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Historic building to be turned into luxury honeymoon suite at Barra Castle

Owner Sarah Stephen has lodged plans for a new wedding attraction at Barra Castle.
Owner Sarah Stephen has lodged plans for a new wedding attraction at Barra Castle.

For many people, 2022 is shaping up to be the year of the wedding.

Countless couples left who have had to postpone their special day (some repeatedly) will finally walk down the aisle, pending any further Covid call-offs.

And the next few years should see scores of lockdown proposals finally come to fruition.

The owners of Barra Castle are now hoping to capitalise on the rush of re-arranged weddings…

David and Sarah Stephen are seeking permission to convert a “charming” historic building there into a luxury honeymoon suite.

The quaint garden pavilion as it looks today. Picture submitted to council by BW MacIntyre architects

How will pavilion boost Barra Castle’s wedding offering?

The Aberdeenshire landmark, outside Oldmeldrum, has been hosting weddings since 2017 in its The Barn @ Barra Castle venue.

While the castle was built in 1614-1618, the B-listed garden pavilion dates back to 1753.

Back then, it would have been used by the castle owners to entertain their guests.

The garden pavilion with Barra Castle in the background. Picture submitted to council by BW MacIntyre architects

Planning papers lodged with Aberdeenshire Council outline the plans to revamp the two-storey garden house.

BW MacIntyre architects, on behalf of the Stephens, say the building can “once again welcome guests in a beautiful, characterful yet contemporary setting”.

This image comes from a wedding open day at the castle in 2018, showing how couples can choose to tie the knot in the Aberdeenshire countryside. Picture by Kath Flannery

Accommodation ‘needs to be special’

The firm adds: “In order to attract paying guests and meet their modern expectations, buildings such as this not only require restoration but also renovation.

“When the pavilion was originally constructed (believed to be around 1753) running water and luxury facilities would not have been possible.

“However to meet modern needs of guests on what is for them a very special day, the accommodation must be equally as special.

“Such a charming building and its beautiful surroundings must also be accompanied with luxury provisions to ensure guests comfort.”

A design image showing how the surroundings of the castle would be enhanced. Picture submitted to council by BW MacIntyre architects
Another concept design offering a glimpse into the possible future. Picture submitted to council by BW MacIntyre architects
Here is how the bedroom would look under the design blueprints. Picture submitted to council by BW MacIntyre architects

How about a glass of champagne on the balcony?

Very little work will take place on the outside of the building.

But inside, a staircase will be added leading to the bedroom on the upper floor while a small kitchenette will be created “to allow guests to enjoy refreshments”.

A shower room will also be built, with a Juliet balcony added.

Picture submitted to council by BW MacIntyre architects

The owners reckon the stunning views towards Bennachie will be “a strong selling point to potential guests wishing to come and enjoy the pavilion for years to come”.

And they say the work will ensure the building “goes on to survive many
hundreds of years more”.

You can see the plans for yourself here.

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