IT has already had starring roles in Outlander, Mrs Brown and Monarch of the Glen and takes centre stage in the new season of The Crown.

Ardverikie House welcomed acting royalty Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter on site to film the fourth instalment of the glossy Netflix blockbuster, as well as newcomer Emma Corrin, who is wowing the critics with her portrayal of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The owners of the 19th-century Gothic castle in Newtonmore, near Aviemore, are hopeful that in time the estate will benefit from the same “Outlander effect” that has seen visitor numbers soar at locations used in the time-travelling drama.

HeraldScotland:

However those who run Ardverikie say that while the lavish cinematography of The Crown has helped generated “a lot of interest” it has not yet translated into bookings for next year, given the continuing pandemic.

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Estate manager Phil Lloyd is remaining optimistic, but believes that they will struggle to attract international visitors next year.

He said: “With something like The Crown, obviously that has a big international penetration but I don’t think it will be enough to counter what’s happening.

HeraldScotland:

“Really at the moment, like everyone in the sector, we are struggling with messaging and restrictions and where we go.

I do think we will struggle to attract international visitors next year.

“We are very strictly enforcing the regulations in terms of visiting customers. So for example, there is no one here at the moment, we are not accepting anyone from Tier 3 areas because we feel it is very important to send that message out.

“Unfortunately the flip side of that is the huge impact but we are hoping that with the good news of the vaccine and if the Government could be persuaded to relax the restrictions in the New Year then that will help us a great deal.

HeraldScotland:

“But I do think we will struggle to attract international visitors next year.

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“There is certainly a lot of interest but at the moment it doesn’t translate into anything concrete, mainly because of the unknowns but it’s an inevitable consequence of where we are.

"We have a very positive outlook though, and we are confident as long as the Government don’t leave restrictions in place for as long as is strictly necessary. That’s going to be the key factor for us.”

HeraldScotland:

Ardverikie Castle has remained largely untouched  since it was built in the 19th century as a traditional Highland sporting estate, which continues today. 

The castle is predominantly a private family home, but it is also used for corporate events, weddings, filming and occasional community events. The estate boasts a clutch of luxury holiday cottages.

Mr Lloyd said: “We are delighted about the cinematography (in The Crown). The castle looks very beautiful on screen. It’s nice for everyone to see how fortunate we are to live and work in such a beautiful place.

“We still get a lot of interest on the back of Monarch of the Glen and during lockdown people were showing it to their children and we have actually had a lot of inquiries from children who have seen it for the first time and are very keen to visit. So that’s been a very charming thing happen.”

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Other areas of Scotland used in this season of The Crown include Rothiemurchus Estate, in the Cairngorms National Park, which has been managed by the Grey family for more than 500 years.

HeraldScotland:

No-one was available to discuss bookings but a holiday cottage, which was recently refurbished by Harrods interior designer Fanny Ward, but accommodation was still available for the majority of January and forthcoming months.

Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “The Crown is a global phenomenon with huge reach and in a normal context such impacts might be expected.

"However, travel restrictions, the collapse of international visitation and genuine anxiety amongst consumers is likely to minimise these positive economic impacts.”