One of the most unique aspects of Aldourie Castle Estate is that it has its own private marina. Not only that but the marina is located on the southern shores of Loch Ness with unbeatable views across the Scottish Highlands. You would struggle to find anywhere more picturesque in and around the tourist trap Inverness especially during a sunrise or sunset where the hills are brought to life against the glorious backdrop of a hazy sky.
The marina at Aldourie is the ideal spot from which to admire the idyllic Scotland views and bask in the beauty of the calming waters that surround the scenic area. Peacefulness is all abound and you can hear a pin drop if there is no one boating in the near vicinity and no cooing birds flying overhead. Although, it is the boats and the Highland birds that make the Aldourie marina so captivating and which draw people to this special place. These and the fact that Castle guests can board a boat and shortly arrive at Moray Firth to see the dolphins and whales or take off on a speed boat and stop in secret wilderness to explore the pebbly, crystal clear shoreline as they take a walk along Dores Beach.
With the majestic loch situated on the edge of the pier that is literally on your doorstep, you can step straight into a canoe. Canoeing on Loch Ness is a rare opportunity to share a paddling adventure with family, friends or colleagues in the most famous water in the world. No previous experience is needed and non-swimmers are welcome. Expert canoe guides will take you, our Scottish Castle group of guests, on a journey across the endless waters as you float past the sights that have inspired writers, artists, explorers and historians for centuries.
Have you ever wondered how it feels to walk on water? Climb inside a giant inflatable sphere and once sealed in off you go at your own pace, exploring the Loch, moving in any direction and most probably upside down! This is great fun for adults and children alike and even better for spectators. Have fun trying a water sport you’ve never done before against a backdrop of Highland hills and surrounded by the largest expanse of fresh water on earth. Yes, that’s right. Loch Ness is not only beautiful but it has many factual credits to its name – not to mention the Loch Ness Monster Nessie who can often be seen in the far distance as you cruise along by boat or scour the vast water from your castle bedroom window.
The marina is conveniently located to the south of the Aldourie Castle Estate near one of the holiday cottages aptly named Pier Cottage, just a short walk through a woodland trail. It is an idyllic hideaway if you wish for some time alone during your stay on the Scottish Highlands estate as well as an adventure filled playground for families or a romantic spot for couples attending a luxury wedding at the Castle.
Of all the guests who take the castle over as their own home for a few days, a week or even longer, it is very rare that they don’t organise some sort of outdoor activity, especially in the summer months. Of course, because Aldourie offers the best in hospitality, it is our staff that does the organising of such events; our castle guests are welcome to state how they wish to spend their time at Aldourie and we in turn grant them their wishes and put in place the activities they request.
Aldourie prides itself on a service of excellence and so it goes without saying that we use only the most professional and quality local suppliers to deliver any event or activity for exclusive parties of guests at the castle. We have built relationships with key companies who we can rely on for all outdoor activities, however unusual they may be. In fact, because Aldourie is so unique and spectacular a place, the more outlandish the activity the better!
500 acres of private land secluded in its own picturesque country setting yet just a few miles from Inverness, main roads and the airport has quite an appeal for guests wanting to arrange outdoor activities. Why? Well, it could be because a group of corporate directors are staying at the castle and they require some downtime from their important meetings, so a little boat ride on Loch Ness is just the ticket. Or, a large company has opened a new division and is wanting to train up their newest recruits and build relationships amongst staff, so team building activities in the parkland are often a popular choice. On a completely different scale, a family reunion is taking place in the castle over the course of a weekend the parents wish to put on a host of child orientated park activities to give the children things to do during their stay. The parents will no doubt join in too.
It’s quite evident how versatile the Scottish Highland estate can be for different groups of guests who are staying at the unique baronial castle, but how varied can the castle parkland become to cater for an array of different types of outdoor activities and events?
To start with, Aldourie Castle is exceptionally place for a residential stay property and takes pride of place just metres from the southern shoreline of the infamous Loch Ness. This, to anyone looking to take over an historic castle with grounds in Scotland, is a key attribute of Aldourie. Boat trips on Loch Ness are a popular choice for exclusive stay guests who wish to experience the fabulous views across the Highlands and breathe in the fresh water’s air. Boat trips are also a must for any group stay at the castle hoping to catch a glimpse of Nessie the notorious Loch Ness Monster, who only recently showed her face as she glided by Aldourie to take in the spectacular night time view of the medieval castle (we do have a photo to prove it). Boat trips on Loch Ness are available exclusively for our castle guests and they board directly from Aldourie Pier. We use the renowned company Cruise Loch Ness for the best boat rides of the famous water.
The woodland on the Scottish country estate is simply great for exploring; filled to the brim with mystery and adventure, it is the ideal playground for children and dogs. The tall woods cater for endless family fun time during Aldourie Castle stays and with Loch Ness Lizzie, (Aldourie’s very own Flatcoated Retriever), always around and ready to greet a fellow playmate, there is company even for your family pet! Here in nature’s wilderness guests are encouraged to make their own fun but for specific activities and requirements the Aldourie team can always call on the professionals.
The Highlands’ glorious and ethereal backdrop is yet another reason why guests choose Aldourie as their favoured location for both traditional and modern outdoor activities. The aptly named Boots & Paddles offer an array of water and land based activities; from the authentic Highland Games and the active Segway to Walk on Water Balls, Kayaking and Canoeing. All these activities take place on the Aldourie Estate itself and are available for the guests who take the castle for private hire for any length of stay. There are areas of the parkland that are quite flat and therefore ideal for Segway rides, tours and experience days;the personal transporter ride that is becoming increasingly popular for team building and team activity days. The entire atmosphere that is conjured from the combination of the deer dotted parkland and the magical backdrop of Aldourie Castle brings historic outdoor activities, such as archery, to life. Guests can imagine the battle fields of long ago as they aim and fire at their targets. The photograph opportunities for these types of activities are, needless to say, an added bonus.
There are plenty of things do outside on this incredible castle estate in Scotland. The estate walls and the woodland keep within them so much potential to explore and enjoy: from the giant tree house from which children can see the immediate shoreline, Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands beyond, to the gated family graveyard and beautiful formal gardens. Imagination and creativity run wild at Aldourie which is why so many of our guests return on a regular basis whether that is to stay in the castle, attend a celebration event or simply to enjoy a relaxing holiday in one of the four self-catering cottages on the Scottish estate.
The Aldourie team is proud of the quality of service it provides and therefore chooses only to work with suppliers of the same status and who are proven to provide exceptional service and deliver quality products and assistance for outdoor land and water based activities. We use the same trusted suppliers over again for various events, castle house parties and residential stays as we can be sure in the knowledge they are attending to our guests as attentively as we do at the castle. As a result their time in the great outdoors is as happy and relaxed as can be and can only add to what is always an incredible Aldourie experience.
The outdoor activities that can be arranged by the castle are available for guests staying exclusively at the castle only and cannot be arranged for holiday cottage guests or for members of the public.
We are pleased to work with the following trusted suppliers to deliver the activities detailed above:
We had a lovely chat with our head chef the other day to find out a few exciting facts about his job at Aldourie Castle. Richard has cooked and served food at the fairytale castle for four years and chefs daily for events and parties of guests who have taken over the Castle as their own home for a few days, a week or sometimes a month…
When did you know you wanted to be a chef? My Grandfather had a small farm and butchers shop and I used work there at weekends when I was at school. I would go with my dad to deliver to local hotels and was interested in what I saw, so thought that was for me.
Where did you study?
I trained on the job by working in hotels and restaurants in Scotland and England
Describe the most challenging dinner you’ve had to cater for at Aldourie
Cooking a three course dinner by candlelight on the shore of Loch Ness was quite a challenge.
Which is your favourite room in the Castle? I suppose I should say the kitchen…but it would be Lady Cameron bedroom for the great view down the loch, peace and quiet.
Do you prefer summertime or wintertime on the Aldourie Estate?
Definitely summertime, it’s light for 20 hours each day.
Do you prefer cooking for summer or winter events at Aldourie? Again, summertime produce is much more plentiful and getting to cook outside is a bonus.
Where do guests usually have lunch in the sunny weather?
On the terrace looking down to Loch Ness.
What is your favourite Scottish dinner to serve? I like to showcase Scottish produce so would usually start with a taste of haggis followed by hand dived scallops then maybe venison or beef, cranachan for dessert and some local cheeses to finish.
What is your favourite Scottish dish to eat? Anything with shellfish
If you had to cook a delicious Jamie Oliver style 30 minute meal, what would you cook? At this time of year Scottish salmon, asparagus & Jersey Royals, washed down with something from the Aldourie cellar.
The cellar at Aldourie is full of wines from all over the world – do you know how many wines you stock at any one time? We stock about 80 different wines at present.
Some would say the Castle is haunted. Have you ever had a ghostly experience at Aldourie – if so will you tell? No, I won’t believe in ghosts unless I was to see one.
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to cook the best of Scottish produce and working in a great environment.
What’s your favourite past time when you’re not cooking at the castle? Going for a big walk with Loch Ness Lizzie!