Fall in Love with The Gardens at Elsick

It’s easy to fall in love with the gardens at Elsick House. Bright blooming flowers and meticulously maintained lawns have provided the most stunning backdrop for outdoor weddings and celebrations throughout many years. But explore a little deeper and you’ll be rewarded with some imaginative surprises. Nestled among the plants are delicate wire fairies, butterflies and most recently added, a stunning sculpture of a bridal gown – a nod to the brides who should have been married here in 2020.

So, who is behind these artworks and the amazing gardens? Meet our creative gardener, Mandy.

Mandy and her partner Alec have lived on the Elsick Estate for 6 years. They take care of the gardens and grounds at Elsick House, as well as carrying out ground maintenance and helping with events such as the Farmers’ Market at nearby town, Chapelton.

Mandy: “I first started by helping Alec in the gardens. I never once imagined I would actually enjoy it but then I realised gardening can be creative, like living art. In my spare time I like to draw, paint and sculpt so I feel very lucky that I can combine my artistic side with my job. A typical day at work for me involves weeding, grass cutting, raking leaves, pruning, planting, deadheading and feeding the plants. I’ve recently been redesigning an area of the gardens which I’ve really enjoyed.

Working in the gardens at Elsick House is so serene. I like all the seasons. Spring sees everything come alive again; Summer is amazing with the sun, nicer weather and the garden in bloom; Autumn brings the colour changes and in Winter, the gardens are chilly but very peaceful.

I think my art is inspired by the views around me. Sometimes I stop and stare at the Monkey Puzzle trees. They are so different and make me think, wow look at that!

Weddings and events have been postponed this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak so it’s disappointing that so many people won’t get to see the gardens in bloom this year. We always do our best to make them look perfect for every wedding, it is an amazing feeling knowing they are the backdrop of someone’s special day. Our current plans are to keep the gardens looking as pristine as we can for all future events but I also felt I wanted to honour this year’s weddings that couldn’t take place because of the virus.

The bridal gown is made from wire and pearl beads and has jasmine and Japanese honeysuckle plants growing around it. I’ve made fairies on carved wooden toadstools and wire butterflies for the garden in the past but I feel this piece has a deeper meaning so I hope the couples will enjoy it when they come for their weddings here.

On a positive note, Alec and I have spent more time in our own garden this year and have revamped an area. I love working outdoors with the sun, wind and even the rain on my face. Gardening keeps me fit and healthy; it boosts the immune system too. We’ve been going for long walks with our dogs as living on the Elsick estate there’s so much countryside to explore. It will be great to see holiday makers coming back to the house once we reopen in July. It really is such a beautiful location and I can’t wait to see families back enjoying the gardens again.”

A Self-Catering Holiday at Elsick House, exclusively yours for a safe family getaway.

They say love and laughter is what makes a house a home and that is certainly true of Elsick House. Families and their friends who come to stay often refer to us as a “home from home” and without the bustle of bridal parties getting ready for the big day or families coming together for well-deserved breaks and holidays, it has been too quiet around the house during the Coronavirus lockdown.

However, we are delighted that we may soon be welcoming back our guests. The most recent government announcements indicate that holidays in Scotland could recommence from mid-July.

Exclusively Yours

A self-contained holiday home, we can ensure the house will be exclusively yours for the duration of your stay. With spacious public rooms, 11 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, Elsick House is a safe, low risk option for those looking to get away from it all, a welcome change of scenery. Set within acres of stunning grounds and gardens it is the ideal base for exploring the surrounding countryside and our location is within easy reach of Aberdeenshire’s beaches, golf courses and much more. See Activities for things to do.

Self-Catering

Self-catering allows you the freedom to make your holiday your own, with no interruptions or set timetable. Our modern kitchen with large range cooker leads onto a relaxed breakfast room and of course, you have the option of the dining room for more formal dinners. Our lawns and summer house are perfect for hosting barbeques and there are also plentiful takeaway and delivery services in the area which we are happy to recommend.

Space for outdoor entertaining and family games at Elsick House.
Plentiful space for outdoor entertaining and family games

Behind the Scenes

The safety and comfort of guests has always been our priority. Behind the scenes we have been busy adding further cleaning and safety protocols. We will also be implementing a contact free check in procedure so you can feel confident that Elsick House is a safe place to reunite with family and friends.

Please check availability on our Bookings page or contact house@elsick.co.uk for more information.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

Renovating a historic house: Traditional interiors restored for modern living

The Duke and Duchess of Fife, David and Caroline are the owners of Elsick House which has been in David’s family since the 1300’s. Here, Caroline talks about the restoration of the house and what inspired them to create an ideal space for entertaining and modern living whilst still retaining traditional features.

“Elsick House has been in the family since the 1300s, and it was where David was brought up. There’s a huge amount of history within these walls. Sadly, David’s dad passed away in 2015 leaving the house and estate to us. We have frequented here with our family over the years so the house truly holds a lot of cherished memories.”

The Restoration

“We rescued the house and restored it with a lot of love and it has certainly come alive again! We re-wired, re-plumbed and added more bathrooms. Making the most of the 11 bedrooms, en-suites added more modern living to the house.

Alexandra bedroom
The Alexandra Bedroom
Ensuite bathroom with roll top bath and freestanding shower
En suite added to The Alexandra Bedroom

It was important to us to have a lot of open living and entertaining space, which I think we’ve achieved. We didn’t want a fussy formal atmosphere. We tried to keep the house old with a modern twist, so the traditional features have been kept but perhaps updated. A fresh colour palette was used, with some flair and personality given to each room through accents.

Drawing room through to the dining room
View from The Drawing Room to The Dining Room

The MacDuff bedroom is my favourite, most probably because it was actually David’s bedroom/nursery growing up. It’s just timeless, I love the quirky old panelling that isn’t straight, but why would one mend this feature? It’s the cosiest part of the house and will always remain the ‘nursery’ to me.

MacDuff bedroom in Elsick House
The Macduff Bedroom was David’s childhood bedroom and ‘The Nursery.”

I also love the study, I love the masculine, non-feminine feel to it with its vintage leather sofas and natural fabrics, again this room is simply timeless.”

The study room at Elsick House with Chesterfield sofa and fireplace
The Study

The Furnishings

“We bought everything from scratch. Taylor’s Auctions were a fabulous source as was Coach House, which I absolutely love! I’d say our biggest splash out was our dining table which seats 16 people. Our best buys were the two large art pieces in the main foyer which were only £50 for both from Taylor’s Auctions. David came up with the genius idea of taking pictures of our original art from our home in Angus, and having them made into large canvases then mounted and framed in a traditional way fitting for the house – so although they are not originals, they are loved pieces from our home, many pieces are of family through the generations!

The Dining Room features family portraits from through the generations

I have a love of the Edwardian period and Downton Abbey, I find it very romantic. I would say that there is always something good in every era though. I love natural, vintage fabrics with fresh neutral pallets. Soft corals and petrol blues are amongst some of my favourite colours, but I hugely dislike navy carpets – which we had running through the house, but I’m happy to say, I gained permission to change these!”

Inside the drawing room at Elsick House with fresh flowers and red cushions

Originally published by No. 1 Magazine. June 7, 2017. Interview by Robyn Lang-Shankland. Main image by Firefly & Embers Photography.

Bridal Accessory Trends by Red Rocks

Multi award winning bridal jewellery and accessories designer Claire Notarangelo is the owner of RedRocks and not only lives locally to Elsick House but is also one of our 2020 brides!

Here she shares her expertise and discusses some of this year’s trends…

RedRocks at Elsick House Wedding Open Day in 2019
RedRocks at Elsick House Wedding Open Day in 2019. View from our bridal suite.

“Over the last 9 years I’ve seen many different styles and trends come and go, and then come back again! The key to creating the best piece suited to each individual is to find out what sort of bride they are first. Perhaps they’re subtle and understated, have an alternative/statement style, a super sparkly bling queen, quite traditional or a mixture of all the above. Seeing “The Dress” is usually the best help to determine what’s required and what sort of detail we’ll go for, along with an idea of hair styling for size and format for the hairpiece.” 

Hairpieces

Last year’s botanical trend has continued into 2020. Floral inspired lace and pretty leafy dress appliqués work beautifully with detailed trailing vines or vine style pins which give the illusion of a vine. Clips and combs also have a heavy presence of flowers and buds with texture being very important to give a natural non uniform feel. Blush mixes are still featuring heavily, bringing warmth to the pieces.  

The other main trend I’m seeing a lot of this year is brides with little or no surface detail on their dress and very smooth, sleek silhouettes. This often lends well to a totally different look, using a larger statement hairpiece to enhance the simplicity of the dress design or a smaller understated piece with a very detailed hairstyle. Swirling, almost Art Deco brooch shapes work well with this styling and can work with both a mixture of pearls and sparkle or a clean no pearl look. Sparkling crystal tiaras in both front facing and side styles are also proving to work well with this look with high quality crystals a must. 

Silver crystal hairpiece by Red Rocks bridal jewellery design
Crystal and pearl hairpiece by Red Rocks bridal jewellery designer
Crystal and pearl tiara by Red Rocks bridal jewellery designer

Jewellery

High, illusion and lace appliquéd necklines are still popular this year so there’s often no need for a necklace or pendant as it just becomes too busy. 

Drop pendants work beautifully with “V” and sweetheart neck shapes with single drop styles still the most popular. 

Earrings are the main ‘go to’ jewellery accessory again this year. Many of my brides are looking for statement designs with a longer drop in marquise and pear drop shapes. At the same time, my brides with more intricately detailed vine/floral hairpieces are leaning more towards smaller, more delicate designs. It really depends on what sort of look you want to give overall and what your personality is. 

Sparkling sterling silver cubic zirconia bracelets are still strong vs pearl designs this year, with simple classic tennis styles most popular. Subtle personalisation with initial discs and delicate charm detail is still a lovely touch and can make for the perfect bridal party gift. 

Personalised initial crystal set tennis style bracelet for bridesmaids by RedRocks bridal jewellery designer

Visit RedRocks or visit their Facebook page for more information on bespoke wedding jewellery.

The perfect setting for your wedding photographs

Turning into our beech lined driveway, our brides and grooms can’t help but start to picture themselves here on their wedding day. Only 8 miles south of Aberdeen and surrounded by 1500 acres of grounds and farmland, Elsick House provides countless stunning backdrops for your wedding photography. 

By taking a look at some of the highlights from our 2019 weddings, here we explore some photo locations that are not to be missed…

1. The Bridge

Our top spot for the ultimate romantic snap has got to be the bridge over the pond, directly opposite the front of the house. Donna Murray Photography captured Natalie and Stewart beautifully here and her natural and creative photography style meant all the emotions of the day were perfectly recorded. 

Bride and groom kissing on the bridge following wedding at Elsick House
Donna Murray Photography

2. The Rose Pergola

Another ‘must have’ photo location is under our rose pergola. Nicola Stewart Photography effortlessly framing Annabel and Colin here and from a different perspective, in Jonathan Addie’s portrayal of Elaine and Graham’s big day.

Bride and groom with floral bouquet under the rose pergola at Elsick House.
Nicola Stewart Photography
Bride and groom under the rose pergola at Elsick House.
Jonathan Addie Photography

3. The Lawns and Walled Gardens

Our lawns and walled gardens are meticulously maintained throughout the year. We love how The Gibson’s Photography documented the wedding of Christy and Craig in these stunning shots, with an artistic and romantic vibe.

Bride and groom romantic shot on the lawn at Elsick House.
Bride and groom in the gardens following wedding at Elsick House
The Gibsons Photography

4. The House

Of course, Elsick House itself is a backdrop not to be missed from your photo album. We were lucky to have By Rhea here for two weddings last year. Libby and Alan provided the ultimate photo prop with tractors outside the house! And at Rebecca and Gregor’s summer wedding, Rhea took this smart shot of the groom and his wedding party, making their way to the ceremony in the marquee.

Bride and groom outside Elsick House with tractors and wedding party.
By Rhea
Groom and wedding party outside Elsick House.
By Rhea

Our tastefully decorated baronial country house has 11 bedrooms and 3 public rooms. We were in awe of these impressive shots taken inside the house by Photomagician. With such an atmospheric and artistic style, Emma and Al’s photos are edgy, dramatic and full of personality and we loved seeing Radek’s alternative perspective of the house.

5. The Surrounding Countryside

Finally, whether it’s a summers day for running into the fields together like Steph and Euan (photo by Sam Brill) or a crisp autumn afternoon like Kelsey and Iain’s big day (main blog image by Ceranna Photography) don’t forget to capture those first special moments as newlyweds by taking a stroll around the acres of beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside that surrounds Elsick House.

Bride and groom in fields after wedding at Elsick House
Sam Brill

Wedding Open Day 2020 – Postponed

*Edited 21/03/20 – Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus outbreak we have no choice but to postpone this year’s wedding open day. Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook for a rescheduled date. Thank you.*

We are so excited to announce that this year’s Elsick House Wedding Open Day will take place on Sunday 17th May 2020.

Come along between 12 and 4pm and enjoy a glass of fizz while you view the stunning house, grounds and gardens at your leisure. Our house managers Alison and Karen will be on hand to answer your questions along with the experienced staff from our partner’s Hudsons who can discuss all your catering and event requirements. You’ll also be able to sample their tasty offerings. The marquee will be beautifully decorated by some of Aberdeenshire’s top wedding experts which is sure to give you lots of inspo for your big day!

We have also selected some local suppliers to join us so we hope you’ll enjoy chatting with them to see if they can help make your wedding day special too. Look out for supplier announcements on our Instagram and Facebook pages soon.

Register for our wedding open day online or email house@elsick.co.uk

YOGA RETREAT – BLOOMING IN MAY

Body, Mind & Soul Yoga Retreat at Elsick House

Ivana and Adrijana at Real Soul Yoga are offering you a truly wonderful, energising, nurturing and relaxing retreat which will rejuvenate your body, mind and soul and help make you feel like new again.

The 4-day “Blooming in May” Body, Mind and Soul Retreat is taking place at Elsick House, Aberdeenshire between 2nd and 5th May 2019.  Find out more, in this guest blog post by Ivana at Real Soul Yoga!


For your gorgeous body

The retreat will include one to two daily yoga sessions (based on Ashtanga yoga) plus a short and sweet massage for everyone (this is optional), however it’s available to everyone that comes along. 

For your mind

Guided meditation and exploration sessions. We will explore meditation and by the end of the retreat we hope you will find what works for you and how you can apply it in your life to manage the daily stresses.

For your soul

The beauty of Elsick House, its luscious gardens, peaceful setting, meeting new retreat friends or enjoying your own company (there will be plenty of private space for reading, walk and having time for yourself).

Hopefully it will be a sunny weekend in May so you can even eat al fresco…

Your gorgeous body and mind also needs rest and deep sleep so you can relax in one of the bright and tastefully decorated rooms. There is a choice of accommodation available (there are 4 x twin rooms, 2 x singles, as well as 2 x doubles and 2 x super kings). Maximum capacity is for 16 people (this includes sharing of rooms)

For your belly

We will have the lovely chef Nikki to prepare delicious, plant based (vegetarian and/or vegan) food throughout the retreat, plus healthy snacks and drinks to nourish and replenish you. We promise you will be fed well. Let food be thy medicine (at least for the weekend).

So what do you think?

Can you believe all of this is on your doorstep?

Would you like to retreat with us for three nights and four days and enjoy some time out for yourself?


More info on the programme

You will have time to dig deeper into your yoga practice which will include daily morning yoga classes followed by afternoon yoga workshops (we will get into those tight hips, shoulders, hamstrings)…. 

If you’d like to explore how yoga and meditation practices bring our thoughts and emotions to the surface, we’d love to organise a session or two where we touch on our inner states and what impact they have in how we show up in the world and indeed on our yoga mat. We’d like for you to not only feel more physically and mentally strong after the retreat, but also more emotionally grounded and self assured.

Of course any of the sessions (including meditation) is optional. Eating, relaxing, resting and sleeping and indeed doing anything which fills your heart with joy is compulsory. It is YOUR retreat and we’d be honoured to hold a space for you to find some time for you.

Host Backgrounds

Finally, most of you know my background, but if not, you will know I’m pretty passionate about yoga, wellness, meditation, health and wellbeing and I attend further trainings and teachings whenever I can. You can find out more about my yoga background here. My friend Adrijana is an experienced and fully trained massage therapist, Reiki and mediation practitioner who is passionate about self-development and metaphysics. 

How much will it cost?

The retreat will start from £399 for the 3 nights (early bird discounts will be available). These prices will include us and our offering, as well as all the delicious meals, lovely rooms to rest in and of course lots of yoga, meditation and reflection practices and the time to just be and enquire within. Nearly whole 4 days just for yourself! Yes!

How do I book?

To reserve your spot or to find out more, contact ivana@realsoulyoga.com

THROUGH THE SEASONS

Elsick House is a truly special place to be throughout the year.   The house and private grounds surrounding the country house look sensational in all seasons.  From the beautiful borders in June providing a colour explosion and striking backdrop for photos as seen at Michelle & Tom’s – Summer Wedding and Abbie & Neil’s – Summer Wedding to the Beech Hedgerow lining the drive that transform into auburn hues over Winter (Nina & Iain’s – Winter Wedding), be ready to fall in love.

I sat down with our House Manager Alison (while she skilfully prepared our House Keeper’s 60th Birthday Party meal in the Elsick House country kitchen) to get her take on Weddings and to understand how each season offers new opportunities.

Photo Credit: The Gibsons Photography

 

Spring means Daffodils (lots of them), Bouncing Rabbits and a Birdsong Explosion

Spring at Elsick House is Daffodils (lots of them), Bouncing Rabbits and a Birdsong Explosion. With Elsick Farms based on the wider Elsick Estate, the background hum of birds, bees and new life is punctured by moo-ing calves enjoying the spring pastures.   Spring brings the Marquee back to the walled garden after its winter hibernation.  In addition, the pond at the front of the house comes back to life, framed by beautiful lush grass and tall ancient trees creating a beautiful spot for photos over the bridge.

 

Summer Sunshine

Following the beauty of spring, summer delivers beautiful borders, a blooming pergola, summerhouse cocktails and a sun drenched marquee. Although not guaranteed, summer provides more opportunity for outdoor weddings. We were extremely lucky in 2018 with the wonderful summer – we do hope to achieve many more in 2019!

As you will be aware, we cannot control the weather but we do give it every opportunity. You can decide on the morning of your wedding if you want to be married in the marquee (for weddings greater than 50) or if you want to be married outside. The marquee is set up in two halves with windows the full length so that your guests can enjoy the magnificent walled garden and rose pergola while they wait for you to walk down the aisle. The marquee is a lovely bright space, south facing and offers a complete blank canvass for you to personalise.

Marquee-Garden-House
Marquee Weddings

Our typical hire package involves a 3 night weekend (Friday to Monday) stay.  We can however, offer weekday hire, venue only and a 2 night option depending on availability. If you have any specific requirements, get in touch via email at house@elsick.co.uk.

As Elsick House is an exclusive use venue, the whole house and grounds are yours for the duration of your stay. It is your home for the full hire period which means you have the opportunity to arrange a summer BBQ with your friends the day after the wedding, hog roast, lawn games or perhaps hire in a hot tub and watch the stars in the sky with your bridesmaids the night before the wedding, sipping champagne reminiscing about old times. You can chose for your wedding party preparations to start in the drawing room with family and friends or have your make-up artist and hairdresser visit your king size room with your bridesmaids. We want you to feel right at home at Elsick! We have some lovely examples of the Marquee in summer here.

Apricot Tree – Anne and Pierre

Hayley Fraser Photography – Stephanie and Matt

Photo Credit: Hayley Fraser Photography

 

Autumn brings changing colours and conkers a-plenty

Autumn is a magical time with changing colours and conkers a-plenty. As the air turns cooler, leaves turn and fall from the tall trees, bronzed beech borders transform the drive, birds arrive and others make their journey to warmer climes – the garden is rich with berries, seeds and conkers. As the evenings draw in, there’s no need to retreat to the house just yet. In the evening, the house and garden is lit up to ensure you and your guests can enjoy the garden into the early hours.

Photo Credit: Blue Sky Photography

As mentioned previously, we can set up hot tubs on our new patio – just a hop, skip and a jump from the kitchen fridge, the Champagne can be topped up without getting too cold! While the weather may be too chilly for an outdoor wedding at this time of year, Elsick House can accommodate smaller house weddings for up to 50 guests where you can choose to be married in our reception hall like Angie & Jim’s – House Wedding or in the drawing room. If your numbers exceed this, our marquee is still available until October and can accommodate up to 250 guests. See Louise & Peter’s – Marquee Wedding for some ideas.

 

Winter Wonderland and that Festive Feels

Last but not least is winter at Elsick House and the festive feelings this time of year brings. The open fire in the drawing room is a perfect place to gather around with the family the night before the wedding. The drawing room can also be set up for an intimate formal meal the night before if you choose or alternatively order in a pizza for a relaxed informal night. This is always a great opportunity for the wedding party to meet, relax and settle in to the house for the weekend.

The house can be dressed in any way you like and rooms can be flexible to suit your numbers and room pairings. The fireplaces in the dining room, drawing room, study and bedrooms can be beautifully framed to create a real focal point for your winter wonderland. In 2017 Robin’s Egg transformed the house for Nina and Iain’s wedding.

With the dark nights we offer the opportunity to light up the house, creating a stunning atmospheric backdrop for photos and impressive statement for evening guests arriving. Winter weddings at Elsick House are considered off season therefore are available at a lower cost when compared with summer weddings. Since the marquee is not available from November to March, Elsick House can accommodate only House weddings during this time.

 

So, what season are you?

We hope this has given you lots of food for thought. Be sure to click on the links above to see some beautiful examples of real weddings at Elsick House.

Keep up to date with news and special offers by following us on Facebook @elsickhouseofficial and on Instagram @elsickhouse. Current availability to book a wedding at any time of year can be viewed on our website

WINTER WEEKENDS AT ELSICK HOUSE

Elsick House is located just 8 miles south of Aberdeen in Cammachmore, meaning the joys of the Aberdeen’s Winter Festival are just a few minutes away.

Visit Scotland have pulled together a wonderful list of events planned for 2018 on their website – it’s getting us feeling all festive!  Some of their suggestions include;

– Follow a parade of bands, festive characters and floats down Union Street and cheer as one by one the lights are turned on at the Christmas Lights Switch On Parade

– Help welcome Father Christmas to Aberdeen at the city’s eagerly anticipated Santa and Reindeer Parade.

– Sing along to carols accompanied by music from the talented Bon Accord Silver Band at a Christmas Carol Concert held in the David Welch Winter Gardens

Get into the festive spirit with a pantomime at the Aberdeen Arts Centre, Tivoli or His Majesty’s Theatre.

The full list of events can be found here

Why not get in touch and make the most of our winter getaway deal.  At time of writing, we still have the following winter weekends available for hire;

– November: 2nd, 16th, 23rd and 30th
– December: 7th and 14th
– January: 11th and 25th
– February: 8th and 22nd
– March: 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th

Check our current availability or get in touch with Alison and Natasha on house@elsick.co.uk.

Look forward to hearing from you

Elsick House Team

ROYAL PARTIES – TREE PLANTING TRADITION

Take a look at the video of The Queen showing Sir David Attenborough the trees that were planted in Buckingham Palace’s garden for her children here.

The photos below show various Royals at Elsick House.  Like at Buckingham Palace, many of the trees in the grounds at Elsick bear planting plaques, bearing witness to Elsick’s popularity with royal guests over the decades.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth marks the late Duke’s sixth birthday tree planting

Queen Mary attending the third birthday of James Carnegie (3rd Duke of Fife)

 

Trees still have all their plaques so it is a great opportunity for a treasure hunt with the children!

We carried on the tree planting tradition in 2017 to commemorate our first marquee wedding couple and our first house wedding couple.  Both couples came back to Elsick House to plant a tree to mark this memorable occasion along with the Duke and Duchess of Fife. We even managed to make use of the “Ceremony Spade” for the event which has been used by the Royals families since 1920.

Lauren and Justin – Our first House Wedding Couple

Jennifer and Keith – Our first Marquee Wedding Couple