The castles of the North-east
28 March 2022
With more than 250 historic castles in the North-east, there is no shortage for planning a day trip to visit one.
Many of the castles are open for public tours, while some have been reduced to ruins, you can still uncover Aberdeenshire's fascinating history through these ancient landmarks and learn about the famous figures who called it home or had visited.
The North-east of Scotland is nicknamed 'Scotland's Castle Country' for a reason and here we share with you some spectacular castles you can check out on your travels.
Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside
There’s a reason why queen Victoria fell in love with her “dear paradise in the Highlands” that would become Royal Deeside. Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. The Castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture and is classified by Historic Scotland as a category A listed building.
The Royal Family’s love of Royal Deeside continues to this day, with the Queen using Balmoral Castle as her summer residence and many other members of the family are frequently seen in the area.
The public can tour Balmoral Castle and get a glimpse of where the Queen calls home. Take an audio visual exhibition together with a tour of the largest room in the Castle, the Ballroom. All other rooms within the Castle are not available to the public as these are Her Majesty The Queen's private rooms.
Enjoy access to the grounds, gardens, relax in the coffee shop and purchase some memorabilia from the gift shop which is open daily from 1st April until 2nd August 2022.
Castle Fraser, Inverurie
This one is not to be missed, as it has one of the largest tower houses in Scotland, with spectacular views of the courtyard, gardens and the peaks of Bennachie.
The core of Castle Fraser dates from the 1450s, home to the Fraser family for over 400 years before being sold to a businessman in the 20th-century and generously gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1976.
Enjoy amazing views from the top of the round tower, discover quirky features around the castle, encounter trapdoors, secret staircases and even a spy hole in the Bailiff’s Room.
The Castle offers tours around the castle (including the medieval Great Hall, fascinating family treasures and portraits, Victorian bedrooms and well-stocked library) for history buffs, but also a traditional walled garden that has treasures for any green thump to admire.
Fans of the Oscar-winning film The Queen (2006) may also recognise Castle Fraser as it doubled for Balmoral Castle during filming.
Image credit: Dan Christie
Explore this magnificent 16th century castle, magnified by its faintly pink harled exterior, there’s something pleasantly Disneyesque about this castle. Crathes Castle has a classic Scottish tower house design, with an intricate maze of turrets, oak panels and painted ceilings.
The Burnett family, who lived in the castle for over 350 years, had roots in the area dating back to 1323 when Robert the Bruce granted them nearby land. Alexander Burnett built the castle in the 16th century.
The walled garden is a wonderful jungle of history, split into eight sections that encompass every green delight imaginable including a sculpted topiary, soft herbaceous colours and modern exotic blooms. The massive yew hedges are thought to have been planted as early as 1702.
These are just a few of the 263 castles on offer in Aberdeenshire. Did you know the North-east has more castles per acre than anywhere else in British Isles? Most you can see, and many you can visit.
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