All too soon it was time to leave (although, as it is day six we are getting used to this now!). We say our ‘goodbye’s, put our bags in the car and off we go again. We have had a lovely stay at Tulloch and I’d certainly like to return.
The journey from Tulloch Castle to Aldourie Castle Estate is only 45 minutes. However heading further north there are a few other castles that I have on my list to visit, albeit flying ones! So before heading to Aldourie, I visit Dornoch Castle, Mansfield Castle and Kincraig Castle. This is Scotland, the country of castles. It is really amazing to see them all, everyone different and offering a unique experience.
Back on track we then set off to the shores of Loch Ness. The route passes through Inverness, regarded as the capital of the Highlands.
This is one part of the trip that we have been looking forward to. I have visited many parts of the world but never been to Loch Ness before. It is the most well-known, iconic loch of Scotland, famed for the famous Loch Ness Monster, aka. Nessie!
We make the turning on to the Aldourie Castle Estate, and from the moment we enter, we are stunned by the sheer beauty of the place. As if by magic, to welcome us, in the fields we spot deer running by: Jasmine is very impressed with this.
We continue down the track and head straight to the cottage. Our cottage for the night is Pier Cottage. Usually the cottages are hired on a weekly basis, however as this is a whistle-stop tour we have kindly been offered the cottage for a night.
Pier Cottage is located on the shore of Loch Ness, next to the Estate Marina and is set in it’s own garden. We head in through the door and the cottage really does have the ‘wow’ factor, a real home from home with every amenity you could wish for. There is a sitting room, a large kitchen/breakfast area, and separate dining room, a utility room, three bedrooms (two double and one twin room)… shall I go on?
The views out of the window are simply beautiful: I think they will need to come and force us to leave tomorrow! We have only been there for five minutes and already we don’t want to leave.
Jasmine wastes no time in exploring the cottage. After six nights of using the word castle, she has now added the word “cottage” to her vocabulary! And I think she quite likes it.
Aileen, one of the team at the castle, comes up to check we have settled in okay. I tell her we have a problem, when she asks what it is, I tell her we won’t want to leave! I arrange to meet her in the morning for a tour of the castle.
We head out in to the grounds to explore. The estate is vast, perfect for exploring, either on foot or by bike. We go for a wander by the castle and then down to the shores of Loch Ness (well we had to see if we could spot Nessie, for Jasmine’s sake of course!). This is an amazing place for either a family holiday or a retreat for couples. The cottages have everything you could need for a self-catering holiday, and there is plenty to explore in the area. In the grounds there is a tree house, sure to impress every child (and adult come to think of it!).
Back in the cottage, we light the fire and settle in to the cottage. Pizza in the oven, (well we have fine-dined for the first part of the trip!) wine in the fridge, TV on, we make ourselves at home. A marvellous evening on the shores of Loch Ness.
The morning comes all too soon (now I see why they don’t do nightly rentals!), we have breakfast at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, warmed croissants in the oven and a lovely cup of tea.
I then head down to the castle to meet Aileen for a tour around. I have seen and heard so much about Aldourie it will be lovely to finally see the castle for myself.
The castle is every bit as gorgeous as I imagined. Every detail has been thought of to create something really, really special.
Aldourie is the only habitable castle on the shores of Loch Ness and has occupied this site for hundreds of years. It captures the imagination and offers that fairytale feeling that many of us dream of. For a truly memorable experience, the castle and estate are available for private house parties, celebrations, product launches and other important occasions, on an exclusive basis.
Inside the castle, each of the 15 bedrooms is completely different, each with its own unique design, from quirky showers and baths to glorious grand four poster beds and hand painted designs on the walls. I can only say it has to be seen to understand just how magnificent it really is.
After the tour of the castle, I join Jasmine and Naomi in the grounds for a walk and some deer spotting before heading back to the cottage to get our things.
The Aldourie Estate truly is magnificent, without a doubt I would recommend it to everyone. The castle is a dream wedding venue and the cottages are perfect for family breaks. The grounds are so peaceful and tranquil you could wander for hours. We are certainly hoping to return in the future, though next time, definitely for longer.