The Best Castles near Aberdeen

The castles near Aberdeen are rich with Scottish history, folklore, and more interesting tales. And one of these castle is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle.

Take a look at the best castles in Aberdeenshire that you can visit. With histories dating back 800 years and full of tales of Royal visitors, stunning art collections and beautiful sceneries with woodland trails and gardens.

These are the best castles near Aberdeen

photo: Neil Williamson / CC BY-SA 3.0

Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle is a true fairytale castle in Aberdeenshire. The pink Craigievar Castle is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. The castle, in Scottish Baronial architecture style, was completed in 1626 and it was the seat of the Clan Sempill and the Forbes family for 350 years.

Things to see at Craigievar Castle

A visit to Craigievar Castle means an authentic castle experience, since there is no artificial light beyond the grounds floor. The castle also houses a collection of artefacts and art, including Raeburns, armour and weapons. Surrounding the castle are gardens and woodland trails. Craigievar Castle is open April-September, the grounds are open all year round. Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: Craigievar, Alford AB33 8JF, United Kingdom

photo: Herbert Frank / CC BY 2.0

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress perched atop a 160 foot rock surrounded by the North Sea. The castle played an important role in Scottisch history up until the Jacobite risings in the 18th century. It is here that the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels, now on display at Edinburgh Castle) were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s army. And notable figures like William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots also visited the castle.

Things to see at Donnottar Castle

The site is steeped in history. It’s interesting for everyone who loves geology, (Scottish) history, and photography. The local harbourtown, Stonehaven, has beaches, a swimming pool and eateries. The castle is open 361 days of the year. Book your ticket for Dunnottar Castle on the website.

Address: Stonehaven AB39 2TL, United Kingdom

See also: 25 Castles near Edinburgh

photo: Graeme Churchard / CC BY 2.0

Crathes Castle

Crathes Castle is a 16th century harled castle near Banchory. The site was gifted to the Burnetts of Leys family by Robert the Bruce. And this family owned the estate for almost 400 years. In the 18th century an additional wing was added.

Things to see at Crathes Castle

The castle has Scottish Renaissance painted ceilings and a labyrinth of cultural history with family portraits and antique furniture. Outside is a historic walled garden, planted in 1702. And trails into the Royal Forest of Drum with a rich variety of wildlife. Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: Crathes, Banchory AB31 5QJ, United Kingdom

photo: Fyvie Castle by Alan Findlay / CC BY-SA 2.0

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle is a 800-year-old fortress in Scottish Baronial architecture style. The oldest part of the castle dates back to the 13th-century. Robert the Bruce held open-air court at Fyvie Castle and King Charles I lived at Fyvie as a child. When it was no longer a Royal castle it was owned by 5 families who each added their own tower, with Preston Tower being the oldest.

Things to see at Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle houses a portrait collection including works by Raeburn, Batoni, Romney, Gainsborough, Opie, Lawrence and Hoppner. Outside is a beautiful garden and parkland. Fyvie Castle is open April-December, the grounds are open all year round. For current opening times visit the website.

Address: Fyvie, Turriff AB53 8JS, United Kingdom

photo: Karora

Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser is the largest Z-plan castle in Scotland. The core of the castle possibly dates back to the 1450s. But the main castle was built in 1575 by the 6th Laird of Fraser. In the 18th-century, the castle was modernized in Classical style, and between 1820 and 1850 the interiors were redesigned including a libaray in regency style with Tudor detailing. Castle Fraser remained the home of the Fraser family for more than 400 years.

Things to see at Castle Fraser

400 years of Fraser family history can be viewed at Castle Fraser. But there are also quirky features such as the Laird’s Lug, hidden trapdoors, secret staircases and a spy hole. Outside is a traditional walled garden and parkland including the Woodland Secrets play area for children. The castle is open April-December. The garden & grounds are open all year round. Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: Sauchen, Inverurie AB51 7LD, United Kingdom

photo: Fionam890 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Haddo House

Haddo House is a stately home 20 miles north of Aberdeen. The Haddo House Estate has been owned by the Gordon family (later the Earls of Aberdeen and Marquesses of Aberdeen) for 500 years. The current Georgian Palladian-style house was built in 1732, after a design by William Adam.

Things to see at Haddo House

Haddo House has an extensive art collection including 85 paintings of Aberdeenshire castles by acclaimed Victorian artist James Giles. There is a terrace garden and in the autumn the estate host the Haddo Arts Festival in autumn – a celebration of music, literature and art. Visit the website for current opening times.

photo: Ikiwaner / CC BY-SA 3.0

Drum Castle

Drum Castle was the seat of the chief of Clan Irvine. The Royal Forest and Tower of Drum were given to the castle by Robert the Bruce. The 700 year house was extended with a Jacobean mansion house, and more alterations in Victorian times.

Things to see at Drum Castle

The castle has one of Scotland’s oldest (and presumamble unaltered) tower houses. It has a 16th-century chapel, The Old Wood of Drum has oak trees dating to the 1700s. And there is a Garden of Historic Roses which shows how roses were cultivated from the 17th-20th century. Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: Drumoak, Banchory AB31 5EY, United Kingdom

photo: Kemnay House

Kemnay House

Kemnay House is a 17th-century tower house with Georgian and Victorian extensions. Susan Burnett, the first Lady of Kemnay restored the house in the second half of the 20th-century. She also opened the house for visitors, concerts, and exhibitions. Which continues to this day.

Things to see at Kemnay House

Kemnay House is open 28 days of the year, showcasing 300 years of family history. And with beautiful gardens and woodlands to explore as well. The gallery, which exhibits contemporary Scottish artists, is open by appointment. Visit the website for current opening days.

Address: Kemnay, Inverurie AB51 5LH, United Kingdom

Udny Castle

Udny Castle is a tower house in the parish of Udny. The tower house probably dates back to the late 14th or early 15th century. A 19th century Baronial mansion was added to the tower, which has unfortunately been destroyed in the 1960s. The castle is still privately owned by the Udny family, but the grounds are open to the public.

photo: Karora

Tolquhon Castle

Tolquhon Castle is a ruined 16th century castle which is described as “the most characteristic château of the Scots Renaissance”. The castle was built by William Forbes, 7th Laird of Tolquhon, between 1584 and 1589. But after 1718 the castle fell into ruin and it is now owned by Historic Scotland.

Things to see at Tolquhon Castle

The ruined castle is still impressive with fine carvings and you can explore the family rooms and go below stairs. Tolquhan Castle is open April-September. Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: Tarves, Aberdeenshire, AB41 7LP, United Kingdom

The castles near Aberdeen on a map

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