A cottage holiday on Loch Ness

We recently had some guests to stay at Pier Cottage, one of the four gorgeous holiday rental cottages we have cocooned in the lush green Highland Estate. Each of our cottages is different from the next and each a popular choice for wilderness holiday retreats and pure escapism for those wanting a break from their busy lives. But this spring it’s the aptly named Pier Cottage that has woven its magic into the lives of our holidaymakers so much as to incline them to write in-depth about their stay.

The journey to bonny Scotland…

Grabbing some croissants from the Coop and a takeaway coffee for the journey, it felt like a road trip already. Our destination? Aldourie Castle Estate, near Inverness in Scotland featuring an impressive exclusive hire property that people can take over as their own home for house parties. However, our precise destination was in fact one of the somewhat quainter and simpler holiday cottages on the Scottish Highland grounds. We had holidayed in the UK before but never stayed in a holiday cottage, always a hotel or B&B, so it was really exciting to be doing something different. Because the weather was on our side – blues skies, gorgeous sunshine and rather warm for March – the time just flew by. We stopped near Perth for lunch and another coffee in a diner with friendly staff and big portions. Being Yorkshire-bred, this was most appreciated.

Arriving at the Aldourie Castle Estate gates a few hours later, we turned into the almost hidden driveway with old wrought iron gates hinged off stone pillars covered with wintry ivy; the moment we passed through the gateway it was like stepping back in time. The drive was winding and secretive but as it wasn’t yet dark we were able to see the terracotta turrets of the enchanting Castle through the trees as we wove down past the thick woodland and into a clearing. The parkland was immaculate, lush green and dotted with trees of every kind. We turned the car left past some old farm sheds and onto a narrower, dirt track. This is when it got really exciting: the woodland became thick with trees once again and the afternoon sun was shining through which eventually revealed a cream-coloured bungalow cottage to the right complete with timbre-framed windows and a long porch leading to the front door. Parking up at the side of the cottage, we jumped out and ran down the slope that led to the shoreline of Loch Ness, literally metres away. We stopped immediately; it was flooded. Scotland had seen so much rain over the past few weeks that the Loch was at least 6 feet higher than usual, we later found out from the Castle grounds man that it was the highest it had been in over 10 years.

Aldourie Castle, A cottage holiday on Loch Ness

As we unpacked the car we were desperate to see inside. We had seen photos on the website but these did not prepare us for the real ‘wow’ factor that we experienced as we stepped through the door. Pier Cottage was huge and beautifully presented. Beyond the inner porch there was a large kitchen with an island in the middle, where the hob was, surrounded by a breakfast bar and stools. We love cooking so this was another joy to behold. From the kitchen came the gorgeous little dining room with French windows that in the summer months could open out onto the garden, which surrounded the Loch Ness cottage on all four sides. Beyond this was the huge lounge furnished with an antique writing desk, cosy sofas and, of course, a wood burning stove that no holiday cottage in the Scottish Highlands should be without. There were windows everywhere letting the sun shine in, which bounced off the stunning Loch Ness waters showing the famous lake off to its utmost. It was serene and beautiful, and the most exquisite window view we’d ever experienced. To top it off, in the window bay lay a table with chairs – needless to say this was our lunchtime retreat for four days.

Like any holidaymakers, we spent time exploring every room, wandering from one space to another, which were all seamlessly linked through numerous windowed doors. This made the whole holiday cottage feel light and airy and it had a freedom about it that mirrored that of the Highland hills which were our constant backdrop. Once the groundsman, Hugh, had made sure we were settled in, showing us how the heating and facilities worked, we set off to the local supermarket to stock up on food and drink for our first holiday in Scotland. We returned, then a bit weary from the journey but ready to cook something delicious and warm. Now that the sun had set it was time for getting the fire started, enjoying a glass of wine and curling up with a good film before retiring to our superking-sized bed for dreams of snow-topped Highland hills and fairytale castles. 45. Aldourie Castle - Four in Hand Roof

Day 1: Settling into cottage life

After the essential first day of the holiday lie-in in our amazingly comfy bed, we enjoyed breakfast and coffee (expertly made by one of the kitchen’s many gadgets, a beautiful shiny expresso machine) whilst sat comfortably at the window bay looking out at the calm, though still very high, Loch Ness. The sparkling water seemed to beckon us forth and we later found out at the Dores Inn pub that many people do swim in the Loch as part of their everyday early morning exercise routine. Pretty cold but how invigorating: imagine waking up to a view of the Scottish Highland hills every morning and then going for a quick swim in Loch Ness. Aldourie Castle Estate has its own private marina and pier on Loch Ness, which guests can see from any one of the holiday cottage’s back windows. The pier on Monday moning was just starting to show (it had previously been hidden under the water) so we planned a walk round the surrounding woodland to take in that and other unusual features this special place in Scotland had to offer.

Exploring the woods on the 500 acre Estate was fun. Spotting the different birds of prey just metres from the holiday cottage garden made us feel at one with nature and wildlife and we started to imagine what it must be like to live here; a Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretyl house hidden in a copse of trees. Thankfully, Aldourie woodland has deer instead of wolves and the many dogs that are walked here keep the witches at bay!  Walking to Aldourie’s private pier we meet a few local dog-walkers who are used to wandering around the beautiful and varied Highlands Estate weekly, if not daily, and who are glad to give us some day trip ideas near Inverness even though the Aldourie welcome pack details some great places to see and things to do in the local area and further afield. A few touristy photos on the pier with the Highland hills backdrop and we’re ready to head to the Castle where Lavinia, the General Manager, has kindly left out some bikes for us to explore the Estate at higher speed.
Aldourie Castle, loch ness A cottage holiday on Loch NessThat evening we ate at the locally famous Dores Inn, which, on a warm summer’s evening when the light allows, is just a half hour walk from Pier Cottage. We resolved to walk there at least once but for this first time we took advantage of the complimentary shuttle service there and back, generously offered by the Inn’s new owner to guests staying at Aldourie Cottages no matter what time of year. The food at Dores Inn was delicious and we enjoyed a peaceful evening at the first Scottish restaurant of our holiday.

Experience more of this Scottish Highlands holiday in PART 2 of the blog


Holiday like a Laird and Lady in exclusive Scottish Castle

Would you like the chance to wine, dine and sleep like royalty with sole use of your own castle?  This opportunity is yours for the taking with our Weekend House Party experience.

45. Aldourie Castle - Four in Hand Roof Exclusive Scottish Castle

Turrets, moats & castle walls
The privately owned 17th Century property is opening its doors to group bookings to take exclusive use of the home for 2 nights or longer. The Weekend House Party experience gives guests visiting Scotland opportunity to take exclusive use of the 13-bedroomed Castle, wandering its secret corridors whilst also using it as a base to explore the abundance of heritage and cultural sights in and around Loch Ness and Inverness. From National Trust spots and country walks to museums and galleries, this part of the Scottish Highlands is home to so many attractions all easily and quickly accessible from the motorway networks and main A roads. Doesn’t it seem a natural place in which to take a holiday?

Visit beautiful Scottish formal gardens, other stately homes and castles during the daylight hours, taking in the wealth and variety of history this incredible region has to offer. Then return to Aldourie Castle, a home seeped in its own heritage, for an evening of fine dining in the beautiful and charmingly decorated staterooms. Sleep in luxury bedrooms and enjoy exclusive use of the Castle with its original spiral staircases, tall turrets and delightful light-filled drawing room. Take in magnificent views from the lush green Castle grounds to the shores of Loch Ness and the Scottish Highland hills beyond.

History becomes exclusively yours
Aldourie Castle is one of only a few ancestral homes situated across the UK where its doors open exclusively for private house party bookings and family holidays. Combine this unique residential experience with a real delve into Scottish history enjoying medieval feasts, walks in the Highlands where many a sword was swung during Scottish Highland clan battles and four poster beds in grand luxurious bedrooms.
Exclusive Scottish Castle - Red Bedroom

This is a rare opportunity to occupy one of Scotland’s most treasured castles whilst also taking a break from the everyday routine. a Weekend House Party stay is designed to take you back in time to a world of luxury and splendour whilst giving you the space to relax in an informal setting.  Aldourie’s General Manager, Lavinia, is committed to making this Castle a home for the duration of your exclusive stay in the private hire property on Loch Ness and regularly welcomes guests from far afield to enjoy a luxury Scottish Highlands retreat with all the added comforts of today’s expectations;

“Aldourie Castle was made for entertaining and the Castle has seen hundreds of parties over the years. We would love to play host to family reunions or special interest groups who would appreciate the setting of Aldourie as well as its ancestry and role in history. We can offer something totally different to any hotel and an experience that is entirely memorable.”

Imagine taking in the local history of Inverness, visiting places of historical importance, beautiful gardens and exploring the mystical Highlands on foot. Then, return to your Castle to be rewarded with home cooked traditional Scottish food, fine wines and later a glass of local Scottish whisky. Experience the fine life of long ago and make your own history.

For further details on the only habitable Castle on Loch Ness please email info@aldouriecastle.co.uk


Spend Easter break with family and the Loch Ness Monster

Spend Easter in a Scottish castle with family and the Loch Ness Monster

What could be more fun than spending sunny spring on the bonnie banks of Loch Ness with your favourite people, surrounded by the magnificent Scottish Highlands and gorging on chocolate eggs? No, we can’t think of anything either. So, why not do something different and spend Easter in a Scottish castle and make a memorable adventure out of this world famous holiday…

Aldourie Castle is used to having people wander through its huge wooden doors, inviting in the new and welcoming back old guests, just as if the unique wilderness-borne mansion house was made for family house parties. Well, actually, it was. Originally a lowly house in the middle of the baron Scottish Highland hills seeing many a boisterous clan battle go back and forth, it was reclaimed and made into something much more special (read our Highland History blog post here). 

Aldourie Castle Loch Ness Monster

Ever since that day, Aldourie Estate has been devoted, give or take a few years during the inevitable refurbishments of the Castle – there’s only so much partying these medieval floors can take – to hosting small family get-togethers, grand parties and even lavish society balls. Aldourie was the Highlands venue of its time and in its heyday enjoyed much more fame than it does now. But that’s the way we like it; nowadays this enchanting and inspiring tucked-away Castle is a secret paradise just waiting to be found.

Now the short history lesson is over, here’s just a few reasons why spending Easter in a Scottish castle in the wonderland world of Aldourie will bring your family closer and, do not doubt, bring you sheer contentment for your entire stay.

#Adventure and #experiential travel are big trends this year, into 2016 and beyond. But, instead of joining the masses why not do something totally unique and stay in a place where many a celebrity finds sanctuary and where families and groups of friends travel from the other side of the world to stay? Indeed, Aldourie can tell a few stories. Wouldn’t you like to hear them first hand? It would make a change from the usual bedtime reading for the kids. There is so much to experience at Aldourie – let it become a part of their childhood. Don’t miss out on Easter family fun and adventures that can go down in your own family history; after all, Scotland was voted one of the top three places to holiday in the Lonely Planet Awards 2014.

The Grounds - Loch Ness Monster Hunting | Aldourie Exclusive Hire Castle

There are thousands of luxury travel hotels to try out; each better, more unique and luxurious than the next. But think about Easter; a special time of year. A time you want to cherish with your children and their grandparents, see imaginations run wild as they gorge on too much chocolate on Easter morning. A private hire Castle offering everything and more than a hotel, can provide something extra special: luxury bedrooms with four poster beds each with individual character and style, walk in showers as big as most bathrooms, original staterooms with comfort and beauty but with an informal welcoming feel and the largest back garden in the Highlands. Enter Aldourie and the whole castle is yours to enjoy; no time restraints, no set meal times, nothing is out of bounds. Be at your leisure over Easter and enjoy all the fun, beauty and relaxation it can bring.

Over Easter weekend, children can play in the parkland and you can still keep a watchful eye on them through the huge Drawing Room windows. Kids can go out into the woodland exploring the wildlife there with the Castle’s very own pet dog, Lizzie. A private luxury castle can afford to dedicate an entire hospitality team for your needs; we can set up treasure hunts throughout the historic Scottish Highlands Estate, private boat rides on the world famous Loch Ness (which you can actually access from the Castle’s personal marina and pier) to spot legendary Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, and traditional outdoor fun for all the family from archery to zorbing and even bagpipe lessons. The Estate’s massive home-built treehouse and ancient family graveyard then offer alternate adventures for those with big imaginations.

Enjoy Easter in a Scottish Castle fit for a King and allow the whole family to relax, enjoy good food and fun times in one another’s company.  Multi-generational stays ensure quality time with family and family friends and what better place to spend Easter weekend than a historic, beautiful and homely property with luxury rooms, fresh air and Scottish adventure on its doorstep.

Aldourie Castle Estate’s Easter Weekend special rate stay is available to individual or group bookings for a minimum of 3-nights.


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.


Unique Scottish Castle Wedding Venues

Choose your unique Scottish castle wedding venue

Make 2015 the year you create your own fairytale. We all have dreams. Why not make your dream become a reality; experience exquisite beauty and the comfort of true luxury in an inspiring magical setting. Or choose a unique Scottish castle wedding venue that no-one will forget. So, what makes the Aldourie experience more luxurious? It’s entirely your own, you don’t have to share it with anyone else. You can experience Aldourie Castle on your own or you can come here with family or with friends. Just a small group; intimate, private and personal.

unique Scottish castle wedding venue

Once you decide who is lucky enough to share in your magical Aldourie Castle experience you can start to direct your own fairytale. After all, such a property could appear in any Disney classic or nursery rhyme and its turrets, wild Scottish Highland surroundings and ethereal Loch Ness backdrop together set an undeniably romantic historic scene. Your unique Scottish castle wedding venue can become in an instant your Disney style wedding venue.

Before
The beginning of your fairytale starts the moment you book your Aldourie escape. Let’s face it, not everybody can say they have stayed in an authentic historic Castle in stunning grounds on the edge of the most famous waters in the world. Or held their wedding in a unique Scottish castle wedding venue. So, make the most of this opportunity. Delight friends with visits to the website to indulge in hypnotic photographs, enticing anecdotes from previous guests and delectable descriptions of this enchanting place. Dive into the Aldourie dream world as often as you wish before eventually arriving at the Castle for real.

unique Scottish castle wedding venue

Plan your stay at this iconic place and unique Scottish castle wedding venue by making the journey up to the wild Scottish Highlands the most anticipating travel experience you’ve ever undergone – be it by car, train or plane – and set out activities you want to do once you arrive. These activities could be anything from outdoor pursuits – walking in the Scottish Highlands, dolphin spotting, speedboat rides – to indoor things to do such as whisky tasting or taking part in your own Ceilidh.

During
From the simple things you can experience during a private stay at Aldourie Castle to the more extreme or unique, we can organise anything for you and your guests. Suddenly, the fairytale lifts off the page and becomes your daily life for a week or longer.

unique Scottish castle wedding venue

At Aldourie you may host your own dinner party, formal or informal or a murder mystery evening with friends. You can enjoy traditional games of charades by the fire with a glass of our finest cellar wine in hand or spend an evening lazing on the Drawing Room’s chaise longue with a good book from the Castle Library as you gaze across the enormous waters of Loch Ness hoping to spot Nessie.

Outdoors, use the grounds to your advantage, rising early some days to explore the secrets of the woods. Let the kids climb the treehouse, discover the ancient family graveyard and enjoy wildlife spotting on the Estate while you venture further into the majestic hills of the Highlands, breathing in the fresh Scottish air and working up an appetite for dinner. Guests are free to roam, walk and cycle round the Estate as if it were their own home and grounds.

Before you leave make sure you do something even more special than staying in a Castle  – you could learn to play the bagpipes with Aldourie’s very own Piper! And don’t forget to treat yourself and your party with a Nessie hunting tour making sure everyone has had an opportunity to spot the elusive Loch Ness Monster.

Special Events at Aldourie Castle luxury Highland holidays

Happily Ever After
You won’t need reminding but remember to take away your memories and keep them alive – and relive your personally-tailored fairytale at any time, day or night, until you arrive back at Aldourie once again.

Bask in the comfort of knowing you stayed in characterful bedrooms in grand four poster beds. You experienced carpet rides stepping from one luxurious space to the next, slept amongst soft floating fabrics, enjoyed a beautiful, personal space to relax in and window views of the prettiest sights in Scotland.

So if you would like more information regarding this unique Scottish castle wedding venue then give us a call to discuss your requirements or alternatively fill in our easy to use enquiry form online.


An Aldourie Castle Christmas – the magic of a castle at Christmastime

We are getting ready for an Aldourie Castle Christmas here. The tree is up and all the fancy decorations fit for a medieval fairytale setting have been put up in every room, making all our guests feel even more festive when they walk through the door.

There really is no place like the inside of a castle at Christmastime. The interior of Aldourie Castle is a blaze of rich, warm colours that flow into eachother as guests make their way around, exploring all the large spaces. This makes the whole experience magical. Families stay at the Castle as if it was their own home so they can wander in and out of the staterooms imagining that they live in each of them and ultimately enjoy this magnificent and opulent home at a special time of year.

Full of colour and delicious scents

The chocolate browns, ruby reds and festive oranges on the walls and furniture make this exceptional Scottish Castle a real festive wonderland at Christmas. Let some Frank Sinatra or cool Jazz music play out around the downstairs whilst you leisurely drink a whisky by the fire in the Drawing Room or sip tea at the grand oak table in the Laird’s room. The mood in the Castle changes once Christmas approaches. From December there is the distinct scent of pine cones and wood burning in the mornings and into the evenings there is the delicious smell of vintage wines that have been brought up from the cellar for the special parties we host, along with smooth tempting port and mince pies.

Mystical views from every window

Guests feel as though they’re in a film when they stay at Aldourie; with Highland hills surrounding the Castle and its grounds, tall forests and woodland keeping you and your loved ones cosy and warm inside and watching the fierce Loch Ness waters on cold days from the comfort of the Drawing Room fireplace.

Bedrooms full of luxury

With four poster beds, full length draping curtains in rich satin and silk, fur throws and traditional Scottish tartan blankets and rugs to sink your feet into, the luxury guests experience at Aldourie is like nothing else.

But there is more. See next week’s blog post for why staying in a Scottish Highlands Castle on Loch Ness over the Christmas holidays is better than Christmas at home. Aldourie cooks you food to wait all year for and a festive homely atmosphere like no other medieval castle.

 


Spend quality time with family and friends on Holiday in Scotland this winter

…and of course Nessie! Because what Scottish Highlands family holiday or vacation is complete without the famous but elusive Loch Ness Monster?

What do you think of when your hear the phrase ‘quality time’? Time to treasure at the time? Time to look back on with the fondest of memories? Time to look forward to for months beforehand? Maybe you think quality time is worthy of all three of these. But most importantly, we at Aldourie – Nessie included – think that its true meaning is when you can go somewhere special with those you love and completely be in the moment, escape from the everyday and enjoy the present, people and place, and be really contented. Some might also call this mindfulness.

Aldourie Castle panorama - Holiday in Scotland

Aldourie Castle is a magical place in the winter months, not just because its back garden is home to of one of the most famous mythical creatures in the world, but because it has housed endless house parties and elegantly dressed guests for hundreds of years, it has a unique and striking beauty, an ethereal setting and of course represents an important and immense history.

To choose to spend quality time with those closest to you whether at a special time of year, for Christmas or New Year celebrations or even the summer holidays, the place to spend that time must also be somewhere special. This is why groups of families and friends choose Aldourie Castle Estate to stay, celebrate, holiday or simply to relax.

The warm welcome guests receive at the Castle is beyond that which you would receive at a hotel. An exclusive holiday hire property is designed to be your own home for the duration of your stay and so the fact that you are relaxed and treated as if you were returning from a long time away when you first step foot through the Castle doors is something we offer unconditionally at Aldourie.

Once inside guests are immediately made to feel at home in this striking yet relaxing Castle setting. Whether you retire to your individually assigned bedroom to spend some quality bath time in your large en suite before dinner, find a window seat somewhere quiet to take some time out gazing across the incredibly scenic Loch Ness or simply head straight to the drawing room for champagne and the company of your closest family and friends, the choice of how to spend your time is all yours at Aldourie.


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.