House of Bruar at Luxury Scotland

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Spend A Day At The House Of Bruar

by Viv Devlin

If you were asked what was the most popular visitor attraction in Scotland, you might suggest, Edinburgh Castle, the National Gallery or Royal Yacht Britannia but you might not think of a country clothing store in rural Perthshire.

First opened in 1995, the House of Bruar - located on the A9 near Blair Atholl, 10 miles north of Pitlochry - welcomes more than one million visitors through the door every year. Added to that it runs an extensive worldwide mail order business and online shopping. It’s a wonderful, inspiring story about the single handed vision by an entrepreneurial family company. What began as a small quality clothes and food shop, has developed into a major, luxury Scottish brand name which can be compared with other eminent retail names such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

This is the House that Mark built …

The House of Bruar founder is Mark Birkbeck, originally from Kirby Lonsdale, Yorkshire where he and his wife Linda had great business success during the 1980s with their retail empire, Jumpers - 130 shops and sales of £100m. With a love of Scotland and fishing in the Highlands, Birkbeck decided to sell up and move north with the "hankering for a shop I could indulge myself in".

    

Since opening in 1995, visitor numbers have grown and grown and the store has expanded with twelve extensions attractively built around a courtyard, now featuring restaurant, food hall, country clothing, women’s and men’s fashions, country living department and art gallery. Further expansion is planned for the near future to create a larger food hall – quadruple the current space - with extended clothing and cashmere departments. Today it continues to be an independent family business run personally by Mark as Chairman, his wife Linda, son Patrick (Managing director) and his wife Sophie who manages the gallery. With Oliver Platts as Retail Manager, they employ around 200 people mainly local residents which is a serious boon to the area for work opportunities.

    

The House of Bruar Brand

From the original concept, Mark and Linda had a clear vision to stock quality clothing, fine food and gifts. They saw a unique gap in the market to sell an aspirational, aristocratic country lifestyle for everyone – classic tweed, cashmere and lambswool are always in vogue. This Emporium simply sells the world’s best luxury brand clothing, luggage, accessories, homeware, food and drink.

The Gentleman’s department is designed like a country lodge, with log fire, sporting prints, leather sofas and antique furniture which makes browsing a pleasure in itself. The Casual menswear section includes an extensive range of quality House of Bruar Tattersal checked shirts (made to Jermyn Street, London standard), Aquascutum, Viyella, Hackett, Crew and Oxford shirts, as well as beautiful Johnston of Elgin lambswool sweaters; For trousers, a choice of moleskin, chinos and own brand heavyweight cotton cords in no less than 13 colours. The central hall houses classic British tailoring, cashmere jackets, wool tartan trousers and Crocket and Jones hand made leather shoes. Move on to browse around the display of tweed breeches, shooting coats, caps, and quality outdoor clothing by Barbour, Orvis, Mackintosh, Musto and Rascher, to name just a few labels, from wax jackets to Wellington boots.


Women will also love this treasure house of clothing and accessories spread across several rooms, featuring both day and evening wear, and upstairs an entire minstrel’s gallery of shoes and gorgeous handbags from Mulberry, Radley and Gabor. All the tweed country clothes are designed in house –for a unique range of jackets, coats, skirts and trousers. You’ll find Liberty blouses, moleskin jeans and (very popular) cotton roll necks as well as elegant tartan silk skirts, velvet trousers and fashion wear by Basler, Betty Barclay and Marcona.

House of Bruar has a separate cashmere and knitwear department, the largest in the UK, if not Europe!. Pure Scottish cashmere is renowned as the finest in the world and here you will find garments for men and women in every style, pattern and colour. In addition the softest lambswool and silk/cashmere knitwear, ideal for every day occasions when the weather is cool, on the golf course, a cruise and especially when on a sporting or leisure holiday in Scotland.

    

 

Country Living

Located in its own building, there’s a complete department featuring everything you could want for the home and garden. The design setting is like a country house, wander in and out of the different rooms, from children’s den, kitchen, dining room to bathroom. This is a fabulous display of porcelain, pottery, glassware, cookery utensils, towels, children’s toys, clothes and books, lamps, home decoration, candles, garden accessories and essential luxuries to pamper your dog - it’s all here under one roof.

    

 



    

The Food Hall

Just like pure cashmere, quality Scottish food and drink – fish, seafood, meat, game, fruit, cheese, shortbread, preserves, honey, whisky and gin – is regarded as the best in the world. The House of Bruar food hall is one of the focal points - so popular that development is in place to quadruple the size.  If you are travelling north to stay in a self catering country house, you can purchase all your food and drink here in this luxury supermarket. The emphasis is on fresh, quality and organic produce sourced locally, across Scotland and the British Isles: bread from local Dunkeld bakery, Carse of Gowrie berries, seasonal asparagus, Orkney crab, Highland venison and speciality Foie Gras, Confit du canard, Terrines and Cassoulet from Clos du Marquis, Hampshire.  Everything you would need for your Highland dinner party with family and friends.  

As well as stocking well known brands such as Inverawe smoked salmon, Walkers shortbread, Brodies tea and Blackwood gin, there are now dozens of own brand products featuring the prestigious House of Bruar label. Who could resist buying the artistically labelled bottles of H of B French wines and Champagne!  These make perfect gifts and luxury hampers of House of Bruar brand food and drink produce can be ordered throughout the year. 

If I may paraphrase, this is not just food, this is H of B food.! 


      


   

The Restaurant

As many visitors will have travelled quite a distance before stopping off at House of Bruar, the self service Restaurant has been designed to cater for 350 diners, serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, tea and scones all day till 6pm. The country kitchen style features pine tables and chairs, and traditional green and white tablecloths. Additional seating for 72 is in the Rod and Reel Restaurant, decorated with a strong fish and fishing theme. As you can imagine the menu and quality of food is superb. Home made soup, steak and ale pie, roast pork and lamb from the Carvery, freshly sliced smoked salmon, crab and oysters, salad bar and sandwiches as well as a choice of H of B label wine. With outdoor patio tables for al fresco dining, this is a charming place for a hearty Scottish meal whenever you are driving up or down the A9.


The Art Gallery

A fairly new addition to the emporium is the Gallery, featuring the most comprehensive and important collection of contemporary Scottish/ British rural landscapes, seascapes, animal, bird and wildlife prints and paintings, glass, craftwork and sculpture ever exhibited in Scotland. If you cannot visit in person, images from the current art exhibition can be viewed and purchased on line, then shipped to your home.

The Falls of Bruar

When visiting the House of Bruar, take time for a stroll nearby to see this spectacular series of pools and waterfalls, where the Bruar Water river cuts a dramatic gorge through the rugged and forested landscape.

    

What do the visitors say?

“It has long been my intention to visit The House Of Bruar near Blair Atholl, Perthshire and today I finally did. The weather was hot and sunny and Perthshire was looking its best. On our arrival we were both hungry so quickly availed ourselves of a hot lunch - steak and ale pie with potatoes and vegetables. The food was excellent. We ate outside under the cover of an awning and in view of the river. After lunch we wandered round the many and varied shops - everything was of the highest quality. I encourage anyone to visit The House of Bruar.”

“ This is Perthshire’s Harrods. All you shoppaholics, this is the place to go. I visit here at least 4 times a year. They have an excellent restaurant and wow! - the country living section would take your breath away. The problem is you are spoilt for choice with all the lovely things on display. Even our dog has House of Bruar objects. They certainly stock things you would only see in high retail outlets. They are not expensive. Ideal for your friends for gifts that are different. Looking forward to returning again in September”.

      

The Verdict

So there you have it! The House of Bruar is, as they market themselves, undoubtedly the Home of Country Clothing, as well as a world class luxury Emporium for food, gifts, homeware and rural art - altogether a 6 star visitor attraction to spend the day with family and friends.

Further details: www.luxuryscotland.co.uk/bruar

The House of Bruar
Perthshire
Scotland
PH18 5TW

Tel: +44 1796 483236

www.houseofbruar.com
mailorder@houseofbruar.com


Luxury Scotland
Tel: +44(0)1786 821 860 
Fax: +44 (0)1383 825 700
E: dorothy@luxuryscotland.co.uk

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