Inside Affric Lodge, the 10,000 acre Scottish estate which hosts Vogue Williams' most important family moments
There are some things that can encapsulate a certain type of old money grandeur.
Glen Affric Estate, the 10,000 acre property located in the Scottish Highlands, is one of those things.
The estate was purchased by David Matthews, patriarch of the Matthews family, in 2008, and is now the go-to estate for his famous children and their partners, including James and Pippa Middleton and Spencer Matthews and Vogue Williams.
Vogue and Spencer exchanged vows lakeside in front of just a few guests, ensuring complete privacy for the occasion and eliminated the need to jeopardise their Hello! Magazine deal. Last weekend, the RTE presenter revealed that they christened their son Theodore (10 months) and this time, they celebrated in an entirely private manner, sharing just two select images on social media from his big day.
It’s no surprise they returned to their wedding spot as the remote location offers the utmost privacy with spectacular lakeside views and just 20 minutes from Loch Ness.
The historic lodge, which dates back to the 19th century, boasts eight bedrooms and five bathrooms, while the adjoining Stable Cottage has three bedrooms of its own. When they’re not residing there, the Matthews’ have it available for hire on the luxury rental market, costing €17,000 per night for a maximum group of 20 people.
It was built between 1860 and 1872 and retains several original Victorian properties, albeit with modernised upgrades. Guests can get a taste of the aristocratic lifestyle with an array of outdoor activities, including horse riding, hiking and bird watching, as well as spa and beauty treatments available on-site.
Whiskey tasting sessions are the practice du jour, as is fishing. Visitors are encouraged to start their day with a dip in the Loch or a meal by the resident chef.
An added bonus is the potential for an exceptionally well-connected tour guide in the form of James Middleton, Kate’s younger brother, who became a host tour guide at Glen Affric Estate last year.
"The countryside has always been a big part of my life. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t passionate about the countryside’s beauty and fresh, clean air," he said in an interview for the property's managers at the Oteker Collection. "Spending quality time with friends and family amid glorious surroundings is one of the biggest pleasures that life can offer.
"It gives you the chance to relax, let go and spend uninterrupted time making magical memories with the ones you love.
The fact that James is spending more time at the property would also explain his burgeoning friendship with Spencer, adding to an already strong friendship. Spencer and his brother James are famously close and the Matthews-Middleton clan have become one big happy family thanks to Pippa.
And James is so close to Vogue and Spencer that they named him godfather to their son.
David said he experienced a Eureka moment when he first saw the property 30 years ago, similar to his gut instinct when he visited Eden Rock, the plush five star hotel he owns in St Barth’s.
"The standards will be as stratospheric as in St Barth's with the same your-wish-is-my-command butler service. We have taken our time making the place ready, to be sure we have it perfectly right,” he previously said.