Recently renovated and patiently awaiting its first guests, The Tower O’ Ess was finally able to make its debut into the self catering world on July 15th after its initial announcement earlier this year in the Spring. The epic Tower stands proud on the banks of the River Tanar in the Glen Tanar Estate, Aberdeenshire – just a short drive along from Aboyne in the Royal Deeside.

The Tower was originally built as an imposing entrance to the glen, designed and built between 1871-1873 by Sir William Cunliffe Brooks and the famous architect George Truefitt. Later on it was reimagined as an operational gatehouse by Lord Glentanar, Thomas Coats in 1918.

This historic listed tower has recently been transformed, and now serves as a completely unique, luxury self catering experience. The Tower is ideal for a romantic getaway, with couples looking to retreat to the countryside and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. It is equally ideal for couples who seek adventure and wish to retreat back to a luxury haven where they can spend the evenings in the hot tub enjoying the sounds of the River Tanar at the foot of the garden.
The sound of the river is a constant reminder to be close with nature and the importance of its calming powers, enjoying this with the windows open at night time is nothing short of heaven.

Good Morning

Enjoying a morning coffee in the fresh air while planning the day ahead. There is nothing quite like an alfresco breakfast while listening to the glorious sounds of nature.

Good Morning

Enjoying a morning coffee in the fresh air while planning the day ahead. There is nothing quite like an alfresco breakfast while listening to the glorious sounds of nature.

Upon arrival the interior is a complete surprise. Exploring the layout of where each room is situated throughout the tower while climbing the spiral staircase, kicks off your stay with the excitement of discovery. This is complemented with thoughtful details within each room and refreshing bursts of colour. 

The styling throughout the tower brings the outside in, taking inspiration from the pops of colour that nature graces the area with throughout the year. The original stained glass windows also deserve a mention and altogether combined this enhances the uniqueness of this accommodation.

Outside the Tower is surrounded by enchanting walks. You will find the start of the Fairy Lochan trail just across the bridge, where you will be treated to a path surrounded by beautiful nature and wildlife. This trail takes you to the Glen Tanar Visitor Centre which is the start of many more nature trails and walks to discover (this can also be accessed by car or foot further along the road into the estate).

Walking through the Glen Tanar Estate you will also find St Lesmo Chapel and the Glen Tanar Ballroom, where weddings take place throughout the year.

Getting there & Location

Tower O’ Ess is easily found at the entrance of the Glen Tanar Estate, which is less than 2 miles away from Aboyne village, making it easy to pop out for supplies or have a walk into the town centre to enjoy some of the local eateries and shops. Aboyne is in the Royal Deeside, which is where Aberdeenshire meets the Cairngorms National Park, approximately 26 miles west of Aberdeen City.


Navigating to The Tower O’Ess is made easy by using the three words app. This points to the exact entrance and is more accurate than any street address. Before you travel, download the free what3words app. Type in the 3-word address above, including the dots, to see the precise location. To navigate to the Tower O’Ess, tap the ‘Directions’ icon and select a navigation app. If you want to navigate offline, download Navmii or as well as an offline map of Glen Tanar.

The tower is approximately 55 minutes from Aberdeen, which is the nearest city. There is one large designated parking space outside the Tower O’Ess.


The number 201 bus from Aberdeen bus station will take you to Victory Hall in Aboyne, which is the closest bus stop to the Glen Tanar Estate. Approximately a 40 minute walk to The Tower O’Ess or a 5 minute drive.

The nearest train station to The Tower O’ Ess is Aberdeen train station on Guild Street, which is approximately 1 hour away.


The nearest airport to The Tower O’ Ess is Aberdeen airport, which is approximately 1 hour drive away.

Kick back and relax

After a day of exploring the estate and further afield its time to kick back and sink into the sofa with a tipple. The crackle of the roaring fire in the background is the perfect way to end the day.

Kick back and relax

After a day of exploring the estate and further afield its time to kick back and sink into the sofa with a tipple. The crackle of the roarinf fire in the background is the perfect way to end the day.

Let’s take a look inside

Without giving too much away with a step by step walkthrough, sharing some of the inside is a must to appreciate just how special this romantic retreat truly is. The Tower comprises a living area, bedroom, bathroom, rooftop views and a kitchen with access to the outdoor area, complete with hot tub.

The cosy living room has a wood burning stove complete with a unlimited supply of logs to enjoy many cosy evenings in front of the fire. Finished with trinkets, vibrant soft furnishings, books and board games and not to mention the gorgeous forest green velvet sofa to complete your relaxing night in. Throughout the Tower you will be treated to many works of art, and it’s hard not to favour the bold beauty that sits just above the fireplace. 

This masterpiece was created by local artist Stephanie Vandem and is called ‘Lifting 15’. Stephanie lives locally in Aboyne where the annual Highland Games and stone lifting competitions influenced her piece for the Tower O’Ess.

Continuing their support for local businesses the Tower O’Ess also provides guests with soap and shampoo bars by Thistle and Clay, who are also based in Aboyne. You could even take a walk or a short drive along to Mairi’s shop to buy a gift or treat yourself to a souvenir to remind you of your stay. There are also gorgeous mugs in the kitchen painted by Angus Grant who is a painter and craftsman, based in the Cairngorms National Park. His work features lochs, mountains and wildlife. Upon discovering the kitchen you will also find a box of treats left for you to enjoy throughout the duration of your stay, which includes edible delights from local business. 

This time around, the box included Esker gin, a family-run craft distillery on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire. Cocoa Ooze chocolate, a luxury chocolatier based in Aberdeen city and a jar of crafty pickle who make eco-friendly sauerkrauts and kimchis hand-crafted in Aberdeen.

On the second floor where the bathroom is situated you will find a separate toilet room. The larger of the two is decorated with the most gorgeous teal tiles that contrast the tiles on the floor, which again contrasts with the pops of vibrant colours used in the soft furnishings. The wow impact keeps on giving with the double ended slipper roll-top bath, quickly followed by the two large sink areas and the rainfall shower.

The best part about the bedroom is probably the most comfortable luxurious super king bed, which is exactly what you want after a day of exploring the area.

Having access to the roof is where you will find your very own secret spot for admiring the spectacular panoramic view that overlooks the ancient pine forest. This is where you can steal some time for yourself chilling out on the hammock.

Now let’s step outside

From the bright and airy kitchen you can access the garden with an outdoor seating area and hot tub. It’s fair to say that this is where most time was spent, with the most relaxing setting and sounds. Regardless of weather it was a joy to eat al fresco rain or shine, as the parasol on the table provided shelter from the showers of rain. From the garden you are able to explore your immediate surroundings, which most prominently is the River Tanar, where you can dip your toes, or if you are feeling brave a dip in the water to wake you up.

While admiring the Tower itself you will be able to spot a lot of the original features, including the original gatehouse pulley system.

There is also your very own dedicated parking space just outside the gates to the Tower on the side of the road.

In the area

Glen Tanar Estate Activities
On the estate, there are various activities and walking routes to choose from to satisfy your love of the outdoors. There are a number of walking routes and biking trails, as well as the option to book in a session at ‘The Lookout’.  A new wildlife hide nicknamed ‘The Lookout’ makes use of a traditional wooden cottage set on the edge of Glen Tanar’s towering Caledonian pine forest. From the comfort of ‘The Lookout’ you are able to view pine martens, badgers and you might just get a glimpse of a wildcat. 

Aboyne is the nearest village, which is just a stones throw away from Tower O’Ess. There is a friendly selection of local businesses in Aboyne where you can eat, drink and shop. Very handy for getting the shopping in for your self catering trip.

Potarch is a hamlet in Aberdeenshire, just 18 minutes away from Glen Tanar Estate. The Potarch bridge that crosses the River Dee is a popular location with toursists and day trippers who like to picnic here or dip there toes in the water on a lovely sunny day.

Eat & Drink

Kincardine O’Neil is a quaint village in Aberdeenshire situated between the towns of Banchory and Aboyne. So just about a 20 minute drive away from Glen Tanar.

Here you will also be able to discover a few gems in the way of a charming local crystal shop, Arra Textiles and Love Laura Lane, a delicious cake shop ran by Laura who now also served Stews N Drews Ice cream from Thursday – Sunday. Laura often sells bouquets of flowers from local florist Hays Florist.

Spider on a Bicycle is a local cafe in Aboyne with a focus on baking, serving savoury snacks and coffee. Also great for a spot of lunch with their salads and sandwiches changing daily. They make everything from scratch on site and are also very handy for supplying cupboard essentials such as local eggs, bread, jam and coffee.

The Boat Inn Aboyne, take a walk to the local, and enjoy a tipple or two with a pub lunch, or enjoy some dinner in the restaurant, cooked with local ingredients. The Boat Inn is everything you want a village pub to be! With their mantra proudly chalked on the board outside “Dogs, Kids and Muddy Boots Welcome!”

Douneside House is a little further away, but if staying for a few nights and fancy a dining experience in their conservatory then take a drive out to the North East’s only AA three rosette awarded restaurant. Enjoy their seasonal menu, created by their head chef who has access to an abundance of organic fruit and vegetables, which are grown in their own kitchen garden.

Further afield & Day trips

Burn O’ Vat
Just 10 minutes away you can park at the Burn O’ Vat Visitor Centre. Paths are available to the Burn `o Vat, onto Parkin’s Moss, around Loch Kinord, from Dinnet village and between Lochs Kinord and Davan.

This picturesque Victorian village is a short drive away (approx 25 minutes) sitting in the heart of majestic Royal Deeside . One of Scotland’s most scenic visitor spots, you will find many castles located close by, the most famous being Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of the Royal Family, described by Queen Victoria as ‘my dear paradise in the Highlands’. Other castles close by include Braemar Castle, Crathes Castle and Craigievar Castle.

Crathes Castle
Crathes Castle is located just over half an hour away, near Banchory. This 16th century castle stands against a backdrop of rolling hills and set within its own glorious gardens. Crathes Castle is every inch the classic Scottish tower house.

Drum Castle 
Just a little further along the road from Crathes Castle you will find Drum Castle, which is one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses. On the grounds you will find Drums exquisite chapel that was built in the 1500s.

Cambus O May Suspension Bridge

The suspension bridge at Cambus O’ May was built in 1905 to replace a ferry that helped passengers cross the River Dee just east of Ballater. The suspension bridge is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Victorian sites on Royal Deeside. Located around 17 minutes from the Glen Tanar Estate.

Deeside Gliding club
Set in the bank of the River Dee, Deeside Gliding Club deally placed to take full advantage of the surrounding Cairngorm Mountains to allow for some of the best gliding in Europe. If not taking part in the gliding, this is the perfect picnic spot to enjoy some lunch while watching the gliders go by.

Balmoral Cairns

Most of us have heard about Balmoral Castle and know that the Royal Family own it and visit it regularly for holidays. What is not so well known is that there is a really interesting woodland trail round the grounds of the Estate. This walk takes you past most of the impressive cairns that Queen Victoria had erected in honour of her family as well as a pyramid in honour of Albert who died at the age of 42.

Royal Lochnagar Distillery
This is the perfect starting point if you are visiting the Cairns. The car park is situated just 34 minutes away from the Glen Tanar Estate, and what better way to kick start your adventure than with a tour of the distillery that ends with a nip of their whisky. 


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