DUMFRIES HOUSE: Prince Charles will be hoping the Valentine's Day dinner can boost its finances.
Dumfries House in East Ayrshire is hoping to attract "mature lovers" by throwing its doors open for a one-night-only dinner on Valentine's Day.
Dubbed "the ultimate in romantic evenings", the 40 tickets for the night of wining and dining – priced at £85 a pair – are expected to sell out rapidly.
The lucky few will be welcomed with a glass of bubbly in the house's entrance at 7pm before making their way to the great steward's dining room for a three-course meal followed by coffee and truffles.
Couples will also be given an insight into the great love affairs that have played out across the estate through the years during a light-hearted tour of the house.
The dining room is to be "lavishly dressed for the most romantic evening of the year" with guests invited to "share the love" with a complimentary bottle of Prosecco.
The 18th-century mansion – with its unique collection of Chippendale furniture – was saved for the nation in 2007 by the Prince of Wales under his title as the Great Steward of Scotland. Prince Charles headed up a consortium of charities and heritage bodies which paid £45 million to rescue the estate amid fears it would be sold to a private owner.
Kenneth Dunsmuir, administration and marketing co-ordinator for Dumfries House, said of the night: "We did it last year and it was very successful. I'm sure it will be sold out again.
"Last year people came not just as romantic couples but in tables of six and more. It probably appeals to the more mature lovers. It is not teenage boys taking their girlfriend out for a meal, I don't suppose. But we all have romance in us somewhere."
Mr Dunsmuir said the menu for the evening was yet to be set and revealed what can be expected on the exclusive tour of the house. He said: "Coming to Dumfries House at night is quite a different experience.
"It is not really a big academic, historical tour. It is big-hearted. I think some of the guys will impart stories from days gone past in its 18th and 19th-century history – of great love affairs and love found."
A boost to Dumfries House's finances will be welcome. Earlier this month it was reported the trust that runs the house made gross profits of less than £55,000 last year, down from £209,584 the year before.
A spokesman for the house said "We've always envisioned that charitable fundraising would support Dumfries House while capital expenditure and works are completed," pointing to projects such as the regeneration of a garden.
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