One of Scotland’s best kept secrets is Gordon Castle’s Walled Garden, situated at the top of the River Spey and near the Moray Coast and at almost eight acres in size, it is one of the oldest and largest working gardens in Britain. This oasis of peace and tranquillity is tended to by a small team of dedicated gardeners that nurture the garden to thrive with a myriad of herbs, cut flowers, fruit and vegetables; making the garden as beautiful as it is productive. Not only is Gordon Castle bursting at the seams with history, but it is also a place of beauty for the whole family where you can try the delicious freshly picked produce from their award-winning garden and taste some delicious food, coffees, and cakes in the café, or browse a range of over two hundred products in their shop, which are all inspired by The Walled Garden at Gordon Castle Estate.
Gordon Castle’s walled garden was originally built over 200 years ago to meet the demands of the Duke of Gordon for fresh seasonal produce to feed his household and impress his guests. In the 70s it was a commercial fruit farm used to produce over 70 tons of Raspberries for Baxter’s Jam. However, more recently with the help, foresight, and inspiration of Zara & Angus Gordon Lennox they have evolved and developed their product offering into that of hotel amenities, lifestyle, and alcohol products giving opportunity to mirror the brand throughout the property. The inspiration behind all these products links directly back to The Walled Garden, with the intent to sustain the cycle and keep the garden going, whilst utilising the botanicals that are grown that go into all their products.
I had the chance to catch up with Karen Millar, the Sales Manager at Gordon Castle to find out more about projects that they have worked on and some of their most recent achievements. With the varied product offering at Gordon Castle in mind, I asked Karen what their current target market is, to which she explained that they have already supplied to some boutique hotels but that is certainly one of their main target markets. Also, the gifting and bath and body products mean that they also heavily target the retail market. One of the main reasons they’ve had such great success with the sale of their products with independent and boutique hotels is because their hotel amenity solutions add an element of luxury to the visitor experience whilst knowing that the profits are reinvested into the upkeep of the Walled Garden and its Scottish history.
Sustainability is at the base of everything that Gordon Castle does, which Karen made really evident as she said they ‘sow, grow, harvest and extract’ the fruits, flowers, botanicals, and the essential oils for all their produce on site at The Walled Garden. Not only this but they put a huge emphasis on social responsibility as they currently employ circa sixty employees and have also created job roles to enable them to utilise the back to work scheme to help support, develop and empower young people. As a business, they do as much as is possible to put back into the economy and even welcome volunteers to help maintain the garden.
The Chester in Aberdeen, No26 by the Sea in Oban, 24 Royal Terrace Georgian Townhouse with its very own art collection in Edinburgh, are some of the indulgent luxurious, boutique hotels that currently use a combination of Gordon Castle’s products, including their new bespoke engraved bottles to add the extra special touches and without doubt we will be seeing a number of hotels using their beautiful products in the near future.