The hidden story behind the Highland castle hosting The Traitors

The hit TV show has showcased the 19th century Highlands castle and its expansive grounds.

The story behind Ardross Castle, the set of The Traitors as the show’s final airs on BBC 1 BBC/ Studio Lambert Associates/ Mark Mainz

Millions have been glued to their television screens over the past four weeks to watch 22 strangers take part in the gripping, psychological game The Traitors.

However, while the dynamic contestants and cliff-hanger endings have kept viewers guessing, the star of the BBC reality series is undoubtedly the stunning Scottish Highlands castle where the drama unfolds.

Hidden on a private estate in Ross-shire, Ardross Castle has become one of the most talked-about locations in Scotland in recent weeks.

The magnificent 19th century castle sits within formal gardens and over 100 acres of parkland on the banks of the River Alness.

Ardross Castle was built in the 19th century after the estate was bought in the 1700s.Ardross Castle

It was largely built in the 1840s on the site of a hunting lodge, after the land was bought by the 1st Duke of Sutherland in the late 1700s.

The estate was then sold to Alexander Matheson, a merchant banker, in 1845.

Matheson, who made his fortune from trading tea and opium, paid around £90,000 for the estate, which he then developed, by commissioning of architect Alexander Ross, in the Scots Baronial style, adding around 30 extra rooms and 700 acres ‘of pleasure grounds’.

Modernisation of the castle took place through the years including the addition of electricity.

After changing hands through the decades, the estate was sold to current owners the McTaggart family in 1983 and has since been extensively renovated.

Today the castle remains privately owned and is a luxury, large-scale event venue, popular for weddings and ceilidhs with up to 120 guests.

Ardross Castle National Library of Scotland

A number of rooms are available to rent including the Great Hall, Monasterial Room, the Morning Room and the Drawing Room.

The grounds of the castle also offer opportunity for a range of activities including a GPS Treasure Quest as well as a range of country sports.

However, The Traitors has put the castle firmly on the map as a famous landmark.

The show sees contestants battle against one and other to discover who is a faithful and who is not in a bid to win up to £120,000.

Contestants take part in a series of gruelling and psychologically challenging tasks to build up the prize fund and vote to banish their fellow teammates, but have to try and avoid being murdered by the secret traitors among them.

The nail-biting final episode will air on Thursday evening on BBC 1.

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