Ex-sheep shed transformed into luxury wedding and events venue

A former sheep shed on a farm just outside Edinburgh has been transformed into a luxury wedding and event venue following a £1.9 million investment.

The new venue, Cairns Farm Estate, sits on the shores of Harperrig reservoir within the Pentland Hills Regional Park. It has been developed through a partnership between the Hamilton family and venue management and event catering company Hickory.

Cairns Farm Estate is set to host its first wedding on 22nd May and already has a diary full of bookings stretching into 2022. The 1200-acre country estate and hill farm is located near Kirknewton and has been in the Hamilton family since 1869.

Caroline and Graham Hamilton have led the project with their children taking on individual roles to match their own skills; Joanna as an interior designer, younger son Bobby assisting with finance and funding, and Alistair as project manager and joiner.

Working with Chris Duncan of Mill Architects, local contractors and craftspeople, the Hamiltons developed a multi-use wedding and event venue said to reflects its agricultural roots.

The main venue is built around sheds that were once home to cattle over the winter and sheep during lambing season. Now it is a modern space with capacity for up to 180 guests and includes a ceremony room, main function room, bar, breakout areas, and kitchens.

Throughout the building, there are references to its agricultural heritage and an ethos of sustainability through the repurposing of materials found on the estate or sourced locally. The building is clad in Scots Pine, planted by Graham’s great grandfather, the building timber comes from trees felled on site, while the entrance has been formed around an old grain silo sourced from a local farm.

Inside, couples will enter the ceremony room through horse stalls up-cycled from the farm’s stables while a feature wall has been built re-using stones from the drystone dykes in the old building. In the function room, the bar, tables and wooden furnishings have been hand-crafted from Sycamore and Scots Pine, harvested on the estate, by a team of carpenters led by Alistair.

Cairns Farm Estate also features on-site accommodation which can sleep up to 24 guests.

Caroline Hamilton said, “This has been an incredible journey for our family; from having the initial idea, to teaming up with Hickory in 2017 then battling on through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s almost hard to believe that we will soon to be hosting our first wedding in May. It’s been a real labour of love, with each member of the family adding their unique skill and personality throughout the planning and the build. We’ve also worked with friends and local crafts men and women, so there’s been a real sense of community and care that’s gone into the project.

“The idea was driven by the modernisation of our agricultural industry and the need for diversification to create a secure future for the family and the estate. It was crucial that the venue would reflect its roots as a sheep shed and sit naturally in the environment and so it maintains the beauty and integrity of the land and landscape. When I look at the finished venue now, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and can’t wait to share it with our guests.”

Brian Galbraith, MD of Hickory, added, “Cairns Farm Estate is absolutely spectacular. With its stunning setting, on-site accommodation and its amazing conversion from a country barn into a stylish and flexible modern event space, it’s already attracting huge interest for weddings and events. It’s been a pleasure to team up with the Hamilton family and be part of the journey. With the first wedding just around the corner, and many more booked in, we can’t wait to get started.”