One of the best things about getting married in Scotland? Our spectacular scenery! Natasha Radmehr picks out a dozen country house venues that offer front-row views of our glorious landscapes
Over the past few years, lots of us avoided holidaying abroad in favour of taking breaks at home. Granted, there were times we didn’t have a choice, but loads of people I know gained a renewed appreciation for the destinations right on our doorstep – myself included. Dark, glossy lochs bordered by dense forests; patchwork fields that stretch for miles; snow-capped mountains and swooping glens. If you long to get married in the midst of it all, you’re in luck, because Scotland does a fine line in country houses and resorts with incredible vistas. Here are just some of them.
Love the idea of gathering all your friends and family together for a fun-filled wedding weekend with lots to do? Moness Resort in Aberfeldy might be just the place. Within its 34-acre estate is a hotel (where intimate weddings with up to 60 guests can be held), self-catering cottages, leisure facilities, a spa and lawn games, alongside a self-contained marquee with room for weddings with up to 150 guests.
“Bespoke decorations, lighting and entertainment can all be catered for, and we offer an array of chair covers and sashes to fit with your colour scheme,” says Kirsty Shanks, wedding and events manager. “There’s also a fun star-lit dancefloor where you can dance the night away!”
Think you can’t enjoy the delights of the countryside while being close to the city centre? Think again. Pollok House, an elegant stately home, is just 15 minutes from the heart of Glasgow but feels like a rural retreat thanks to its location in Pollok Country Park. Exchange vows in the atmospheric Library (capacity 70 people) surrounded by Ionic columns and more than 7,000 books and manuscripts, then make the most of the stunning grounds with a photoshoot in the colourful parterre garden.
Good to know: Pollok House is managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), a leading conservation charity. “Your support allows us to continue to conserve and protect beautiful places like Pollok House for future generations,” says Edoardo Bedin, weddings supervisor. You’ll even get a year’s free NTS membership if you marry here!
If you love horses, you’ve perhaps heard of this award-winning Renfrewshire venue. Set in a picturesque 90-acre country estate in Bishopton, it comprises an equestrian centre, boutique hotel, luxury lodges and a restaurant, so you can make a proper day of it when you go for a viewing with your partner.
“Whether our guests are looking for the glamour and opulence of our grand marquee (capacity 300 during the day, 500 at night), the character and charm of the Salerno Suite (120 day guests; 180 in the evening), photographs in our stunning landscaped gardens or a view of the Kilpatrick hills, we have it all,” smiles Stephanie O’Donnell, wedding and events coordinator. Tie the knot in the fragrant Rose Garden to bask in those views – and why not arrive in a horse-drawn carriage to make it all the more special?
Six acres of lush landscaped gardens, a cool Tudor-style façade and cosy, traditional interiors are all part of the package at this charming country house. With the Perthshire countryside and Huntingtower Castle on your doorstep, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to your own secluded manor home. But don’t worry, your guests won’t be grumbling about getting there – Perth’s train station is just a 15-minute drive away.
On a gorgeous day, get out into the grounds to say ‘I do’, then take a wander for photos by the little bridges dotted around. Alternatively, wed in the Huntingtower Suite (capacity 150 during the day; 180 at night), which is where most weddings take place. “It’s exclusive-use and away from any the other guests who might be staying at the hotel,” explains Samantha Wright, wedding and events manager. At the end of the day, kick back in the showstopper of a honeymoon suite, which has garden views and a roll-top bath.
“Rosebery House is a very special place set within gated grounds, just 35 minutes from Edinburgh city centre,” says events manager Louise Hunt. “It’s an intimate venue for those planning a small wedding celebration, and has a stunning private chapel.” And just wait till you see that chapel. The pink-sandstone gothic building has a timber barrel-vaulted ceiling and views over the Moorfoot hills – it really doesn’t get more romantic, especially considering you’ll have it all to yourselves.
The luxurious mansion will be exclusively yours, too. If your wedding’s on the micro side, up to 14 people can enjoy a sumptuous banquet in the opulent gold dining room, surrounded by ancestral portraits (the house was built by the 5th Earl of Rosebery). Up to 20 can stay over in the mansion house and take advantage of the facilities, which include a tennis court and games room. Fancy.
In case you didn’t get the memo, the Perthshire town of Dunkeld is one of the coolest places to be right now. Its high street boasts a hip artisan bakery, super-stylish florist and a slick wine bar, its scenery is epic, and it’s home to Dunkeld House Hotel, a luxe country house that sits in 280 acres of woodland by the River Tay.
There’s a marquee in the garden (capacity 120 for a ceremony) which can be fully enclosed or opened at the front to properly drink in the views of Craigvinean Forest. The marquee is ideal for evening receptions of up to 140 guests, but if you’re planning a more intimate do, head inside the cosy hotel. The Drawing Room (capacity 60 for a ceremony; 40 for a meal) has period features, including a magnificent fireplace, and a balcony overlooking the river.
Picture the scene: you’re standing by a copper beech tree with your other half, hands clasped as you make your vows. The sound of a trickling burn and chirping birds can be heard in the background. Nearby in a woodland clearance is a tree-swing made for two. Sound idyllic? That’s what lies in store at Rufflets St Andrews, a multi-award-winning venue with ten acres of jaw-droppingly romantic gardens and a purpose-built Garden Suite (capacity 144 guests for daytime; 170 at night) where ceremonies can be held if the weather is poor.
The suite has an elegant drinks reception area and bar with glass doors opening onto a private west-facing terrace, as well as a dancefloor and LED ceiling that twinkles in the evening. “We take our time to get to know every couple before their big day, nailing down every single detail and wish,” says events manager Hannah Ryan.
“The location of Dungallan is second to none,” beams Kirsty Carmichael, joint general manager of this impressive Victorian country house. “Set in its own grounds and perched above Oban, there is absolutely nothing spoiling the views – our guests love sitting on the patio in all weathers as they say the view is the reason they don’t want to leave!”
You’ll be equally impressed by the interiors; a recent refurb has seen the introduction of a lounge bar with more than 110 whiskies on offer, and a stylish library which leads to a garden with a wraparound patio. Marry in the garden beneath the flower-festooned arbour and you’ll be treated to uninterrupted views of Oban Bay and the islands beyond, including Mull and Lismore. Receptions take place in the library, bar, restaurant or marquee, and the venue is best suited to small or medium-sized weddings, with a capacity of 30 for a sit-down meal or 60 for a buffet.
Clifftop views overlooking the spectacular Fife Coastal Path, a 520-acre estate with a championship golf course, and a grand hotel with more than 200 bedrooms and an award-winning spa: Fairmont St Andrews gives you all the destination wedding vibes without having to set foot on a plane. “St Andrews sees over 1,560 hours of sun per year – 67 hours higher than the UK average – so while good weather is never guaranteed, it’s perhaps more likely if you tie the knot here,” says Laura Duncan, head of events. “The sweeping views are host to the most magical golden hour, and the resort’s position facing the north-east means you can get your snaps taken against the backdrop of the sun setting over St Andrews Bay in the evening.”
Whether you have four guests or 400, expect a choice of stylish spaces (including a glass-roofed atrium with a shimmering ‘Zephyr’ sculpture), flexible packages and your own professional wedding planner.
Sir Walter Scott once proclaimed Kelso to be “the most beautiful, if not the most romantic village in Scotland”. Get married at the nearby Schloss Roxburghe, and you’re bound to agree. It’s in a 300-acre estate comprising mature woodland, a championship golf course and manicured lawns, with views of the rolling hills and green farmland of the Scottish Borders. The estate once belonged to the Duke of Roxburghe, and the hotel has the grand fireplaces and lavish decor to show for it.
“The historic property and picturesque grounds make this the perfect location to get married,” says Demi Armstrong, wedding and events coordinator. Celebrate your day in the Victorian glass-panelled conservatory (capacity 58 guests) or in the new Teviot Suite, which has room for up to 120 guests. There are 58 bedrooms, so your guests can join you.
“The uniqueness of Dumfries House is what makes it for me: it’s a country house on a very public estate, but where wedding parties have exclusive use of the house and can truly enjoy the historic surroundings among the Thomas Chippendale and Alexander Peter furniture,” says Evan Samson, hospitality manager for the Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House. The imaginatively designed gardens are truly a sight to behold – the vibrant Rothesay Garden is a particular favourite – so if the weather’s on side, marry alfresco. Alternatively, inside the house there’s the Tapestry Room (capacity 110 guests) or the Yellow Drawing Room, both characterful spaces decorated with historic artefacts. Post-ceremony, pose by the fountain or in the super-cool maze (which includes obelisks and a Japanese pagoda) before sitting down to a meal served by butlers in the purpose-built Pavilion. Yes, it is a grand setting, but Evan says packages are tailored to each couple and midweek weddings are competitively priced.
If Loch Lomond is one of your favourite places to be, you’ll love Cameron House, which has the loch on its doorstep and even has its own private beach. “During the summer season, couples like to host their ceremony on the lawn in front of the mansion with Loch Lomond as their backdrop,” says Jamie Ramsay, wedding and events coordinator.
The Loch Fyne Suite (capacity 170 guests), lit by twinkling chandeliers, offers a glamorous alternative, and has a private garden and wooden canopy to provide shelter in inclement weather. Or you could make use of the new Loch Lomond Suite (capacity 350 guests). “This is an exclusive-use event space featuring a private terrace overlooking the loch, with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the room with natural light,” adds Jamie. Another new addition to the 140-bedroom hotel is the Lomond wing, which has an additional 68 bedrooms. Some of these have balconies with panoramic views – super-dreamy.