Charles plans new wedding venue at historic Dumfries House

Dumfries House was formerly owned by the Marquess of Bute
Dumfries House was formerly owned by the Marquess of Bute
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He is set to look on as his youngest son walks down the aisle this weekend, but according to plans being spearheaded by Prince Charles at his Scottish stately home, the wedding season is only just beginning.

Architects working for the heir to the throne’s charity have submitted plans to build a luxury wedding venue in the grounds of Dumfries House.

The state-of-the-art facility at the estate, near Cumnock in East Ayrshire, will allow parties of up to 200 guests to attend weddings of the “highest quality”.

Documents lodged with the local planning authority propose an oak pavilion, clad in larch and cedar shingles, designed to complement the nearby A listed mansion house, designed by Robert Adam.

Weddings are currently held at the estate, where its Tapestry Room is licensed for ceremonies hosting up to 120 guests. However, the main celebrations take place in temporary marquee erected next to the main house.

However, the tent is thought to detract from the character of Dumfries House. Instead, the new venue will be built in surrounding woodland, with a walled garden built next to it.

Charles led a consortium of charities and the Scottish Government to save Dumfries House and its collection of rare Chippendale furniture in 2007. The deal cost £45 million, his own charitable foundation contributing £20m.

The 18th century property had been put up for sale by its former owner, the aristocrat and former F1 racing driver Johnny Dumfries. It opened to the public in the summer of 2008 following intensive restoration work.

With the Prince’s Foundation intent on maximising commercial opportunities at the historic venue, a decision on the planning application for the pavilion will come before East Ayrshire Council next month. It is hoped the facility will open to its first wedding guests by 2020.

In a design statement compiled by the Dumfries-base Dovecot Architecture and Design, the importance of the new venue to the Dumfries House venture is made clear.

“Event hosting is vitally important to the survival of all that goes on within Dumfries House estate and farther afield,” it states.

“Income generated by wedding and corporate event hosting is essential to the day to day running of the estate and the wide range of educational programmes that run throughout the year.”

Charles is also bidding to create a haven for red squirrels in the grounds of the estate.

It will also be turned into a visitor attraction with raised walkways built around the squirrels’ habitat for the public to view them.

Charles, patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, has previously spoken of his love of the animals and is keen to ensure their survival.

Princes Charles recently merged four of his charities focusing on culture, heritage, built environment and community education into one foundation based at Dumfries House.