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Luxury guest house to be built at Queen Mother’s Highland castle

A luxury guest house is to be created on the grounds of the Queen Mother’s Castle of Mey as plans for ten en suite visitor rooms have been approved by local authority officials.

Under the current plan, the old granary building, locating 500ft to the north-east of the castle would be converted into guest bedrooms. The building dates back to the 17th century. A new building is proposed to house the reception and service area, and a car park would need to be created.

The Queen Mother bought the castle, including the granary, in 1952 while in mourning for her husband, King George VI. It was then known as Barrogill Castle. Under her watch, it was renovated and restored for use as a holiday home. She was a regular visitor during the months of August and October from 1955 until her death. She last visited the Castle of Mey in October 2001. The castle is open to the public from 1 May until 30 September every year, with a closed period of ten days in between. Her grandson, Prince Charles, is president of the trust that runs the castle and he also stays there every August with his wife.

Last year, the castle recorded a total of 21,611 visitors, up from 18,768 in 2015.

A supporting statement lodged with the plans said: “The Castle of Mey Trust has been investigating diversification opportunities, in an effort to provide a broader visitor offering and facilities that will help generate higher levels of income.

“It is hoped that a range of proposals will help preserve this important heritage site for generations to come.

“The granary plays a significant role in those diversification plans. The provision of high-quality visitor accommodation on site is seen as key to the success of various strands of the Castle of Mey business.

“The granary provides an obvious conversion opportunity that can be achieved sensitively and provide the level of accommodation that is required.”

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