Scotland Castle Tour
Aberdeenshire is known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country’ and has over 300 castles, stately homes and ruins. There are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK and you can visit and explore the most famous and dramatic castles on this Scotland Castle Tour.
Day 1 Stonehaven, Banchory, Drumoak
There are lots of castles near Aberdeen, so you will stay near the city for your first day on the trail, which takes you to the impressive ruins of Dunnottar Castle, on to the fairytale Crathes Castle and finishes at Drum Castle, a fine Jacobean mansion house.
Start at Stonehaven, which can be reached by heading south from Aberdeen on the the A90/A92, and you’ll arrive at the ruins of Dunnottar Castle, perched on a cliff approx 160 ft above the North Sea. The castle was fought over by Wallace and Cromwell. You may even be lucky enough to see puffins or dolphins.
Crathes Castle is an enchanting 16th-century tower house and a great day out for the whole family.
It’s surrounded by 240 hectares of formal gardens, woodland walks and rolling Scottish countryside.
There is a cafe, gift shop, adventure playground for children, Go Ape tree top adventure and the Arting Around studio.
Drum is one of Royal Deeside’s top historic attractions, just 10 miles from Aberdeen. It is one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses and is set beside an ancient oak woodland and a walled garden that contains a fine collection of historic roses.
Day 2 Sauchen, Tarves, Methlick
Day two on the trail takes you west and north of Aberdeen. Head to Castle Fraser and enjoy the splendid interiors of this grand castle before travelling north through the beautiful Grampian countryside to Tolquhon Castle and on to Haddo House, an elegant mansion house.
About 16 miles west of Aberdeen, near Sauchen, stands Castle Fraser, one of the grandest castles of Mar. This magnificent building contains a Great Hall, fine furniture and paintings. Enjoy the beautiful secluded walled garden, woodland walks with fine views of the castle plus a children’s adventure playground. Visit the tearoom and enjoy homebaked cakes before a browse in the gift shop.
This is one of be one of Grampian’s most picturesque castles. Among the lavish details are fine carvings of its chief builder Sir William Forbes and his wife. It has an impressive gatehouse. Explore the family rooms and go ‘below stairs’ in the charming main house at the far end of the courtyard
Haddo House and Country Park provides numerous attractions for visitors, whether it be shopping and eating, dogwalking amid outstanding scenery or fishing at the Haddo Trout Fishery.
Day 3 Turriff, Delgaty, Fraserburgh
On the third day of your tour you’ll travel from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh. You will visit Fyvie Castle, where you will find a treasure trove of fascinating objects, Delgatie Castle, with it’s magnificent painted ceilings, and Kinnaird Head Castle, home to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.
Begin your day at Fyvie Castle, Turriff, about 50 minutes north of Aberdeen. Fyvie is an outstanding example of Scottish baronial architecture and home to a superb collection of arms, armour and paintings, including works by Raeburn and Gainsborough. You can also stroll around the loch or visit the racquets court and bowling alley.
This Castle was used by the army as a temporary barracks during the Second World War. When they left it was uninhabited and left to rot. Inside, the castle has been restored to a high standard and some of the rooms still have their superb 16th Century painted ceilings on display. You can tour the castle and grounds and visit Laird’s Kitchen Tearoom.
Kinnaird Head Castle
Explore a fine castle turned lighthouse. Built for the Fraser family in the 1500s, Kinnaird Head was altered in 1787 to contain the first lighthouse built by the Northern Lighthouse Board. Enjoy a good climb to the top of Stevenson’s spiral staircase and take a short walk to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.
Day 4 Banff, Huntly, Elgin, Dufftown
On the fourth day of your trip you’ll visit a gorgeous historic mansion, Duff House, before enjoying a circular tour around three splendid ruins, Huntly Castle, Spynie Palace and Balvenie Castle.
Your first stop of the day is Banff’s Duff House, one of Scotland’s architectural masterpieces. This historic house is a treasure house and cultural arts centre It also has extensive grounds and woodland walks by the River Deveron.
Explore the surroundings of Huntly, including the ancient castle and take a walk along the riverbank before returning to the picturesque town centre.
Spynie Palace is located near Elgin in Moray. The most distinctive feature of the ruin is David’s Tower – the largest tower by volume of all medieval Scottish towers. It is six storeys tall with a vaulted basement and garret. The basement contains a circular dungeon.
Balvenie Scotland Castle Tour is a large and impressive ruinous courtyard castle, with a 13th-century curtain wall and surrounding ditch, a 16th-century L-plan tower house at one corner and other 15th-century ruined ranges within the courtyard. The walls are pierced by gunloops.
Day 5 Huntly, Alford, Corgarff
Day five features three very different castles. Leith Hall is packed with treasures for you to uncover, Kildrummy Castle offers great views of the wild lands of Strathdon and Corgarff Castle gives an insight into barrack life in the 1700s.
7 miles south of Huntly, Leith Hall is a typical Scottish laird’s residence brimming with family treasures amassed throughout the lifetimes of 10 generations of the Leith-Hay family. Enjoy a visit to the beautiful gardens with features including a Rock Garden which is being restored to its original 1900s design.
This impressive ruin is one of the most complete examples of a 13th century castle in eastern Scotland.
Kildrummy Castle encompasses the remnants of a mighty curtain wall, four round towers, hall and chapel with three handsome lancets. Another of the castle’s impressive features is its twin-towered gatehouse
Corgarff Castle is situated 20 miles north of Braemar and has been of strategic importance, guarding the quickest route from Deeside to Speyside and the Moray Firth.
Day 6 Braemar, Ballater, Craigievar
The final day of your tour takes you through the heart of Royal Deeside. Begin at Braemar Castle and see the interesting curios of this 17th century stronghold. Travel on to Balmoral Castle, the splendid Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family, and finish your day at fairytale Craigievar Castle, which is decorated with turrets and gargoyles.
Begin your day in the charming town of Braemar and visit Braemar Castle, the seat of Clan Farquharson. This 17th century stronghold was most recently furnished with many interesting curios in the 1950s by the flamboyant first wife of the Laird. It is best known for its unusual star-shaped outer wall. Take a guided tour of the castle with a local volunteer or with an audio guide.
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.
Resembling a fairytale castle and an example of the best of Scottish Baronial architecture, Craigievar fits naturally amongst the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire. This perfect Scottish castle remains as unspoiled as it was when lived in by the Forbes-Sempill family. Surrounding the castle are extensive parkland grounds with two waymarked walks. There is also a small Victorian kitchen garden and a Scottish glen garden.