Scottish Castle Trail
Less than 30 minutes' drive from Aberdeen's modern big-city atmosphere, visitors can step back in time to experience Scotland's exciting history at first hand. Scotland's only dedicated Castle Trail lets you discover the dramatic stories of 16 of Aberdeenshire's most famous castles. Each has its own unique story and history, and makes for an ideal and fascinating day out.
Alternatively why not plan to navigate a trail along the complete Trail.
Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate, Inverurie
One of the grandest castles of Mar, this magnificent building contains an evocative Great Hall, fine furniture and paintings. Enjoy the beautiful secluded walled garden, extensive
woodland walks with fine views of the castle.
Braemar Castle, Braemar
A fairytale castle and Scotland's only community run castle. Built by the Earl of Mar in 1628, and garrison for Hanoverian troops after Culloden, home to the Chiefs of Clan Farquharson. 12 furnished rooms and guided tours with tales of Jacobites, and Farquharsons available.
Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate, Banchory
This 16th-century castle offers a memorable experience with its intriguing round towers and overhanging turrets. The gardens feature great yew hedges and a colourful double herbaceous border
Duff House, Banff
Renowned as one of Scotland's finest architectural masterpieces. Designed by William Adam and built in the 18th century as a seat for the Earls Fife, the house now contains works on loan from The National Galleries of Scotland.
Great Castles of Scotland
Scotland's turbulent history has left an enduring mark on the landscape in shape of the many castles, fortresses and tower houses that now pepper the countryside. Some such as Edinburgh or Stirling rank amongst Europe's most impressive structures, while others equally provide a stark insight into far darker times. One thing is constant however - all Scottish castles have an awe-inspiring capacity about them that captures the imagination of visitors from far and wide, which goes some way to explain why they continue to top the list of 'must-see' attractions for visitors exploring Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Perched high above the capital, Edinburgh Castle is unquestionably Scotland's most important and famous castle. There has been a castle here since the 11th century and each century has seen changes and additions resulting in today's mix of military barracks, palace, fortress and war memorial. The castle is also home to the Scottish Crown Jewels - 'The Honours of Scotland', and the famous Stone of Destiny, plus the mighty 'Mons Meg', a huge 15th-century siege cannon.
Stirling Castle, Stirling
Perched high on volcanic rock, Stirling provides spectacular views over two of Scotland's most historic battlefields - Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn. Much of today's castle dates from the 15th to18th centuries. The Great Hall has been recently restored to how it would have looked around 1500, plus there are excellent interactive displays providing a great insight into the castle's vast history.
Glamis Castle, Angus
As visitors approach Glamis the sheer magnificence of the building is simply breathtaking. And with good reason. With the Cairngorm Mountains providing a spectacular backdrop and beautiful landscaped grounds, visitors can see that this Castle truly is inspiring. Like most castles, the story of Glamis has been one of additions, alterations and reconstructions to satisfy the needs and aspirations of its owners and the architectural fashions of the day. Glamis Castle is also the ancient seat of the Earls of Strathmore, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the birthplace of HRH The Princess Margaret and the legendary setting for Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'.
Inveraray Castle, Inveraray, Argyll
Inveraray Castle dates from the 18th century and is home to the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell, whose family have lived in Inveraray for over five centuries. With its large turreted corner towers, the castle looks every bit your quintessential fairytale castle, which somewhat disguises the magnificent grandeur of the properties interior.
Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Perthshire
Blair Castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to the Atholl Highlanders, the last remaining private army in Europe. It has a long and illustrious history and the present majestic structure is largely a product of Georgian and Victorian development of its original medieval tower. Over seven centuries, Blair Castle has accumulated many fascinating historical artefacts including antique furniture, art, period dress and arms and armour, many of which are on display to the public.
Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye
Any visit to the Isle of Skye is incomplete without savouring the wealth of history and clan legend at Dunvegan Castle & Gardens. Built on a rocky outcrop, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. A definite must-see.