Following a three year restoration, the family-run rural estate of Newhall Mains on Scotland’s Black Isle peninsula launches next month as a collection of affordable-luxury cottages and sumptuous suites, each individually available.
The elegant 18thcentury former farm buildings are the only luxury holiday rental accommodation in the UK to have a private airfield, ideal for those who prefer to give public transport a miss. Situated close to the North Coast 500, Scotland’s answer to Route 66, and half an hour from Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, it is the perfect base from which to discover Cromarty Firth, Britain’s best location for viewing bottlenose dolphins.
While ‘Mains’ is an old Scottish word for the traditional agricultural buildings of a farm, Euan Ramsay, who runs and manages the family business, has ensured that Newhall Mains is geared to today’s traveller, with underfloor heating, a luxury food delivery service, Tesla charging points, fully equipped kitchens, a massive fire pit, and beautiful interiors with every home-from-home comfort. There is also no minimum stay and no deposit on booking.
THE COTTAGES & SUITES
Formerly derelict, Newhall Mains now offers sumptuous holiday accommodation for a total of 28 people across five individually-themed cottages and four double suites, all set around a classic quadrangle. Each property has been painstakingly restored by local craftsmen using traditional materials, stone, lime render, lead and slate, and the results are truly stunning. Bespoke furniture and furnishings, from natural sheep wool quilts to velvet sofas, are paired with bold patterned wallpaper and an eclectic paint palate. Even the rugs have been spun using the wool from the estate’s own flock of Jacob sheep.
The floor-to-ceiling windows of the cottages overlook either the lavender courtyard or the paddock of grazing sheep and after a day’s exploration the wood-burners provide a welcome glow. Guests staying in the cottages receive a welcome breakfast hamper bursting with local produce. They can also take advantage of the Meals at the Mains scheme, a partnership with a local chef who delivers to your door three course restaurant-quality meals using the best Scottish ingredients. In the warmer weather, guests can join a cookery session on the Argentine-inspired asado for a fire-cooked feast and unforgettable BBQ – its grill and fire pit having been hand-crafted by the local stonemason using leftover sandstone from the site.
Fringed by the Moray and Cromarty Firths, this is an area of the Highlands that feels more Lowland in character. Discover the powerful Falls of Shin, one of the best places to see salmon leaping upstream. Moray Firth abounds with bottlenose dolphins and these can be viewed from a custom-built wildlife watching boat or directly from Chanonry Point, where the tide-race gap is just half a mile wide. In winter, huge numbers of wildfowl and waders congregate to feed in nearby Udale Bay. Look out for skeins of pink-footed geese making their way up north while, from late September to March, over 10,000 geese pass through, often assembling in Newhall Mains’ own fields.
Within a 45-minute drive of Newhall Mains are some of the best malt whisky distilleries where guests can learn about the intricacies of its production, from the Angel’s Share to the Quaich. For golfers, there are several great courses within easy reach, including Dornoch, the championship course, rated 13th in the world, which is one of the country’s classic links courses.
One of Newhall Mains’ biggest ‘wow’ factors is the private airfield that runs beside the property, unique for a UK luxury holiday accommodation provider. 630m in length, the landing strip allows guests to fly in for their holiday on a privately-chartered or privately-owned light aircraft or be transferred from Inverness airport in style. Newhall Mains can also arrange a tailor-made scenic flight over the Highlands in partnership with the local flight school.
Price: A low-season stay at Newhall Mains (newhall-mains.com / 01381 632032) costs from £95 per night in a double suite, rising to £250 per night in the three-bedroom cottage. Cottage guests all receive a welcome hamper. Continental breakfast costs £15pp and there’s an à la carte option too. Free cancellations are available up to 48 hours before arrival.
In 2021, Newhall Mains will be introducing a selection of packages calling on their enviable contacts list of local suppliers to provide hassle-free holidays for adventurers, wildlife-enthusiasts and epicureans alike. Thanks to the courtyard and converted events space, an exclusive hire package for weddings and private celebrations is available, catering for up to 120 people.
Getting There: Inverness, with its airport and railway station for the Caledonian Sleeper service from London Euston, is less than 30 minutes’ drive from Newhall Mains.