Located in the northeast of Scotland is the port city of Aberdeen. It is home to over 300 castles. The epic scenery brings to mind scenes from the silver-screen such as Harry Potter, James Bond 007 films, the Kingsman and Outlander to name a few. The hidden forests green meadows, moors and castles are a traditional part of Scotland. Aberdeen’s castles carry from the whimsical 16th century fairytale looking Crathes Castle to the stately castle of the Earl of Huntly known as Huntly Castle.
It takes about eight hours to drive a distance of about 545 miles from London. The best way to experience the rolling fields of green dotted with balls of easily visible thick woolly sheep is by either driving mostly on the M6 motorway, or going by the train which takes about seven and a half hours. Flying is just about an hour a half.
Located at just 20 miles from Aberdeen, the Scottish town of Banchory is home to Crathes Castle. From the roadside and even the driveway leading to this rather stately looking castle, you can only spy a tower in the sky as it is housed on an enclosed compound comprising of 530 acres of green grass meadows. Set to the back of a regal setting, Crathes Castle is reminiscent of the Disney fairytale castle complete with towers, turrets and a flag pole. This historical example of a Scottish tower castle was built in the 16th century. Tour guides do an excellent job of showing you around as they relate facts, information and ghost stories. Visitors can take a piece of history home with them from the castle gift shop. There is also a picnic area with a kid’s mini-play park next to the River Dee, where fishing is allowed. Don’t forget to visit the topiary hedges in the stately gardens.
Stonehaven is the location of Dunnottar Castle. As you park, you walk up towards a rugged cliff coastline where the wind whistles past your ears and hair. Perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the North Sea, the only way in to Dunnottar Castle is through winding staircases that lead down into the entrance. It endured the siege of Oliver Cromwell, who fought a furious battle for the Scottish crown jewels but was defeated at this location. Dunnottar was recently the inspiration for the making of the animated movie called Brave.
Located just outside the town of Huntly, the castle is in ruins but still maintains the main framework of the interior walkways, dungeon and small chambers where occupants once hid from attacks. Once a stately palace, you can still get a sense of what this medieval castle used to be. Built around 1450 by the Earl of Huntly, today it is said to have a ghostly figure known as the White Lady occupying it. There are guided tours for a minimal price, a gift shop and adequate parking.
Located about 16 miles away from the city of Aberdeen, and set on 140-hectare estate, is the majestic Castle Fraser. It was built around the 16th century by Michael Fraser, the 6th laird. Visitors pay a minimal fee to self-tour the castle but with well-informed staff members, and information points dotted around the various six floors, you can explore the fully furnished interior rooms at your own pace. The immaculate grounds have an enclosed flower garden and fish pond. Don’t forget to go up to the roof for spectacular views. Oh and yes – there’s an unnamed princess who haunts the castle’s Green Room.
If you’re thinking Balmoral Castle sounds familiar it’s because it’s the holiday home in Scotland for the Queen and the Royal Family. Prince Albert bought it for Queen Victoria in 1852. It is open to the public during certain times of the year, so make sure to check before making the trip. Visitors can enjoy grounds, gardens, exhibitions, and the coffee shop. You must visit the gift shop, as it offers unique gifts The walking tour is recommended. Not only do you see the majestic interior of the Ballroom, with its collection of paintings, sculptures and the Balmoral Tartan Collection, but also the glorious exterior of the Carriage Hall Courtyard with its exhibition of Royal Heraldry grounds, and the formal Garden that is located on three acres of land.
This pink colored baronial castle resembles a typical fairytale castle with its towers and turrets. Located 20 miles from Inverurie, it was built in 1626 by Master William Forbes Danzig Willie. Today it is owned by the Scottish Trust who operates small guided tours. And, yes there’s a red haired ghost known as “Red” Sir John the grandson of Master William who haunts the castle.