After 82 years as a boarding house, Gordonstoun's lease on Duffus House formally came to an end in May 2017. The house has been home to many boys and teachers over the decades and is sure to be remembered fondly.
For several years now, we have been working behind the scenes deliberating how best to give Duffus House a new lease of life. My father-in-law, the late Sir Archie, had been the last surviving family member to have known the building as a family home. He explained to us what each room had been used for, including who had used each bedroom. We also have a handful of old photographs of the inside of the house when it was still a family home and also of the surrounding formal gardens and fields. The knowledge that we were only one generation away from when it was still a family house resonated with us. We really wanted to create an exciting future for the building rather than just turn it into flats. Many people have asked why we do n't just move back into Duffus House ourselves. However temping that might be, that was never going to be a serious option! It does need to pay for itself after all.
After exploring many different options through an illuminating options appraisal and feasibility study, we finally narrowed down our ideas. We have put in for planning permission for a café and retail area downstairs with further holiday accommodation upstairs (self-catering apartments and B&B suites) which will complement our existing holiday accommodation offered on the Estate. There will also be children’s play outside as well as trails and walks around the Duffus House grounds. We envisage Duffus House being a ‘hub’ on the Estate where guests and members of the public can come and make use of the facilities, have a walk around the grounds, enjoy a cup of coffee or perhaps a spot of lunch and a browse in the shop.
Another exciting development is that Earthtime, a local charity, will be moving its headquarters to a wing of Duffus House. The Estate is already the venue for Earthtime’s outdoor nursery and soon it will become a base for their forest school activities too.
We are very excited for what the future holds for Duffus House and the Estate and will endeavour to keep our website updated as our plans become reality.