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.


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 [email protected]


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.


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.


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.


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.