooking as you sit literally on nature’s doorstep. Guests are encouraged to visit the local and highly acclaimed Dores Inn for lunch or dinner; take the charming shoreline walk there and receive the complimentary shuttle back, available to all Aldourie holiday cottage guests.

4.-Ivy-Cottage-Kitchen-and-Dining-Room-e1440429702217 hotel in ScotlandBreakfast at your leisure

Wake up to a breakfast every morning at a time to suit you instead of being dictated to by a hotel’s set timings. Enjoy a leisurely prep in the kitchen and later the full works with the company of your choosing. Top off sitting down to a hearty cooked Scottish breakfast with incredible window views and cosy surroundings with the gentle hum of the radio.

Aldourie pleasure:

It has to be bacon and eggs breakfast in bed or being woken up by the smell of steaming fresh coffee from the Nespresso machine, found in any one of the four pretty holiday cottages on the Highland Castle’s large Estate.

Beautiful setting and landscape

Compared to a hotel, which is more often than not placed for convenience of access and locality, a holiday cottage is placed thus for its setting. Luxury cottage rentals in Scotland are blessed with captivating surroundings of the Highlands or Lowlands or on the banks on many of the lochs that define the country. Tranquillity and beauty preside in the calming, wild and untouched areas of Scotland so when choosing your cottage destination be sure to opt for one with the most idyllic and captivating views as well as access to the type of countryside you most want to enjoy or explore. Your own holiday cottage garden, like the ones at Aldourie, allows freshly cooked dinners al fresco, barbeque on site and the kids run around by themselves in a safe, secure environment.

Aldourie-Castle-loch-ness-51Aldourie pleasure:

Nestled within a private Estate yet accessed by the main road into Inverness and minutes from the train station and airport, our cottages could not have a more convenient location. Once through the iron Castle gates, the route down the winding drive to find each of our hidden holiday cottage gems is an adventure in itself and the glorious, individual setting of each holiday cottage is the icing on the cake. With endless views, scenic walks, fresh air and rare Scottish wildlife on your doorstep there is no need to get in the car to find it elsewhere.

Unadulterated Privacy

Unlike a hotel, with a relaxing cottage break in Scotland you will not have to share the outlook or immediate outdoor surroundings with anybody but your own party of family or friends. Plus, all rooms in the holiday cottage are yours to use as and when you please and for whatever reason you wish. Although the landscaped gardens and grand rooms of a hotel may be luxurious they are intended for public use and privacy is not necessarily part of the deal. Self-catered holiday cottages are also a preferred way of holidaying for many because there are no hospitality staff and no superfluous distractions; just the relaxing lapping of waves and the giddy noise of the children playing in the back garden.

Aldourie-Castle-loch-ness-49Aldourie pleasure:

Ivy Cottage’s cosy luxury complete with exposed beams and a freestanding bedside bath is more romantic than any hotel suite. Garden Cottage’s outdoor area is an adventure playground for all the family and Pier Cottage offers Loch Ness views you could only otherwise dream of that are exclusive to you. Privacy in your Scottish Highland dwelling is guaranteed at Aldourie.

Pet friendly

Many hotels are not pet friendly but when you visit the Scottish Highlands bringing your beloved dog is a huge part of what makes your holiday special. One of the major pulls of a self-catered stay is the opportunity to bring the whole family and not leave a certain member behind. Bringing your dog on holiday helps to keep the stress levels low and the kids distracted, which on long car journeys could be a welcome relief. Moreover, dogs add fun, frivolity and activity to your cottage holiday and can take advantage of most of the holiday activities you would partake in as a family – perhaps not the initial supermarket shop, but definitely the long Highland walks, hill scrambles and wild swimming in the lochs! Pet friendly cottages can be found across the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness and are usually advertised as such on the owner’s website.

Aldourie-Castle-Loch-Ness-Boots-n-Paddles-057-e1440432451663Aldourie pleasure:

The mysterious woodland, enormous parkland and close proximity to Loch Ness for playful paddles make for a perfect dog holiday at any Aldourie cottage, whilst atmospheric and heart-warming indoor wood burning stoves will keep your lovable pooch contented into the evening. Dogs love racing out onto the private pier and lazing there with a bowl of water, mesmerised by the boats bobbing on the marina.


Private Castle Wedding Venues

Bring the year to a fine end in a premier private Scottish castle wedding venue

Is it the warmth of a roaring fire cosying up the room as you enjoy traditional Scottish cuisine for your wedding breakfast or the crisp, cool wintry air outside allowing you to snuggle further into your white fur cape placed delicately over your shoulders, that makes you want to book your small winter wedding at an enchanting Castle in the ethereal Scottish Highlands? There are many reasons for you to want to have a winter wedding at a luxury hire property and we at Aldourie Castle are firm believers that small, intimate private castle wedding venues with just a select few guests of family and close friends are perfectly placed in fairytale settings.

Private Castle Wedding Venues

Arrive in style wrapped up warm in a fur or velvet wedding dress and cape

One of the many benefits to having a intimate wedding in a premier, winter, private Scottish castle wedding venue, is that your wedding dress can be as heavy with as many layers of material as you wish without the worry of over-heating during your big day. Why not theme your dress around your venue – Game of Thrones or fairytale themed small weddings would befit the Highland Castle on Loch Ness. Then add some luxury to your attire with beads, diamante, lace or fur; any of which would be in-keeping with the winter season.

Be brave and bold with colour

We’re guessing that if you are choosing to hire a private Scottish castle wedding venue in a luxury turreted castle in wild open grounds for your small wedding, then you probably like to do things a little differently. If you think there may be too much white around on your wedding day then opt for a rich, decadent shade of crimson or emerald green for your wedding dress to contrast well against cool wintry settings. Choosing a bolder colour adds to your confidence on the day and makes such a statement amongst the atmospheric light blues and greys of winter. The cool striking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands in this Scottish castle wedding venue, either wild and blustery or still and snow-topped, make any winter wedding photograph a work of art. Imagine your bridal gown in the foreground adding so much interest and depth to the look and feel of your wedding day.

Margaret Soraya Photography shows the wintry magic of Loch Ness

Hot beverages create a party spirit!

Champagne is the traditional option for the wedding ‘toast’ and adds elegance to your wedding; something you wouldn’t want to be without in an enchanting castle on Loch Ness. But you could opt for an alternative for your guests to drink at your small wedding reception. Pimms is ideal in summer so why not try the perfect match for winter and allow your guests indulge in the spiciness and festiveness of a glass of mulled wine. Many a bridal party at Aldourie Castle favours this festive tipple at their small winter wedding not least because it eases winter chills, warming the hands and hearts of guests as they wander the snowy woods and parkland or take in the views over the Loch from the glistening shoreline.

Theme it ‘Winter’

So many luxury castles and houses were originally designed for huge parties but Aldourie Castle with its intimate relaxing rooms, cosy nooks and hallways and individual character bedrooms was made for small, private parties. Because we are relaxed and want you to feel at home here you really can let go when theming your intimate wedding. Although the magnificent baronial interior of the Staterooms speaks for itself there is opportunity for personal touches; take advantage of the historic feel of the Castle and invite your guests to attend a small royal party in Winterfell and indulge in a private Game of Thrones style wedding. This doesn’t have to be corny – you go for outlandish glamour or stick to an impressively stylish but subtle theme. Lastly, ensure your flowers choices are brimming with rich colour and the occasional sparkle of silver or gold.

Private Castle Wedding Venues

And finally…Let it Snow!

How many of us worry about the weather, generally; not just leading up to a wedding day. Avoid the stresses associated with hoping and praying for ‘nice 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, by default you’re more likely to expect it to be cold, possibly frosty, a chance of rain or even a blizzard. But once you have accepted that will more than likely be weather to expect during your intimate wedding celebrations you can start to get excited about the possibilities of extreme weather forecasts such as a gentle smattering of snow. What conjures up romance more than a gentle snowfall outside whilst you make your eternal vows in the cosiness of a castle? It will only 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!

For couples searching for the perfect winter wonderland venue, Aldourie Castle near Inverness still has small winter wedding dates available from November to March 2016.

Celebrate with only your nearest and dearest family and friends in what will be one of the most memorable days of your lives in the most exclusive, private Scottish castle wedding venue, on wondrous Loch Ness.


8 things to do in Loch Ness: Part 2 Including Nessie Tours!

We hope you enjoyed the last read which we hope enlightened you about all the things you can din the Scottish Highlands and on Loch Ness if you decide to come here for a family holiday or a short break with friends. There is never a dull moment here in this majestic space full of mountainous peaks, wild rolling hills and refreshing shorelines. And, look, there is more in store…

Whisky distillery tours

Being based in the Scottish Highlands it’s an easy decision for Aldourie Castle Estate guests to visit whisky distilleries in the region not least because they are easily accessible but because they help to make our guest feel more at home in their holiday retreat. Famous for the legendary tipple the Highlands offers many whisky distillery tours and each has their own story as well as their own scotch so please take your pick.

Aldourie castle , Loch Nes, tea and champagne Nessie Tours

You’ve either never tasted whisky before or your granddad let you try his once and you spat it out before it touched the sides. Or, you’ve acquired the taste over the years – maybe you worked for a whisky company and learned to love it or you simply followed suit when all your friends started ordering a dram at the local pub  and realised, actually, you kind of like it. Well, in our book, each Scottish whisky is different and whisky tasting and making distillery tours are a great way to get to know the drink that is still a vital part of Scottish Highlands’ heritage and its way of life.

Nessie hunting tours

One of the most incredible things about a private stay with family, colleagues or friends at Aldourie Castle and Estate is how close your holiday home is to the water’s edge of Loch Ness. Not only this; but the Highland Estate border leads guests to an exclusive marina and private pier onto the famous Scottish lake. So, obviously, Aldourie is literally the perfect location for a Nessie Hunting tour.

cruise loch ness Nessie Tours

The luxury hire property guests can board any type of boat from the pier including speed boats and canoes but it is the Nessie Hunter that excites most of our parties. Actor Charlie Sheen stayed at Aldourie a few years ago and took to the famous waters to try to find the legendary monster. Was he successful? Quite rightly, he never said. But the endless stories surrounding the incredible myth have led many people – scientists, news reporters and travellers alike – over the years to search the length and breadth of this mysterious and enchanting expanse of wild, fresh water. Some graciously take the helping hand of The Nessie Hunter and some go it alone.

The team at Aldourie will leave you with these two activities to consider and plan – they won’t take you long to organise and, let’s face it, they’re a pretty lazy option and you won’t break much of a sweat. For the final instalment however, we’ll take you on a Highland journey where strength, power, focus and great Scottish pride will come into play – and you will definitely have to use some muscle if you want to take part. Have we given too much away? Until next time…


Summer in Loch Ness – 8 things to do

There is a wealth of activities to experience in this infinite, wild land that is home to Aldourie Castle and its traditional, cosy holiday cottages. Here are just a few exciting and adventurous things to do in the magnificent Scottish Highlands and majestic Loch Ness waters that will help lift your spirits and energy levels. They will also make you wonder why on earth you never thought of visiting Scotland before…

Hiking Summer in Loch Ness

Walking and hiking

The breath-taking scenery of barren land and mountainous peaks are a sea of greens, greys, blues and yellows – a real treat for the eyes, and the lungs.

Get out into Scotland’s wilderness and explore the walking trails and hiking paths. Good short but scenic walks include Loch Ness, Glen Affric and the Black Isle and for the hiker in you venture up high to the Isle of Skye and scramble up the Black Cuillin mountains to experience much longer Scottish Highland hikes and some unforgettable views. The more you challenge yourself on your short break in the unpredictable Scottish Highlands the more rewarding your time in this beautiful, spirit freeing place will be. Some spectacular and impressive Loch Ness and Highland walks can be found at Hillwalk Tours and Walk Highlands.

Cycling

There are supposedly nine million bicycles in Beijing. There are a lot fewer in Scotland but in our opinion there is more beauty to be seen cycling through the Highland hills. Once a wooden framed, simply designed apparatus this piece of engineering art is now enjoyed by millions of people across the world. From the practiced competing cyclist to the family of four who just like to explore to the mountain biking enthusiast, cycling is becoming more popular by the day.

cycling low res

This simple, historic sport is faster than walking or running and you get a sense of exhilaration whizzing through the tall Highland forests or along winding Loch Ness cycle paths. You can explore so much more on a bike than on foot whilst on holiday in the Scottish Highlands. Find out some great cycling routes at Visit Scotland

Canoeing

You’ve either never been in a canoe before or you got the bug in your invincible teens and spent the rest of your life in one. Or, you were made to get in one for a corporate away day once – and “never again”. Well, in our book, canoeing holidays in Scotland are a great way to explore and discover the wilderness regions on the Scottish Highlands, its rivers and lochs.

With literally dozens of helpful and informative websites on canoeing in Scotland, you can take your pick of these experienced organisations from basic canoe paddling with Explore Highland to adventure loving Wilderness Scotland.

The famous Great Glen Canoe Trail takes you along the Caledonian Canal from Aldourie Castle’s nearest town, Inverness, to historic Fort William, full details of which can be found at our local tourism website.

Summer in Loch Ness CanoeingBoat Tours

One of the most incredible things about a week or a fortnight staying with your private party at Aldourie Castle and Estate is the close proximity to the water’s edge of Loch Ness.

Not only do the beautiful Highland grounds lead into woodland for you start off any of your walks or hikes above but it also features its own marina and private pier on the famous lake ideal for boat tours on Loch Ness.

Our Castle guests can board any type of boat from the pier from speed boats to the Nessie Hunter to canoes and even water zorbs for the kids. But one of our favourite things to do on Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands is take a boat cruise from Fort William or Inverness and take in the history, facts and folklore of the vast lake and let its mystery and mesmerising beauty calm your soul and take you into another world.

To find a boating tour on Loch Ness to make the most of your holiday in Scotland take a trip with Jacobite Cruises and Tours which go past Aldourie Castle and Urquhart Castle or Loch Ness Cruises in Drumnadrochit. Jacobite cruises loch ness Summer in Loch Ness

Whether you’re planning a week long cottage stay in the Scottish Highlands or opting for exclusive use of a beautiful and luxurious private hire property such as Aldourie with its own Highland grounds, Scotland caters for all. This should leave you filling your Loch Ness holiday itinerary until Part 2 arrives for details on Whisky making tours, Nessie hunting and more.


Highland Glamping – without the tent!

The days are heating up and rain is still interfering with heavy showers whenever it feels like it. Perfect festival weather, wouldn’t you think? Not quite yet, give it a month and we’ll be there. But whilst you’ve got camping, lounging days and chilled out evenings on the mind what better time to contemplate your next country break?

Ever thought about escaping with a group of friends to the Scottish Highlands for your summer vacation? Honestly, it may be more glamorous than you think, especially if you book a luxury cottage break on the shores of Loch Ness: it’s just like glamping but you only have to bring yourselves, leaving more room in the car for necessary supplies of shortbread and whisky.

Glamping Blog - Highland Glamping

Cottage retreats in the heart of Scotland’s forests

Who needs a field of dried out flattened grass when you can have an English (or Scottish) country garden? Pretty gardens full of wild flowers at all times of the year surround each of the four holiday cottages on the 500 acre Aldourie Castle Estate. Stay at Garden Cottage for a glamorous and sweetly scented girls’ holiday for your group of friends. This idyllic retreat can be found tucked away behind the greenhouses on the beautiful lakeside grounds.

Just a stone’s throw from the Loch, you could be waking up to the finest window views you’ve ever dreamed of. And all from the luxury of a cosy cottage bedroom featuring a super-king sized bed. Yes, we are serious. No need to glamp it up out of doors to enjoy the succulent Scottish scenery – simply roll back long luscious curtains at Pier Cottage, grab a morning latte from the funky coffee machine, sit back against goose feather pillows and soak up the view. Who says roughing it has to be hard?tree house - Highland Glamping

Privacy, luxury and claims to fame

Staying within the exclusive Castle grounds of this distinguished Highlands country sporting Estate, you as holiday cottage guests have use of Aldourie’s private pier which juts out onto famous Loch Ness. The striking views across the lake take in miles of shimmering waters contrasted with huge colourful mountainous hills, altogether making a dramatic landscape.

This is your window view for the week and reward for choosing the most sophisticated of glamping holidays. Take the dog for an adventure (and even a swim!), dangle your feet in the water in the heat of the day or go for a romantic stroll on the pier in the moonlight. Many celebrities have stayed at Aldourie Castle over recent years; the magic of Loch Ness has lured them back again and again.

Wild swimming in your own back yard

If you really want to embrace Scotland’s nature, get even closer to it with a boat ride past the magnificent Castle. Boats rides can be accessed from nearby towns and venture into the heart of Loch Ness, cruising past Aldourie marina taking in some incredible sights and breath-taking scenery.

Jacobite cruises loch ness - Highland Glamping

To completely submerge yourself in Highland wilderness then wake up as the Scottish locals do and take a peaceful morning swim in Loch Ness. From Highlands holiday retreat Ivy Cottage on the edge of the Estate wander up the tranquil track to the Castle’s parkland, take a left and head to the beach. Then enjoy a hearty Scottish breakfast back in the luxury of your wild cottage garden.

Peaceful days and cosy nights

Whether you have previously enjoyed camping with friends, family or as a couple, it may be time for a change. To really understand the tranquillity of the Scottish Highlands you must experience it first-hand. And sooner rather than later – then you have more time to continue returning to this stunning and enchanting part of the world. Remember Scotland was voted the most incredible place to visit in 2014?

Take a Scottish break with a difference: pack a delicious picnic lunch full of your favourite Scottish treats, along with a bottle of bubbly, some local ale or good wine. Set up camp down at Dores Beach, just a few steps from Gate Lodge, and take in the sunset with a burning campfire and good conversation with great friends. Occasionally, stretch your legs with a romantic walk along the beach and see if you can spot the turrets of Aldourie Castle. Now, wouldn’t that bring the magic into your unique glamping holiday in Scotland?


Luxury hen party weekend in Scotland

A Royal Night Out? This week’s new film release depicts the royal princesses escaping the Palace’s grandeur for more excitement. However, we suggest, if a home is adorned with beauty, space and luxury, it’s more fun staying in. Here’s how to hen party in fairytale style when you rent a castle for the weekend in Scotland.

You are organising your best friend or sister’s hen party weekend but not sure what to do or where to go. Ideally, you want to encompass all the traditional traits of a sophisticated hen party in one well executed, yet still impulsive and exciting, weekend. Already sound like a challenge?

Your idea is for all the girls to have the opportunity to dress to impress – but still be pampered, enjoy some fine dining (and wining) – but also Afternoon Tea (Betty’s, Harrods or even Savoy style), whilst  luxuriating in a beautiful setting – preferably befitting a princess. A lot to ask for in one weekend? We don’t think so! And, we have the answer to your prayers: rent a castle for the weekend in the heart of beautiful, enchanting Scotland.

Aldourie castle , Loch Nes, tea and champagne Luxury hen party

Rent a castle for the weekend

There may be dozens of castle turrets at Aldourie, but there is only one roof; making your private hen party stay here a most intimate and personal celebration for the bride and her closest girlfriends. Unlike a hotel, hen party guests can wander through the Castle at their leisure making use of each room for those ‘spontaneous’ and sophisticated hen party games: Hide and Seek, Narnia style, anyone?

Our expert hospitality team also invites you to share your plans for your stylish, glamorous hen party weekend. That way, you are still staying in control but we do all the hard work to perfect the stay of your dreams. There is no need to venture to the nearest cocktail bar for the all-important Cocktail Making Session; we can organise that in the Castle’s Main Hall. Because we are so sure of our 5 star status and work with a variety of trusted suppliers we promise to deliver any of your chosen events with style, impeccable service and professionalism.

Bespoke and personable

Aldourie is a place without boundaries, where guests are encouraged to explore and free to roam and use their imaginations. We want your hen party to be a magical experience you tell your grandchildren about. Instead of a formal long list of ‘hotel’ rules, we ask you simply to respect the history and beauty when you rent a castle for the weekend in the stunning Scottish Highlands. We have found this helps you and your party to relax.

Jacobite cruises loch ness Luxury hen party

Where else, even in the most luxury hotel in the UK, could you take over the outdoor grounds with just your hen party? Maybe for a price you could, but it possibly wouldn’t feel as personal and special as having a medieval Castle garden, woodland and moat (aka marina) all to yourself. Any outdoor activity akin to hen party fun, such as zorbing, can be arranged on Loch Ness itself or around the luscious green parkland. Both feature a breath-taking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands that could knock you silly!

Exclusively yours

Why share your special hen party celebrations with anyone else? At Aldourie Castle on peaceful Loch Ness shores ensconced in stunning Highlands hills and surrounded by thick forests, you and your party of close girlfriends could be the stars of your favourite Disney film or fairytale book. At Aldourie the only way we do anything is by exclusive use, so be prepared to enter the world of your dreams; be pampered, spoiled rotten, indulged and possibly have the best weekend of your life, so far…

Luxury and grandeur

The delightful individually styled bedrooms add such grandeur and luxury to your hen party weekend. Designed in a unique style of their own each bedroom can be assigned to your hen party princesses to suit personality and taste – now, that’s something you wouldn’t get in a hotel. Lady Grey bedroom with its huge en-suite bathroom is a bride-to-be’s dream; a high up turret fit for a queen where you can slip into cosy dressing gowns with your friends, sip champagne and await your personal pamper or spa experience. Try a luxury bootcamp or morning group yoga session on the lawn by Loch Ness to really get into the spirit of your hen party weekend.

Aldourie Castle, Loch Ness Boots n Paddles Luxury hen party

A perfect hen party setting

Located in the midst of a 500 acre estate, behind a tall original Castle wall resides a 17th Century masterpiece. Perfectly formed to cater for your sophisticated hen party weekend away in Scotland, this luxurious private hire property could get lost in layer upon layer of vast green landscape. Considered by all who’ve experienced its magic to be a very special venue, Aldourie Castle is a hen party location with history, character, charm and magnificence combined; the perfect start to wedded bliss. Contact us today to rent a castle for the weekend right here on the shores of Loch Ness.


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.

 

 


A cottage holiday on Loch Ness: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of our Pier Cottage guests’ holiday blog. Read Part 1 of their Scottish Highlands holiday cottage adventures and discover your own Loch Ness experience.

Exploring Loch Ness

On the second morning waking up to a stunning view of Loch Ness we were compelled to experience in more depth the most famous expanse of water in the world. We drove to Fort Augustus, our starting point, via the scenic route so as to take in the spectacular and majestic sights of the Highland hills towering over lakes and forests. This was not without its own set of events, however. Just ten minutes from our destination we came to an abrupt halt; the strong winds that had taken Scotland by storm (pardon the pun) over the past few weeks had resulted in thousands of tall trees being lifted from their roots and strewn across forest floors, woodland and even roads. One absolutely huge tree seemed strategically placed across the B road we were travelling on stopping any major access. Although the van on the other side of its path was forced by logistics to turn around we decided there was just enough room to drive underneath the felled tree, and we were soon on our way again after taking some photos of this unusual sight.

trees A cottage holiday

Once at Fort Augustus we realised that March was a quieter time for tourists and we looked forward to a peaceful trip on the cruise boat, Nessie Hunter, to take in the wonders of Loch Ness. It just so happened a coach load of tourists turned up for the 1pm ride and we were part of a crowded but highly enjoyable boat cruise led by an expert team, who kept reminding us not to feed Nessie!

After an hour of high winds, fresh air and a good old traditional hunt for the Loch Ness Monster we ticked off another exhilarating experience in the Scottish Highlands. A boat ride on Loch Ness certainly works up an appetite so an exceptionally tasty sandwich lunch by fireside at cosy Lochside Inn was most welcome and it prepared us for a serene but steep three hour walk in the Fort Augustus hills.

Later, entering the Aldourie Estate by moonlight, we spotted three Roe deer playing in Pier Cottage garden, a wonderful sight for tired eyes and an almost magical moment as they scampered off into the trees as we approached. The warmly lit country kitchen was a welcoming tonic from the cool air outside so we settled in for the night reminiscing and planning over a romantic candlelit dinner.

A cottage holiday boat

A day of culture

Another day of activities ahead, after a hearty breakfast we set off to visit the historic Fort George, a large 18th Century fortress near Ardersier to the north-east of Inverness. Fort George is still in use today as army barracks and a popular visitor attraction of the Scottish Highlands. We parked up at the Fort, just across the road from the shoreline, with the roaring tides even late morning crashing up the stone walls below. This wind was incredible! We enjoyed a few hours here experiencing the recreations and exhibits before heading to Glen Ord Distillery for a whisky tour and a few tastes of the Highlands’ famous malt.

So, we travelled to the west of the Black Isle through bracing winds but with a beautiful blue sky above. The tour was interesting, starting in the visitor centre then heading in and out of large spaces to see the distilling process step by step; we had been on two whisky tours before but Glen Ord was the most insightful; the tour even taught us about cooperage, the making of the whisky barrels, and the profession of a cooper. After the detailed tour we had a whisky tasting of a 12, a 15 and 18 year old whiskies, which warmed our cockles and sent us on our way to our final destination, Beauly.

Beauly, meaning “beautiful place” is a Scottish town in Inverness-shire. It’s quite a small town but perfectly formed and there we enjoyed a delicious deli coffee and a walk around the picturesque Beauly Priory ruins.  Later that evening, it was back to Dores Inn for a fish dinner and some local beer.

A cottage holiday

At one with nature

On our final morning we took Aldourie Castle’s pet dog, Loch Ness Lizzie, for a walk in the Castle grounds. Lizzie leading the way we explored the Estate more thoroughly, starting in the forest-thick arboretum she climbed up the treehouse, swam in Loch Ness and showed us the family graveyard. We then ran across the parkland to the marina and back to the greenhouses where Sarah the gardener was hard at work putting into place plans to create a new look for the gardens. From fruit trees to rose arches and topiary lined paths to tending clusters of snow drops and developing a mini orchard, there were big plans afoot for Aldourie’s gardens. Lizzie tried to help but really only managed to make a mess. Sarah, patting her gently, was evidently used to her regular (possibly daily) contributing efforts in the garden and seemed unfazed by the soil that came flying her way as Loch Ness Lizzie tried to bury her stick.

We spotted Garden Cottage peeking through the trees and as we walked back to our own private Highlands hideaway to get ready to go home we passed Gate Lodge on the corner, which had an impressive view of Aldourie Castle in all its glory. We hoped the guests staying in each had enjoyed as wonderful a holiday in the Scottish Highlands as we had and experienced their own Aldourie cottage adventure.