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  1. Blog
  2. Inside the UK’s most ‘Traitorous’ Castle
Research & Insights
29 January 2024

Inside the UK’s most ‘Traitorous’ Castle

Kimberley Taylor
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. The history of Ardross Castle
  2. 2. Who has lived in Ardross Castle?
  3. 3. Can you stay at Ardross Castle?

The Traitors is Britain’s hottest new reality competition, where a group of twenty strangers come together for the investigation of their life: to find and stop the Traitors from stealing the ultimate prize pot! It’s a show full of mind-games, backstabbing and trust, and its second series proves to be gripping the nation once again.

And the setting of this treacherous game makes it all the more entertaining: a beautiful castle in the Scottish highlands. In fact, enquiries about this castle have shot up since the show first aired in 2022.

CEO and founder of GetAgent, Colby Short, said ‘it’s really interesting to see how shows like this spark curiosity about property value and history - even when the shows themselves aren’t about property. We’ve seen it with popular series like ‘You’ and ‘Bridgerton’ - there’s no doubt that pop culture has an impact on the market. I’ll be interested to see how the caste’s value increases as the show continues to grow in popularity.’

So let’s take a look inside the most Traitor-ous castle in Britain: does its history live up to its reputation?

The history of Ardross Castle

Ardross Castle is a 19th century castle located in the beautiful Scottish highlands in Ross-shire, near Inverness. Designed in Scottish Baronial style, it’s set on the banks of the River Alness and built within breathtaking landscaped gardens in over 100 acres of parkland.

But here comes the first traitor-ous revelation: Ardross Castle isn’t even a castle at all! In fact, it wasn’t built for defensive purposes, and it wasn’t even medieval in origin. It was actually built in the late 1700s by George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland, who fancied himself a new hunting lodge. And not only that - he wasn’t even Scottish!

Who has lived in Ardross Castle?

Ardross Castle’s first owner, the Duke of Sutherland, was an Englishman who gained his wealth from the Highland Clearances, where poor Scottish families were forced off the land in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

It was then purchased in 1845 by a man named Alexander Matheson for £90,000, who found money and wealth from the opium trade (the treachery continues!). £90,000 for a castle with hundreds of acres of land might not seem like much today, but in the 1800s, that purchase price was equivalent to just under £14,000,000!

If you’re interested in knowing the value of your property, use our Online Valuation Tool today. Or for a complete insight into your property, our brand new HouseWorth Tool is up and running for curious property owners thinking about selling.

Embellishing the Duke’s initial leisure lodge vision, he replaced it with the Baronial sandstone edifice that the British public has come to recognise on television today. He also added not ten, not twenty, but THIRTY more rooms, as well as landscaped 700 acres of ‘pleasure grounds’.

Following the reign of Matheson was C. W. Dyson Perrins, son of the famous Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce company, and plenty of money to spend on castles (or non-castles!). He decided to take the castle back to its original roots and use it for hunting retreats once more. He also modernised the building with electricity, even more land, and a beautiful formal garden designed by landscape gardener, Edward White!

The estate was then broken up and sold in 1937, before being bought by Mr & Mrs Austin Mardon, who lived there until 1983.

The McTaggart family then bought the estate and started making restorations, both to the garden and the castle itself until it became the beautiful building we’ve come to know and love.

Can you stay at Ardross Castle?

Alas, the castle is not open to the public, so if you’re thinking about a romantic weekend getaway to Ardross Castle, you may have to rethink your options.

It is, however, available to hire exclusively for big private or corporate events. So if you’re in the market for a wonderful wedding venue or a work Christmas party to remember, and you have the money to spare, this beautiful space is definitely worth considering!

Or, if you’re willing to backstab and betray your fellow peers, it might be worth it to get an overnight stay in the UK's most traitor-ous castle…

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