The novelty of visiting Scottish castles and countryside Estates isn’t wearing off, not one bit!
The history:: In 1888, Sir Alexander MacRobert purchased the Estate as a holiday home for his family. The family later on, added extra rooms and a tower completely transforming the property into what it is today. The MacRobert couple had three sons, unfortunately all of whom died under tragic circumstances, pre- and during the Second World War. Following her sons’ deaths, Lady MacRobert decided to set up the MacRobert Trust, a philanthropic trust in honour of her sons. Today, the Douneside House is run by the Trust in memory of Lady MacRobert. Her wish was to create a place of ‘tranquillity and peace’, and the Douneside team works tirelessly to uphold this promise. The Estate is also used as a holiday home for members of the British Armed Services. Discounted rates are available for all ranks of the Armed Forces all year round. All profits go towards charitable causes or are re-invested into the property, which makes one’s visit extra special knowing that their money goes towards something greater!
The food::Lunch at the Douneside House takes place at The Conservatory, a beautiful room with glass windows and wooden panels painted in mint that instantly immersing you in the most calming mood. The jazz music playing adds more to the vibe and the tropical plants surrounding you makes you feel that you are almost somewhere far away from Aberdeenshire! We ordered the Smoked Applewood Cheddar and the Roast Supreme of Maize Fed Chicken from the sandwiches selection, and the soup of the day. First to arrive on the table were the freshly baked buns, hot out of the oven making the lightened butter melt once spread on the bread, they were a great start to the feast that was about to follow… Then, it was onto the menus and to sum the culinary experience up, I am just going to say what Sarah said once trying her soup ‘best soup of my life‘! The focccacia bread was aromatic, the chicken was succulent and the Gratin Dauphinoise side potatoes were so satisfying, I would gladly order a double portion anytime soon. We finished it off by sharing a Buttermilk Panna Cotta that was one of the most beautifully presented desserts I have ever seen in my life with passion fruit and banana sorbet on the side. Dreamy! Is that not the garden of dreams right there? Note to myself – win the lottery, buy a countryside house with lots and lots of lovely land, and then create flower beds and rays of rhododendron that explode into a riot of colour every spring…
The Gardens and Glasshouse::We left right afterwards finishing our meal and walked towards the garden, past the rows of rhododendrons. The Gardeners welcomed us and took us on a tour of the glasshouses showing us how they take care of individual species – from seedlings to full grown plants in pots – until we found a little private garden room opened up to the public with views to the hill. There was a comfortable, rattan sofa and chairs, books to read and a vase with blooming flowers freshly picked from the garden. If I could have paused time and lived in that moment for an hour or two longer, where we were sitting listening to the sound of the birds singing in a sunny evening, I would have. It was magic! Thank you to the Douneside House team for having us and to Sarah and Hollie for being such great fun in this roadtrip! Anastasia