An historic dormitory in Moray with royal connections is poised to find a new lease of life as holiday accommodation as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment.
The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, stayed at Duffus House for five years while he attended Gordonstoun in the 1980s.
Now the 18th Century Baronial home will be transformed into an events venue with apartments and bed and breakfast accommodation as well as a cafe.
Ed Dunbar, partner at Duffus Estate, has been drawing up plans for the Victorian building, which has been in his family for generations, for the last five years.
Gordonstoun had leased the gran d building since 1934 but have now moved out.
And Mr Dunbar, who is also chairman of the Moray Coast Tourism Group, is eager to use the former school buildings to draw more visitors to the area.
He said: “We want to encourage people to come to use to visit the grounds to have a positive impact on the area.
“Tourism is a big growth sector in Moray and we want to play our part in that.
“Duffus House sits well next to Gordonstoun as a location that people will want to come and go from.”
Work is expected to begin on restoring the exterior and rooms of the dormitory, which was also home to members of rock band Hunter and the Bear while they studied at Gordonstoun, in summer next year.
Yesterday Mr Dunbar estimated the total value of the project would likely run to “a couple of million pounds”.
Once complete, the building will be home to three holiday apartments and about six bed and breakfast rooms.
Tourism bosses have already welcomed the potential of the development attracting hundreds of new visitors a year to Moray’s coastline.
And it is hoped that other attractions in the area, including St Peter’s Kirk, which is more than eight centuries old, and Duffus Castle, will also benefit from greater attention.
Mr Dunbar added: “There’s always been a bit of a feeling that for people coming from abroad the focus is mainly on whisky and those attractions.”