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Five of the best castles in Aberdeenshire

Emilija Morrison: Business Development Assistant

There are more than 260 castles, stately homes and ruins within Aberdeenshire, with the area being dubbed as ‘Scotland’s castle country’.

There being so very many castles, it can be hard to whittle it down to just a few. We’ve tried, however. (Apologies if we skip your favourite castle!)

Read below to hear of some of our favourites.


a castle on top of a grass covered field with Balmoral Castle in the background

1. Balmoral Castle

The most famous castle on the list, this one is a favourite of the Royal Family. Queen Victoria was a regular visitor, helping to make Scotland a sought-after destination among fashionable Victorians. Over a century later, the place is still popular among royals, with Queen Elizabeth II visiting every summer. This does mean that the castle is unopen to visitors when our monarch is in residence over August, however.

For more info about the castle, visit here.


a castle with a clock tower in front of Craigievar Castle

2. Fyvie Castle

The history of the castle is truly fascinating and whilst one will naturally forget most of what one hears on the tour, you are unlikely to forget the story of the ghost of Lilias Drummond. Even months after visiting, I can still chillingly remember her story. (And her name scratched on the wall by her ghost.) Other highlights of the castle include the grounds, with there being a walled garden and a picturesque walk by the loch.

For details on how to visit, click here.


a castle on top of a lush green field

3. Castle Fraser

Interestingly enough, the name of the family Fraser originates from the French word for strawberry, ‘fraise’. What stands out to me from my visit is that there were so many interesting facts to learn, both about the castle and the family. Whilst it was very much self-guided, there were tour guides in many of the rooms eager to give us knowledge about the place. Moreover, there were even interesting relics to find within the castle, such as an early Christmas cracker. Of course, the grounds were also spectacular, with many potential areas for a picnic.

For more details click here.


Dunnottar Castle over a body of water

4. Dunottar Castle

Sitting atop a 160 foot rock and surrounded by the North Sea, the ruins of Dunottar Castle is hard to forget. When visiting here recently we loved every moment and we were eager to hear all the interesting historical titbits. This isn’t just a place for Scots – a quick glance at the visitor book and one can see that visitors come from all over the world, from as far a field as South America.

To learn more about the castle look here.


a castle on top of a dirt field

5. Slains Castle

Another dramatic looking castle, this was apparently the inspiration for the castle belonging to the vampire in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. It also played host to an array of fascinating historical figures, from the likes of Winston Churchill and Herbert Asquith. Interestingly, when we first visited we assumed it was much older than it was and an ancient ruin, however it only became ruined from the 1920s onwards. This one is a unpaid attraction and there are no notice boards dotted around the castle, so you will probably have to do your historical research through the internet. (There is one notice board next to the car park, a fifteen minute walk or so from the castle. But it doesn’t mention much.) However, whilst visiting here do take note – it is pretty dangerous as it is located on a cliff, so be very careful on your visit. We’d suggest avoiding climbing up the castle stairs, too.

More info about the castle here.

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