Set in its own impressive parklands with horses galloping in the distance, there’s a real feeling of Downton Abbey about Dundas Castle and I for one would love to be Lady Mary for the day.
Although the rooms in the castle are very grand, the atmosphere is one of warmth and homeliness, which I’d attribute in equal measure to the friendliness of the people who work and live there, the décor and, very importantly in the depths of winter, a state of the art heating system.
I was greeted by the Operations Manager, Alyson, who very obviously loves the building and her job. Having met me in the impressive hall, Alyson and I had a brief chat in the library. As you’d expect the room is lined from floor to ceiling with books and its large sumptuous sofas surrounding an impressive fire-place, make this an ideal place for relaxed drinks or a small reception.
Alyson and I began the tour proper in the paneled dining room, which is decorated in a period style, with a clever colour palette giving it a feeling of light and space. I understand that Lady Lydia is an interior designer and this was evident throughout.
The 17 bedrooms each has its own name and individual colour theme giving it its own individual character and with vast en-suite bathrooms it’d be tempting never to stray downstairs.
The 600 year old Auld Keep, which is separated from the main building by a small courtyard, adds an entirely different dimension to the experience. The twisted medieval stone staircase leads to rooms which are ideal for a themed function, but the real surprise is the Great Hall. With a vaulted ceiling and minstrel’s gallery the room is transformed into a magical fantasy world with the clever use of lighting, candles, flowers and music. The top of the Auld Keep has a flat roof from which there’s view across the Firth of Forth making it the ideal spot for unique wedding photographs.
For corporate events and wedding receptions there’s a permanent marquee within the grounds. The word ‘permanent’ is key here – think high ceilings, a wall of windows looking over parkland, themed lighting, great acoustics and hot food from the adjoining kitchen. There’s no leaking roof, soggy floor or canvass flapping in the wind in sight.
The Castle also boasts its own with a boathouse, a billiard room, a 4 x 4 course, a tennis court, a squash court and a 9 hole golf course within easy walking distance.
The venue is incredibly easy to get to from almost anywhere. It’s less than a half an hour drive from Edinburgh city centre, about 15 minutes from the airport and well connected by road with the A90 being only a few minutes away. And for those who like to arrive with a bit more impact, you can always land your helicopter in the grounds.
The overall feeling of Dundas Castle is one of grandeur and warmth, professionalism and quirks, tradition and style all perfectly balanced.
Telephone: +44 (0) 131 319 2039