Aldourie’s top 3 castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

What better way to appreciate the stately grandeur of Aldourie Castle than to depict some of the most famous and intriguing castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands. Make more of your exclusive use stay in one of Scotland’s most beautiful castles. Experience, up close, the past of these mesmerising buildings.

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle sits on Stone Point on the north-western shore of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is relatively close to water level and inland you can imagine where the gardens and orchards would have stood. It is the epitome of a Scottish castle ruin featuring a dry moat which would have once, before its excavation, defended the castle. A stone-built causeway provides access and would have featured a drawbridge at one time. The castle is a popular tourist spot for those visiting the Highlands or more specifically the quaint, lonely village of Drumnadrochit.castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

What is the history of Urquhart Castle?

The present ruins of Urquhart Castle date from the 13th to the 16th centuries. During the 14th century the castle played a substantial role in the Wars of Scottish Independence. Thereafter it was considered a royal castle, and was raided on several occasions by the MacDonald Earls of Ross. Urquhart was granted to the Clan Grant in 1509, though endured further raids by the MacDonalds until it was abandoned during the mid-17th century. Urquhart was partially destroyed in 1692 to prevent its use by Jacobite forces, and subsequently decayed. It was opened to the public in the 20th century and is one of the most-visited castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands to this date.

Why does Urquhart Castle appeal to tourists?

It’s all about size. The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest (in area) in Scotland. Urquhart Castle is a spectacular sight to witness like any castle ruins. But what draws the crowds is its particularly scenic, famous and unique location: on the banks of Loch Ness. Loch Ness is famed for being the second largest lake in Scotland next to Loch Lomond, which is saying something. Not only that, but Loch Ness holds more water than any other lake in the British Isles. The combination of its historical beauty set against the dramatic scenery of the world famous Loch and the majestic Scottish Highlands is greatly appealing to holidaymakers.

Special fact or feature of the castle

Urquhart Castle’s historic files go way back and as a result is one of the most fascinating historic castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands.. The first documentary record of Urquhart Castle occurs in 1296, when it was captured by Edward I of England. Edward’s invasion marked the beginning of the Wars of Scottish Independence, which would go on intermittently until 1357. castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

Why this is a great castle to visit whilst staying at Aldourie?

The stunning castle ruins on the edge of Loch Ness is relatively local to Aldourie Estate, only 40 minutes’ drive away. When you’re driving through the Scottish Highlands, time seems to disappear anyway. The roads are so easy to drive along as they sweep past the spectacular mountains and lochs and there’s little traffic intervention. There’s also so much to see and appreciate; before you know it you’ve reached your destination.

Another pull for guests staying at exclusive use Aldourie Castle is that it is also located on Loch Ness. House parties can experience a private chartered cruise from Aldourie’s private marina to the beautiful ruins of Urquhart Castle. To travel from one castle to another and back again is a unique opportunity for any holidaymaker.

Eilean Donan  – a magnificent castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

This attractively named landmark is one of the most recognised castles in the whole of Scotland. You may have seen it one shortbread tins, tea towels and scenic calendars if you have ever before visited a gift shop in the Highlands.  Eilean Donan itself is a small island in the western Highlands and the meeting point of three sea lochs. The castle was restored in the early 20th century and now a footbridge connects the island to the mainland granting easy access to a somewhat untouchable Scottish landmark.

What is the history of Eilean Donan Castle?

Eilean Donan was named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint around in 617. The castle itself was founded in the 1200s, and became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and the Clan Macrae. The castle was destroyed in 1719 because of the Mackenzies’ involvement in the Jacobite rebellions. What you see is the castle in its reconstructed form in the twentieth-century.castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

Interestingly, in the thirteenth century, during the reign of Alexander II, a large curtain-wall castle was constructed enclosing most of the island of Eilean Donan. At this time the area was at the boundary of the Norse-Celtic Lordship of the Isles and the Earldom of Ross: the island provided a strong defensive position against Norse expedition.

Why does Eilean Donan Castle appeal to tourists?

Eilean Donan is the up there with the most picturesque castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands. The Castle has frequently appeared in films, television dramas and documentaries so is fabulous landmark backdrop to pose for a photograph against. Eilean Donan is part of the Kintail National Scenic Area; not surprising considering its postcard worthy setting against a shimmering water floor and lush green hills. Remarkably, in 2001, the island had a recorded population of just one person – even for Scotland that’s a pretty low land-person ratio!

Special fact or feature of the castle

Records suggest that there was a small Christian church on the island of Eilean Donan in the 6th or 7th century. Although no actual remains survive to this day fragments of stone do suggest an Iron Age or medieval history. This astonishing castle ruins has been redeveloped and reconstructed around six times; no wonder it looks tired now.

Why this is a great castle to visit whilst staying at Aldourie?

Eilean Donan is one of the most important attractions in the Scottish Highlands. It beholds a significant tapestry of history since its beginnings in the 6th century, all of which is well documented. Amongst its ongoing association with invasion and feuding, the castle has seen many a clan stay within its walls over the centuries. This resonates with Aldourie’s very own family history. It’s little wonder that many of Aldourie’s holiday cottage guests like to cross the bridge to this castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands, which bears such heritage.

Dunnottar Castle – castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands on ancient ground

Dunnottar Castle is the ruins of a medieval fortress situated on scenic rocky peninsula, elevated from the mainland. It’s on the north-east coast of Scotland just outside of Stonehaven. The ruins of the castle are surrounded by steep cliffs that drop to the North Sea, 50 metres below. A narrow strip of land joins the headland to the mainland, along which a steep path leads up to the gatehouse. This dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress was the home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland.castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

What is the history of Dunnottar Castle?

The surviving buildings of Dunnottar are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been fortified in the Early Middle Ages. For example, a pictish fort was built nearby in the 3rd century and in the following century a place of worship. Vikings attacked the castle in the 9th century and it was captured by William Wallace in the year 1276.

Dunnottar has played a prominent role in the history of Scotland through to the 18th-century Jacobite risings because of its strategic location and defensive strength. So much happened at Dunnottar Castle (its dedicated website makes an interesting read of chronological historical events) that it barely got time to rest. It was finally rescued from ruin in 1925.

Why does Dunnottar Castle appeal to tourists?

Dunnottar Castle, an isolated castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands, is an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over. The rock that the castle sits on formed some 440 million years ago; that’s enough to bring anyone to an historic landmark in Scotland. Tourists visit Dunnottar Castle for their own unforgettable experience; there is so much to see and do here. Try walking or cycling to the Castle from the nearby town of Stonehaven, itself a tourist attraction. The route to the castle is very picturesque.

Special fact or feature of the castle

When you visit this special historic landmark you will soon discover the importance of Dunnottar. It is in simple form an invincible fortress that holds important secrets of Scotland’s colourful past. Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland- the Scottish crown jewels- were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s army, which invaded in the 17th century.

Why this is a great castle to visit whilst staying at Aldourie?

It’s not just the ruins of a castle alone, and in that sense it’s much like that of a castle estate, like Aldourie. There a various buildings/structures within the walls of this castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands, including:castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands

Gatehouse and Benholm’s Lodging
Tunnels
Tower house
Forge
Waterton’s Lodging
Stables
Palace
Chapel
Postern gate
Whigs’ Vault
Bowling green
Sentry box

There’s so much more to the best historic castle ruins of the Scottish Highlands than initially meets the eye. No matter how much you read about them, however, nothing can compare to visiting them and being inside those castle walls. Each castle in Scotland has its own history, its own mysteries and its own charm. Step outside the luxuries of a private hire property in Scotland’s beloved Highlands and really experience the ghosts of Scotland’s past with a visit to these top three castle ruins.


What lies within; Aldourie grounds and gardens uncovered

Garden Bedroom inside Aldourie Castle seems to hint at the outdoor enchantment of this exclusive use rental property on the shores of Loch Ness. Its pastel coloured walls are peppered with delicate floral pattern camouflaging the hidden door to an adjoining daffodil-yellow bathroom, itself laden with nostalgic prints of the ethereal Scottish Highlands. Above a grand mahogany four poster bed cascades rich green fabric and the windows opposite tease guests with picture perfect views over neat lawns, ancient bridges and wild forests.luxury group accommodation Scotland - Aldourie grounds

Introducing the secret gardens of Aldourie: woodland walks, adventures in the arboretum, green houses brimming with life, lush orchards, fresh herb gardens and more…

Greenhouses for the green fingered
The greenhouses at Aldourie have long since been part of the private Castle’s charm and have stood in the vast clearing behind the dense arboretum for over a century. The past year has seen a lot of hard work by the Aldourie Estate’s gardeners go into the redesign and reconstruction of the greenhouses to better show off their shimmering glass panes and reveal the colourful treasures within.

At the end of summer 2016 Aldourie Castle’s private guests will be free to wander across and pick their own goodies from the greenhouses to enjoy back inside the luxurious Castle. In the kitchen Aldourie’s personal chef will whip up something delicious to bring in the new season and the Castle can celebrate its reconciliation with the Estate in using own-grown produce to feed its guests.

Fairytale woodland ignites imaginations
The enchanting woodland on the Aldourie Estate is a labyrinth of paths and clearings housing an abundance of wildlife varied enough to represent the whole of the Scottish Highlands.Aldourie woodland exclusive use stay Aldourie grounds

The 500 acre Estate is made up of part woodland and part parkland so you can imagine how much green there might be in and around the exclusive Castle’s grounds. Children enjoy their land of make believe exploring the woodland; making their own Easter trails and finding Santa’s Grotto at Christmastime. Just as much, adults love the romantic walks and catching a glimpse of deer playing in the moonlight on summer evenings.

Herb garden gives taste to Castle menu
It’s not only the home grown salad that will be causing a stir in the Aldourie kitchen. Our keen gardeners have been working on the formal gardens making a specific area dedicated to a variety of herbs. These will eventually be hand-picked by our chefs on a daily basis to help flavour the already delicious dishes made for the Castle’s exclusive use guests. The pretty patch is already underway and brimming with possibilities. The hospitality team at Aldourie look forward to its official launch when the private hire property in Scotland can state that it uses herbs cut fresh from its gardens to flavour each and every dish on its menu. Just another way in which the Highlands Estate gives back to the Castle and its loyal guests.fish dish luxury exclusive use scotland - Aldourie grounds

Arboretum has endless adventure
Filled with trees of every kind the Aldourie arboretum is a haven for adventure, freedom and fun. A nature lover’s paradise it houses surprises at every turn (we won’t tell you all of them as they won’t be a secret, then) and wondrous playful elements such as the majestic tree house on what could easily be the tallest stilts in Scotland. Discover the secrets of Loch Ness from your personal hiding place and then clamber down to find the novelty Nessie made out of a fallen tree trunk.

Mini orchard; a little piece of serenity
A year ago the gardeners at Aldourie decided to create a little piece of sanctuary in the form of a cluster of fruit trees; a mini orchard on a sprawling country estate. Not only it a beautiful place to perch oneself with a good book it’s also yet another area of the private hire property’s grounds which is laden with fresh food. Guests can grab a bite to eat en route to the ancient arboretum or take back a basket full to the kitchen and request a dessert of their choice. Dotted with snow drops in winter and blue bells in the warmer months the mini orchard paints a colourful picture in these endlessly enchanting Scottish grounds.Aldourie Castle Scotland parkland Aldourie grounds

So the next time you pass a large manor house, stately home, great hall, or even a terracotta Castle with real turrets, sitting serenely in the middle of its private Estate, think of all the possible secrets those grounds could hold and what enjoyment and freedom acres and acres of land can provide not just for those who once lived amongst it but for the people of today who arrive for a luxury holiday, a friendly visit or simply to explore all the beauty that the Scottish Highlands’ back yard has to offer.


Highland Glamping – without the tent!

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

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

Glamping Blog - Highland Glamping

Cottage retreats in the heart of Scotland’s forests

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

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

Privacy, luxury and claims to fame

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

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

Wild swimming in your own back yard

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

Jacobite cruises loch ness - Highland Glamping

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

Peaceful days and cosy nights

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

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


Why choose private castle rental for film sets at Aldourie

Viewers have been presented with countless historic properties on their TV screens in recent years, which are being used as filming venues for period dramas, feature films as well as stately backdrops for outdoor cookery programmes, documentaries and roadshows. Aldourie Castle is the perfect setting for a private castle rental for film sets, in so many ways – ideally located with large spaces, acres of idyllic grounds, available for private use and featuring the most stunning interiors.

Private Castle Rental for Film Sets

We have had a major filming session over the past few months, which we look forward to announcing very soon. But in the meantime we do our best to promote the Castle to filming location agents and scouts as the ideal historic venue and grounds for any type of filming. We think Antiques Roadshow, for instance, would be very at home at Aldourie. Here are just some of the reasons why…

A helpful and supportive team
We shall start with the basics. A film crew is already scheduled with back to back tasks once they are set up on location so what is helpful to them, although it’s probably the last thing on a director’s wish list, is a friendly and supportive logistics team. Especially great at hospitality the team at Aldourie are only a phone call away to be on hand at the Castle or anywhere on the parkland (we simply jump in the Jeep!) to provide everything from lunch to photocopying.  Our five star service is also put to good use as everything is done with efficiency and a genuine Scottish smile – enough to help even the most stressful of filming days.

Private Castle Rental for Film Sets

Scenic surroundings
Beautiful settings are surely sought after in a filming location. We only have to look outside the window of the Aldourie Estate office to see the striking and mesmerising Highlands’ landscape, complete with picture perfect mountains and endless wildlife.  Spend a day, a week, a month or longer at Aldourie Castle and filming will not be a chore. It is a permanently peaceful place. Whether the film crew are on a tea break or filming the next outdoor scene the enchanting and atmospheric outside setting at Aldourie combines relaxation and inspiration with a striking backdrop.

Heritage and architecture
Aldourie and its magic can offer the filming location scout something different from the norm.  Housing centuries of heritage in portraits, characterful features, high ceilings and heirlooms the atmosphere of the Castle’s rooms themselves lend it naturally as a perfect period setting for filming. The colours and interiors of the staterooms can apply themselves as a backdrop for royal weddings and society parties whilst the cosiness and intimacy of the bedrooms could showcase Aldourie as a private yet stately mansion house.

Private Castle Rental for Film Sets

Expanse of land
A family graveyard, a tree house and marina with its own pier, old derelict buildings and bridges can be found at Aldourie, located not far from Inverness but cocooned in a private setting. And that’s not all. Tree lined paths, green countryside, pretty formal gardens, spooky woodland, trickling streams, unspoiled parkland and four characterful cottages in their own Loch Ness wilderness are captured within 500 acres of land right on Aldourie’s doorstep. And all this versatile space is available for private hire at any time of the year.

 

Overnight accommodation and private space for actors
Aldourie Castle and the cottages combined sleep over 50 guests making the Aldourie Estate perfect for actors who would otherwise have to find accommodation elsewhere. This way, they can be as close to the filming location as possible and the spacious bedrooms and en suites give them private time away from filming to look over scripts and take a break between scenes. Perfect for private castle rental for film sets and production crews.

Private Castle Rental for Film Sets

Variety and convenience
Choosing to film their next big TV drama, advert or feature film on such a varied location has all sorts of benefits for a production company. Private castle rental for film sets has multiple benefits for example; everything is within walking distance at Aldourie Castle. Parkland strolls for those creative thinking sessions, inspirational views and beauty spots to explore and healthy yet delicious food and drink available on request – ideal for tight filming schedules. Production teams can take a short break from filming to enjoy a stroll amongst the delightful formal gardens and orangery, allowing five minutes to themselves on a bench amongst the winding paths. There is endless car parking and flat outside solid ground space for setting up filming equipment and access to the Castle from the main road, air and rail links couldn’t be easier.

Private Castle Rental for Film Sets

The list goes on but the best way to appreciate what this unique and captivating Scottish estate can offer as a filming location is for you to visit it. We are optimistic Aldourie’s next filming adventure is just around the corner; after all, as a Castle taken straight out of a fairytale, we are confident that when Disney finds our hidden location they’ll wonder how they ever managed without us. So, if you are looking for a private castle rental for film sets, then why not get in touch with us via our easy to use online form or give us a call via our website?