The diversification of a Scottish Estate
Gordon Castle Estate, Walled Garden and the Gordon Castle Scotland brand are the results of eight years hard work by Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox since they took over the running of Gordon Castle Estate, Fochabers in 2008.
Completed as one of Scotland’s largest houses in the 1770s by the Duke of Gordon, Gordon Castle is the spiritual home of the House of Gordon, one of Scotland’s oldest families. The estate nestles in the Spey valley, in the heart of whisky country, with a stretch of the Spey River running through the estate, which boasts some of the best salmon fishing in the world.
The castle was used during the Great War as an auxiliary hospital for soldiers returning from the front and was then sold back to the Crown in 1938 following two successive deaths leaving the family with unmanageable death duties to pay. It fell into disrepair before being ‘rescued’ by war hero and much loved soldier Lieutenant General Sir George Gordon Lennox (grandson of the 7th Duke of Richmond and Gordon) after World War Two. He was forced to knock down much of the original house due to dry and wet rot, but he and his wife began the loving restoration, which Angus Gordon Lennox (Grandson of Sir George) and his wife Zara, continue today.
Upon arrival they decided that an estate of such historical importance and significance had to be brought into the 21st century and was in dying need of renovation. The traditional activities of farming, accommodation and fishing are not enough to sustain it in the long term. A major diversification programme was needed. It was decided that the once traditional sporting Estate was to be transformed into a multi-faceted attraction for the community and visitors alike.
Today, the Estate offers exclusive use accommodation in the Castle, self-catering holiday cottages, world-class salmon fishing, Walled Garden visitor attraction, natural children’s play area and a café serving delicious fresh food from the garden and local suppliers.
In addition, the company has launched the Gordon Castle brand which encompasses Gordon Castle Gin, the luxury bath and beauty range, tweed and bone china products: all of which have been inspired by the Walled Garden.
The Estate employs over 65 full-time staff and welcomed 40,000 visitors in 2016; both local, national and international. In a nutshell - the business is striving to be one of the biggest visitor attractions in the North east. The dream being to have the gin a household name, and the luxury beauty range in every hotel across the UK.
The Walled Garden Project
Welcome to Gordon Castle Walled Garden – an ongoing renovation project to breathe life back into this historic Scottish treasure. At over eight acres, The Walled Garden at Gordon Castle is one of the largest in the country and once restored will be the largest fully productive walled garden in Scotland.
Leading UK garden designer Arne Maynard has drawn up the design for its contemporary restoration. In its heyday, in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, it provided an abundance of fruit, vegetables, cut flowers and herbs for the Castle and Estate, and employment for many local people. It was laid mainly to raspberries in the 1950s and run as a commercial soft fruit farm during the latter half of the last century. In its best years over fifty tons of fruit were harvested. Eventually it became uneconomic and has since been kept on a low maintenance programme to preserve its integrity and the 249 espaliered fruit trees that line the walls. Read more about the history of the Walled Garden.
When Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox started the renovation back in 2013 the site was an overgrown field. Since then, the 15th century plot has been painstakingly restored and there is now a cafe, a shop and a luxury brand. The cafe uses a Plant Pick Plate ethos which means that we create our dishes using garden-grown produce and strive to source all other ingredients locally. The £1.2 million restoration of the Walled Garden has resulted in the employment of 65 local staff, part time and full time, who have all taken the ongoing project into their hearts.
Every visitor to the Walled Garden is supporting us as we continue restoring this vital piece of Scottish history to make it Britain’s largest working kitchen garden.
The Brand - Gordon Castle Scotland
Crafted from botanicals grown in the Scottish Highlands, Gordon Castle Gin is the brain-child of Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox; owners of the Gordon Castle Estate and direct descendants of the Dukes of Gordon. In 2008 Angus and Zara took over the running of the Estate and have since dedicated their time to transforming the traditional sporting estate into a luxury brand and visitor attraction.
The biggest task facing the team was the renovation of the eight-acre Walled Garden. One of the oldest and largest walled gardens in Britain, the ongoing project is in full swing with a completion date of 2020 in sight. But this wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support and dedication of our gardeners and volunteers. The gardening team patiently tend to and hand pick our gin’s botanicals, ensuring each individual sprig is good enough for your G&T.
This historical place acts as the inspiration behind the luxury brand, Gordon Castle Scotland and since launching in June 2014 the brand now produces over 200 lifestyle products, luxury beauty and premium gin, all inspired by the fruits, herbs and plants grown in the garden.
We love our gin (call us biased!) but do appreciate when others love it too!