8 reasons to visit the Scottish Highlands in spring

Are you thinking of taking the family on a short break or a week long holiday in the Scottish Highlands this year? 2016 could be the year you take your loved ones or a group of friends to one of the world’s most naturally beautiful countries to witness the great outdoors in all its glory and embrace simple living. What better time of year to holiday in Scotland than in the spring when the skies are as blue as the sea and the forests and woodland trees are starting to breathe once again…And, if you’re wondering where to stay in the Highlands why not book one of our idyllic holiday cottages on Loch Ness?Aldourie Castle Loch Ness Scottish Highlands

Here are just eight of the many reasons to take a trip to the atmospheric Highlands during some of the prettiest months of the year.

Fresh air and scenic splendour

Spring is a truly beautiful time of the year to visit the Highlands of Scotland for the clean, fresh air, and to see the many lochs of the Great Glen, the never-ending countryside and the mountain peaks at their best. Try a few of the long or short walks through the Highlands or even book a cycling holiday in Scotland. Whether you are staying in a loch-side holiday cottage or camping up on the hills there’s no excuse not to venture far and wide on these long, light days and breathe in that Highland air whilst taking in the panoramic views over a flask of steaming coffee.

Outdoor activities

Spring is an ideal time for enjoying a range of outdoor activities such as walking or hiking the West Highland Way, cycling the Great Glen Cycleway, golfing at Castle Stuart and kayaking on Loch Ness. While holidaymakers have to look for enjoyment in other forms during the winter months the majority of sports and activities are in full swing again come the lighter, dryer days and longer hours. Make the most of what is on your doorstep or do something totally unlike what you would try at home – water-skiing on Loch Ness, pony trekking through the rugged Highlands or a falconry experience on a Highland Estate during an exclusive use stay in a Castle.falconry aldourie castle Scottish Highlands

Spring showers         

Scotland is well known for its rain but don’t let that put you off experiencing all the Highlands have to offer. Shake off those winter blues with refreshing downpour as you journey through the countryside in spring – you may be able to avoid a complete soaking in the dryer months but during April and May the possibility of showers can make a walk in the Highlands a real adventure. One minute you may be walking under a blue sky down a quiet wooded lane, the next heading to the nearest village to dry off in a cosy tea room. Just wait till the April showers have cleared and everything is glistening in the spring sun.

Weather as good as summer

Having said that about the occasional spring showers, the temperature in spring is very similar to that of summer with the added benefit that generally touristy places aren’t as packed out with people. Though it’s lovely to be in the throng of the summer action when the weather is on form it can be equally pleasant to acknowledge the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands and wander around cute little hamlets and towns surrounded by a calmer atmosphere. The festivals and events are less busy and there is a sense of peace presiding in places that can get swarmed meaning you can recognise the beauty of the Highlands at your own pace and usually in bright, warm weather. What’s not to love?walking scottish highlands

And that’s not all; our next blog post will bring you four more reasons to enjoy the Highlands in spring. Best start planning your spring holiday or short stay in Scotland for 2016.

 

 

 

 

 


New website creates best client experience

What’s so special about our new website?

Aldourie Castle has recently launched its brand new all-singling all-dancing website. We are proud to present to you a more modern-working online tool than we had before in the hope of enabling a better user experience from start to finish in terms of both efficiency and enjoyment. New features include a Cottage Availability Calendar for checking dates available at all four of the Aldourie holiday cottages on Loch Ness, a beautifully-presented blog complete with all the trimmings as well as stunning new photography on large sliding web banners and a host of new photo galleries applicable to each section of the website.

Aldourie has also had a promotional film directed and produced at the Castle which showcases the beautiful interiors as well as the 500 acre grounds. This can be viewed from various pages on the website as well as the homepage.

Cottage calendar checker

There are numerous benefits of having a date availability checker on your website – it saves time, is easy to do and is helpful for potential guests to compare dates for each of the Aldourie holiday cottages before they decide which one they would prefer to stay at.

Our cottage availability calendar works alongside the existing holiday cottage web pages of the Aldourie site. This great as it means that users benefit from having all the relevant information to hand and easily accessible. For instance, Garden Cottage is a similar size of cottage to Pier therefore some prospective guests may be deliberating over which cottage would suit them and their family or group best. By begin able to check availability of each and dip in and out of the dedicated web pages for each of Garden and Pier Cottages, they are making decisions all through their user experience because the website is providing them with immediate answers.

The four Highland holiday cottages on Loch Ness underwent a refurb – both inside and out – over summer 2015. The new detailed specification PDFs available to download from the new Aldourie Castle website help to provide enquirers with all the information that helps them decide whether or not to book a stay at Aldourie.

Huge American style fridge freezers and other utilities were installed in each to make short breaks and family holidays as self-contained and comfortable as possible. We enabled more space in the larger cottages for bike storage making them even more appealing to groups and families looking for cycling stays on Loch Ness. A complimentary shuttle to Dores Inn and back, open wood burning stoves and wood stock all ready for winter also helps to now keep your peaceful self-catered stay convenient and efficient so that you can concentrate on having a fantastic holiday.

Brand new blog

What is the importance of a good blog? It not only helps your website looks as interactive and interesting as possible it also helps tell Google  that the website it belongs to is an active mover and shaker in the online world; all good for drawing attention to the said website and encouraging more clicks. Now the technical lecture is over with here’s why Aldourie likes to maintain an impressive, current blog…

We chose a new design layout for our blog that complements the existing look and feel of the brand; that which is fresh, attractive, informal and welcoming. We decided on the main Aldourie corporate colours of purple and gold but made sure that this was interspersed with lots of white space so as to keep the look of the blog light, fun and easy to navigate through. Social media links, search facilities and sharing icons were also incorporated to encourage interaction between social media users and Aldourie’s website.

The Castle and Estate is a unique exclusive location for any type of event or private stay in Scotland whilst the holiday cottages are appealing to anyone who wishes to visit Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands at any time of year. We know therefore, that Aldourie appeals to a large section of the online market in some way or another. Social media links helps us to share the beauty and potential of this enchanting location with everyone who uses social media.

Finally, we used larger image templates to really capture the heart and soul of the property and its scenic countryside as well as promoting new longer blog articles to incorporate more images throughout and provide readers with more information. Recent examples include Have yourself a corporate little Christmas and How to make the most of the Scottish Highlands this winter that really delve into the product offerings of Aldourie Castle Estate, the five-star hospitality services both the Castle and cottages can provide guests and the inside knowledge of the staff who know Inverness and Loch Ness as well as any expert.

New photographs of summer refurb

A website should reflect the present so we are working hard to keep everything as current as possible for our users. New photos of the Castle, holiday cottages and parkland taken by the exceptional Margaret Soraya Photography really help to showcase the recently re-styled holiday cottages and revamped gardens to their utmost as well as show the richness of colour and space inside Aldourie Castle.

Our first January blog post will be all about the new Aldourie Corporate Film so keep your eyes peeled for a preview of Aldourie in motion against a beautiful classical soundtrack.


How to make the most of the Scottish Highlands this winter

A week staying in a holiday cottage in the Scottish Highlands over winter can certainly warm the soul – and that’s without feeding the wood-burning stove with a healthy supply of logs. Managing a country Estate in the heart of the Highlands complete with a castle available for private hire and a few traditional Loch Ness holiday cottages, we think deems us experienced enough to advise on how to truly make the most of your short break in Scotland’s most mystical region.

From the best places to visit for a cup of hot chocolate to the finest whisky distilleries and the most exhilarating walks and breath-taking landscapes, read on for some of the Highlands’ most favourite highlights in the most visited locations.ALLT DEARG COTTAGE NEAR SLIGACHAN, Scottish Highlands

Isle of Skye

As with any beautiful and popular holiday destination, your holiday in magical Scotland is precious so before sinking into a deep hot bath or curling up on the sofa with a series of Highland folklore, be sure to put your time to good use. We suggest your first port of call is the remote and bewitching Isle of Skye.

This part of Scotland is a perfect trip to allow you to experience the most beautiful views of the Highlands and Skye is accessible from the character-filled holiday cottages on the Aldourie Castle Estate. Known for its rugged landscape, historic castles and pretty fishing villages, we advise jumping in the car early morning to make the most of the three hour journey up there.

Walk the coastline of peninsulas and narrow lochs stopping to admire Skye’s dramatic mountains and wild, cascading waterfalls. During winter you would expect to come across Highland cattle between snow-capped peaks and on crisp, clear days you can see all the way across to the Outer Hebrides. Some of the colours in the Isle of Skye are almost ethereal but you’ll be brought back to reality among the pastel-coloured houses of Portree where you can find a host of traditional pubs to choose from and a handful of lovely clothes and gift boutiques.PORTREE SKYE, INNER HEBRIDES PIC Scottish Highlands

Loch Lomond

A trip to the Scottish Highlands would not be complete without taking the ‘low road’ out to the bonny banks of Loch Lomond. Famed for its dedicated folk song, castles and golf its central location crossing the Highland border is also a pull for water sport fans, hikers and for setting up camp for winter short breaks in Scotland. Snow-capped peaks in the colder months have given Loch Lomond legendary world-wide appeal and its sheltered forests have inspired many artists.

In winter, the cloudless bright blue skies reflect onto a pristine water. Whether you’re into challenging hikes or simple scenic trails there’s a winter walk perfect for you and your family or group. Try any of the walks on the east or southern sides including Drymen and Balmaha for their striking views and the frost-bitten remains of summer’s bountiful nature. Listen out for the characteristic call of the winter geese flying overhead in Trossachs National Park and take a trip to Stirling and Forth Valley for its medieval Castle. While you’re there pop into MacGregor’s Market in Killin for a mug of scrumptious hot chocolate.

Be sure to experience Loch Lomond’s lively city life, great food and drink scene and dip in and out of its many creative villages. We recommend a trip to Luss, a traditional conservation village whose steeple church and bridges look idyllic in winter.Ullapool and loch broom with the mountain of beinn ghobhlach in the distance. North west highlands.

Loch Ness

Not forgetting our own home in the Scottish Highlands, we invite you to explore the best of Loch Ness from its vast waters and the legendary Nessie to the very shoreline of Aldourie Castle Estate…

Its monstrous size and mythical sea creatures apart, Loch Ness has so much to offer the curious nature-loving tourist during winter. From some of the most famous whisky distilleries – Glen Ord and Tomatin are among some of the best distilleries near Inverness –  to exciting boat tours and picturesque woodland walks, the heart of Scotland’s culture is at your fingertips. If you’ve come to the Highlands to relax, mooch around and get into the festive Christmas spirit there are numerous quaint towns boasting cosy tearooms, fancy restaurants and gorgeous interior shops all awaiting your visit with a friendly face.

Beauly, meaning ‘beautiful place’ is just a 20 minute drive from any of the Scottish holiday cottages on Aldourie Castle Estate. With a dedicated performing pipe band and row of central shops Christmas shopping is a real experience here. Take a well-earned break at Corner on the Square for a gourmet sandwich and slice of delicious homemade cake then walk it off and get some fresh air around the pretty Priory ruins.Beauly_priory_south_side_29042008

The best boat cruises on Loch Ness can be found at Fort William, a scenic drive away from our Scottish Highland Estate, as can the most enchanting winter walks leading into complete wilderness. Dores Inn, an Aldourie Castle personal favourite, is ideally located for our holiday cottage guests visiting Loch Ness and serves authentic Scottish food in traditional surroundings, along with a complimentary shuttle ride home. After a few glasses of your festive tipple, you may just need one!

Back at base, Aldourie Estate features 500 acres of private parkland, woodland and gardens, all ideal for taking advantage of the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Staying in a holiday cottage on Loch Ness allows you to walk the Aldourie Estate at your leisure during the winter months, letting you stop and admire the flora and fauna that make the Highlands such a popular choice for tourists.

For information on our Winter Special Short Breaks offer on Loch Ness, please click here.


‘Winter Special’ Offer – Short Breaks Loch Ness

Our holiday cottages on the Aldourie Estate behold some of the most picturesque views of Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands during the colder months. Snuggle up in our recently renovated cosy cottages for your winter Highland holiday or use our ideal location as a base for walking or cycling stays.

Short breaks during winter on Loch Ness were never more appealing. Book November to March for Aldourie’s special autumn /  winter offer, which features a reduced rate on all cottages, and make your short break in Scotland with family or friends one to remember.

‘Special Offer’ details – Winter cottage breaks on Loch Ness
Aldourie Castle, loch ness Short Breaks Loch NessIVY:
3 night rental £350
4 night rental £400
5 night rental £450
6 night rental £500
7 night rental £550

GATE / GARDEN / PIER:
3 night rental £400
4 night rental £450
5 night rental £500
6 night rental £550
7 night rental £600

Prices are inclusive of VAT

From a Minimum 3 night rental / cost

Heating and electricity are included and bed linen and towels are provided.parkland_Aldourie_Estate Short Breaks Loch Ness


Autumnal scents: Book a stay November – December

Aldourie parkland is awash with rich colour come November as a mix of crimson and rustic reds, burnt orange and delicate golds burst onto the scene. The evergreens stand their ground and try their hardest to be prominent but it’s the New England fall colours that take centre stage. The Scottish Highland hills make for a wonderful postcard picture and – bonus – they offer the most breath-taking and soul lifting walks in Scotland. All the more reason therefore to book onto Aldourie’s fabulous new Winter Offer in one of our four traditional country cottages.
Loch Ness from Aldourie Short Breaks Loch NessCreate your own nostalgia: log burning fires and snuggly tartan blankets block out the cold winds as you look out onto a blustery landscape although we do recommend making the most of your stunning and ideal location by wrapping up warm and venturing out into the Castle grounds to discover your own little piece of autumnal Aldourie, rejoice in Scottish wilderness and make some lasting memories.

Winter wonderland: Rent a cottage January – March

So, you have the chance to stay in the enchanting Scottish Highlands for your winter short break. Where better to appreciate this dramatic landscape that on the banks of Loch Ness, the most famous stretch of water in the world? The setting at Aldourie is second to none, even though we say so ourselves. You have the silence of the woodland, the peacefulness of the hills, the nostalgia of Aldourie Castle to view up close at your leisure and the variety of Scotland’s wildlife on your doorstep. Add the fact that winter is sure to bring a blanket of snow from December onwards and your winter wonderland awaits.Marina snow Short Breaks Loch Ness

Walk the ethereal trees of the Aldourie arboretum and crunch along frosty Dores Beach to the Inn for a whisky or three course dinner and watch the gentle bob of Loch Ness from the comfort of the fireside. Hike or cycle the snow-capped peaks and return to your den – aka one of Aldourie’s cosy winter holiday cottages – for a warming coffee, a soothing hot bath or to curl up with a good book on cosy settees.

ALDOURIE WINTER SPECIAL OFFER ON SHORT BREAKS IN SCOTLAND IS VALID ON ALL NEW BOOKINGS: NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2015 / JAnUARY – MARCH 2016.

*Excludes Christmas / New Year / Easter or existing bookings*


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.