Restaurants for sale in Ballater

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S Martin (Feb 2013)
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Freehold Price: £649,000
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Business Description

The Auld Kirk is a most stunning detached property and can only be described as a rare opportunity for those looking to acquire a business with a unique character. A converted church, the building was changed into a hotel in c1983. This extraordinary building is spectacular in that it provides guests with an array of unparalleled experiences from its architectural exterior to the array of charming internal features providing exceptional comfort. In an easy to locate trading location, this well-signposted property provides a most recognisable brand. This tremendous building is also set within an area of world renowned natural beauty making The Auld Kirk an exceptional home and business opportunity.

The business generates a sound turnover but by choice operates just under the VAT level. Income is mainly generated from letting the seven quality en-suite letting bedrooms and superb guest facilities which include a characterful bar with decorative fire and tremendous restaurant offering an ambience seldom seen in such a property. Throughout the property it is evident that the current owners have invested heavily to ensure that they provide an experience of quality and comfort for their guests. From 2006 to 2013 the present owners operated The Auld Kirk as a high-end restaurant with rooms gaining many accolades for the quality of food and service on offer. It was their desire to focus on other interests that led to them closing the bar and restaurant to the general public and re-modelling the business. They now offer a high quality, year-round bed and breakfast and were finalists in the AA Friendliest Bed and Breakfast in the UK (2015). Their passion for the catering aspects of their business however means that from time to time they provide for small private functions. In addition, they offer an ‘exclusive use’ package for up to 15 guests who benefit from a fully catered stay. The business retains its license providing a limited bar service, opening in the early evening only.

The vendors have chosen to operate this wonderful business on a restricted basis to suit their personal lifestyle preferences. They restrict through choice the number of staying guests to retain trade under the VAT level, however, it is estimated that accommodation income alone could generate above £100,000 should new owners wish to trade the business to a higher level. In addition to this there is undoubted potential to reinstate the dining aspects of the business which in the past has generated high levels of income. The vendors would be content to show interested parties their historic trading figures. The present owners undertake their business activities with the support of a small but motivated team. It is the vendors desire to take on new and disparate challenges that brings this tremendous prospect to the market.

The Property:

The property is a former church which was renovated into a modern Hotel in c1983. This detached property was built in the mid-1800s and has been sensitively renovated providing a distinctive and high quality home and business opportunity. The accommodation aspects are set over two floors with a most spacious attic area which has tremendous character and potential for further development. Throughout the quality of décor is of an exemplary standard and the fixtures and fittings are reflective of the 4-Star grading’s. Of stone construction under a pitched slate roof, the property has a unique blend of characteristics.

Public Areas:

Entry to the Auld Kirk is well sign-posted and is gained through the steeple entrance with its solid double wooden doors which leads to a vestibule and thereafter into a spacious reception area where there is a pulpit fashioned reception desk. From the reception is a corridor that leads to the full length of the ground floor giving access to all areas. Immediately adjacent to the reception is an attractive and characterful bar and lounge area with stunning karndean floors and a decorative open fire place. The lounge is set to soft furnishings with occasional tables. This relaxing area can comfortably accommodate up to 20 guests. Across from the lounge area is the stunning restaurant which can seat up to 40 guests depending upon functionality. The restaurant has an atmosphere that is entirely in keeping with the history of the building but reflects the high standards of a modern catering facility. With its Normanesque windows and architecture allowing for the flow of natural light, this attractive area also benefits from an ambience generated by inspirational lighting and attractive artworks. The dining room is a sensational feature of this property and provides a wonderful back-drop from where to enjoy a delicious evening meal or breakfast. From the main corridor access is gained to ladies, gents and disabled washrooms.

Letting Bedrooms:

The 7 letting bedrooms are situated on the first floor to sleep 14 guests and are configured as follows:

Room 1 – Double en-suite with shower
Room 2 – King-size en-suite with shower
Room 3 – Superior double with en-suite with bath and shower plus Jack and Jill wash hand basins
Room 4 – Superior Twin (zip and link beds) with en-suite shower
Room 5 – Twin (zip and link beds) with en-suite shower
Room 6 – Single en-suite shower with feature round window
Room 7 – Family (king-size and single) en-suite with shower

All bedrooms are exceptionally well presented with outstanding décor and high quality furnishings. These spacious and well-equipped rooms come with TV, with radio, tea/coffee making facilities, hairdryer and iron and ironing board, etc.

Service Areas:

The commercial kitchen is professionally fitted-out with a wide range of excellent quality equipment. Fully meeting EHO standards, the kitchen is designed to cater to a high standard of cuisine. Off the kitchen is a pot-wash room. The business office is situated to the rear of the reception counter. There are numerous storage and housekeeping cupboards, plus a laundry on the ground floor.


An attractive feature of this property and business is the easy-to-maintain grounds which are mainly laid to gravel. There is outdoor seating area for up to 20 guests. To the rear of the subjects is a private yard, with a raised border. The front of the church is laid to gravel. The property enjoys off-road parking, with a car port to the rear, there is also significant on-road parking.

Development Potential:

There is an extensive attic area for which full planning was granted in October 2012, to convert to a two bedroomed flat. This could be used for owner’s accommodation which would release further letting accommodation on the ground floor, this has now expired but could be easily resubmitted. Plans were also drawn and submitted to covert the Auld Kirk to eight residential flats, this was also approved, however the owners withdrew this application and did not proceed. The plans and paperwork would be made available to prospective purchasers.


The property is on mains electricity and utilises mains drainage. Heating is electrical and LPG gas is used for range cooking only. The property is mainly double glazed. The building is fully fire compliant.


The business operates a license under the Licensing Scotland Act 2005 and a copy of this will be made available to interested parties post viewing.
Tenure: Freehold

Number of bedrooms: 1

Accommodation Details:

The owner’s accommodation provides a most comfortable and stylish home for the owners. Set to an open plan kitchen, dining area and lounge this living space is a modern and attractive feature of this sale. The kitchen is set with modern wall and floor storage units, an electric hob / oven and a fridge and separate freezer and sink. The dining area and spacious lounge are configured in an ‘L’ shape with an ornate fire place. The owners have a smart double en-suite shower-room with excellent mood lighting. This spacious and comfortable suite of rooms is situated on the ground floor providing for ease of response to customer needs and also benefits from a private access.

Location Details:

The Auld Kirk is located within the Royal Deeside village of Ballater which lies 42 miles West of Aberdeen amid beautiful countryside in the Cairngorms National Park and is within easy reach of Balmoral, the Scottish holiday home of the Royal family. This attractive and friendly town has many restaurants, cafes and shops, a number of which feature the Royal ’By Appointment’ coat of arms. The village has a primary school; secondary education is at Aboyne. Near-by Braemar, famous for its annual Highland Gathering, draws tourists from all over the world. Ballater has a population of circa 1500. The Auld Kirk is within a few minutes’ walk of the town centre. Aberdeen is the closest City with a full range of social and welfare amenities plus an international airport.

The area in general is a haven for the outdoor enthusiast with a wide and varied range of sporting activities. The region has excellent hill walking and to the south-west of Ballater is Loch Muick from where experienced walkers can head up the prominent mountain, Lochnagar. Ballater is the home of many challenging walks due to the abundance of Munros in the area. In addition there are the on/off road cycling facilities and the ski centres at Aviemore, Glenshee and the Lecht, all within a short travelling distance. For the fisherman, the River Dee is one of the most popular salmon rivers in Scotland and the River Don is famous for its trout. Deer stalking and grouse shooting can be rented in the locality. However, Ballater is a tremendous location from which to base oneself to see a wide area of the Highlands of Scotland whether visiting castles, distilleries or just taking in the unsurpassed scenery.

Is this business home based: Yes

Downloadable Documents

Listed by: ASG Commercial
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