News. Functions and events at Dumfries House
23rd of July, 2019
The dramatic renaissance of Dumfries House and estate is a remarkable story. Since HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay acquired the property in 2007, the house has been restored to its former glory, showcasing all the tenets of John and Robert Adam’s 18th-century neoclassicist architecture and housing a stunning collection of original Chippendale furniture. All of which makes it the perfect place to host events.
“We do everything that a hotel would typically do – conferences, weddings, meetings, dinners, christenings…” says Louis MacCallum, Director of Commercial at the Prince’s Foundation. “But the difference is that we’re set in 2,000 acres of lovely gardens, which is a big selling point for people coming to the estate.” Louis has overseen some memorable events in his role and is currently organising a four-day wedding with all of the guests flying over from America, evidence of Dumfries House’s global appeal. “Although most of our weddings are from Scotland and the UK, we’ve also got several Chinese and American weddings this year. The major draw is that it’s a stately home and it’s yours for the day.”
Wedding ceremonies are typically held in the fully licensed Tapestry Room – complete with Flemish textiles, cedar-panelled walls and a marble fireplace – before celebrations continue in the Entrance Hall, with guests welcome to stroll around the gardens and fountain at the front of the House before dinner and dancing in the pavilion, which can cater for up to 280 people. According to Louis, what makes weddings at Dumfries House stand out is the fact that you get sole use of the property. “We only do one wedding per week to make it feel special,” he says. “We’re fully booked for this year and next so the demand is huge.”
Throughout the house and estate there are other venues available to hire for meetings, conferences and private dinners. As well as a choice of private rooms throughout the house, the Walled Garden and Pavilion can be hired for afternoon tea or lunch – a popular option in warm weather – as well as the Woodlands Restaurant. “Nearly all of the events we hold will see everyone arrive at the front steps, which are very grand,” says Louis. "Guests enter the front hall and most of them will have a guided tour of all the rooms in the house before ending up in the room that they’ve hired, whether that’s the Library, the Great Steward’s Dining Room or – or really special occasions – the Pink Dining Room. We try to give everyone the history and make sure they have the full experience.”
Another major draw of choosing Dumfries House for events is the calibre of the cuisine, with its on-site garden recently winning organic certification and providing a great deal of what goes on the table. “We grow most of our veg on site in the walled garden and we have local farmers right next door to the estate who supply our meat ” says Louis. “Where possible, everything is locally sourced – it’s all about giving back to the community.
Words: Ben Olsen
Photography: Simon Brown, Craig and Eva Sanders