Douneside House

“Opulent cooking at a historic family estate” - AA Inspector



Official Rating
Inspected by
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  •   Social distancing and safety measures in place
  •   Follows government and industry guidelines for COVID-19
  •   Signed up to the AA COVID Confident Charter
Opening status: Soft/partially open
Our COVID-19 measures:
Full PPE has been provided to our housekeeping team, including face masks, visors, disposable gloves and aprons. Under strict supervision, our housekeeping manager is applying Ramsol biocidal disinfectant on departure to all soft furnishings within our accommodation on a controlled rotation to ensure all areas are covered. In terms of our bar operation, as everything is happening outside, and socially distanced, we believe this to be the best way to mitigate the risk of any coronavirus transmission. This is also the case with our meal delivery service to external accommodation.

Our Inspector's view

Initially bought as a holiday home by the MacRobert family in the 1880s, Douneside was creatively enhanced with a crenellated tower and extra rooms, and presents a pleasingly asymmetrical façade to the world. The family trust still oversees the running of the place, from its excellent gardens to the fully equipped spa hotel. Completing the picture is a dynamic kitchen supplied by an industrious kitchen garden, fish from the Peterhead boats, and meat from a local butcher with a royal warrant. Matt Price combines forward-looking culinary thinking with plenty of old-school opulence on menus that might open with new season asparagus and truffle mousse, with a salad of raw and pickled vegetables and aged parmesan. Move on to loin and belly of Fife pork, or seared fillet of halibut, before finishing triumphantly with rhubarb bavarois with vanilla custard, ginger ale and rhubarb sorbet. There’s a five-course tasting menu too, available Thursday to Saturday.

Awards, accolades and Welcome Schemes

3 Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence
Douneside House
Tarland, ABOYNE, AB34 4UL
Phone : 013398 81230


  • Seats: 40
  • Private dining available
  • On-site parking available
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2
  • Dinner served from: 7
  • Dinner served until: 9
Food and Drink
  • Wines under £30: 24
  • Wines over £30:
  • Wines by the glass: 9
  • Cuisine style: Classic

About the area

Discover Aberdeenshire

Visitors to Aberdeenshire with any kind of interest in history are in for a treat. There are more castles to the acre in Aberdeenshire than anywhere else in Britain. They range from evocative ruins to lonely tower houses, from well-kept baronial strongholds to royal palaces. Four notable castles worth factoring into your itinerary are Dunnottar, Fyvie, Huntly and Tolquhon.

At Buchan Ness you’ll find yourself at the easternmost point of Scotland. From here you can follow the coast further down this stunning north-east shoulder of Scotland south to Peterhead, once an important whaling community. Beyond it is Aberdeen, where the eastern spur of the Grampians gives way to the North Sea, and two famous salmon rivers, the Don and the Dee, reach the end of their spectacular journey. 

Heading west out of Scotland’s granite city, you are soon in a magical world of heather moorland, rolling hills and densely wooded valleys, cut by meandering rivers and picturesque lochs. It is here that you can discover the staggering number of castles and ancient strongholds. However, it’s not all palaces and ruins. Bottlenose dolphins are an everyday sight in the Moray Firth and off the Aberdeenshire coast so grab your binoculars and head to the shores.

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