It was my privilege to visit Gordon Castle Estate and the Gordon Lennox family, under whose stewardship, the highland estate of some 450 acres, is a growing business.
Gordon Castle has been remodeled as a unique, exclusive use venue, located outside the picturesque Highland town of Fochabers in rural Speyside. Much of the original build, dating back to the 15th century, has long gone, leaving behind, a still sizeable, historic country house; ideal for hosting large, luxurious events.
With room for 18 overnight guests and in-house catering for up to 40 (larger parties can be accommodated by outside caterers), the Gordon Castle team take great pride in offering an exceptional product, for each guest who basks in the glory of this landmark property.
Each unique bedroom has been decorated with extreme care, retaining all the fabulous features from the original building and sourcing the additions with great attention to comfort and modern day necessities.
The house itself, once the family home, is extremely welcoming and surprisingly cosy with well-tended log fires and endless artefacts displayed alongside family portraits and a general ambience of wellbeing. Gordon Castle is the ideal spot for whiling away hours and certainly a pull for would-be photographers, writers and those interested in a little of Scottish history.
Popular for weddings and company gatherings, the orangery is a superb addition to the main house, with fabulous access to well-tended and sprawling grounds, presenting endless outdoor opportunities and a great connection to the wider estate and sporting activities.
A destination venue, Gordon Castle has carefully crafted add-on products to their service, which not only present visiting parties with endless opportunities and pastimes but provide an essential additional income to support the larger estate.
Like so many of Scotland’s country estates, the management of such a sizeable, historic asset is no easy task, due to economic downturns, maintenance costs and the associated price of keeping their bit of Scotland’s heritage alive.
Diversification has been an essential requirement for this generation of estate owners, allowing them the opportunity to keep their hereditary property thriving.
One such derivative at Gordon Castle is the much spoken of, Walled Garden and Café. A plot of some eight acres within the main estate, the walled garden forms the centerpiece within the grounds, housing some 249 fruit trees, an ornamental maze and a Victorian greenhouse. The gardens are continuously tended and offer a destination for passing visitors who can enjoy the many walkways and multitude of plant varieties. Products of the garden not only contribute to Gordon Castle bath products but to the ever-changing menu at the garden café – an oasis of calm, good cheer and delicious food products.
If visiting in the Summer months, look out for outdoor theatre events, staged in the walled garden, when the café host pre-theatre dinners – something I hope to return for this year.
Also onsite is a small gift shop, where produce from Gordon Castle’s numerous sidelines can be found, including the rather interesting and attractively bottled Gordon Castle Gin, crafted from botanicals grown within the gardens, at their onsite distillery, which I have yet to try!
There is no doubt a full day shall disappear fairly quickly at Gordon Castle, such are the multitude of offerings, charmingly presented. The quirky estate cottages may offer a solution to this and a divergence from the main house accommodation. Rentable through the estate, the quaint properties offer a countryside idyll and an opportunity to enjoy the estate’s activities and products over a number of days, additionally, of course, allowing wider area tours around Scotland’s whisky country, too!
The cottages are particularly popular with fishers, who return year upon year to enjoy the estate’s 8 miles of River Spey fishing – yet another string to the very large bow!
Gordon Castle typifies diversification and credit to them for continually morphing to suit an ever-demanding audience. The flip-side of this of course, is that this is an essential attribute in today’s economic climate and presents a constant struggle to meet the demands of a family estate, keeping it open for future generations to enjoy and learn.
Gordon Castle however is a hugely enjoyable venture for each visitor – offering something for everyone, it is well worth further investigation to visit, enjoy and support.