Holidays in Glenlivet

Visitor Guide

Castles and Houses


Castles and Houses

in Glenlivet and the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Grampian,

Moray, Nairn and Inverness-shire


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We have included links to many other websites.  We shall eventually get round to informing all of these about our links, but if we haven't yet been in touch and you would prefer us to remove the link to your site, then please let us know.

This section includes unoccupied castles which are still intact – so you can wander around and see what life was like for the inhabitants. Other properties are listed under Ruined Castles and Houses.


Ballindalloch Castle

Ballindalloch Castle Website

Family home of the Macpherson-Grants since 1546, this is very much a lived-in

family home, filled with family memorabilia and a collection of 17th century

Spanish paintings.

Open Sun-Fri from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm from Good Friday (10/4/2009) until

the end of September - last admission 4.45 pm.

Very attractive series of gardens that have a very personal touch despite their

relatively large scale - Rhododendrons, large walled Rose Garden,

Hillside Rock Garden and Herbaceous Borders.  There are also a number of paths through the grounds and a children's play park.




Corgarff Castle (Strathdon)

Historic Scotland Webpage for Corgarff

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Corgarff

Historic Scotland

Mid 16th century tower with an 18th century perimeter wall.  The castle was

used as a garrison for government troops for fifty years after Culloden and then

again for a short spell in the 1820s when troops were deployed in support of

excisemen trying  to stamp out illicit distilling.  The castle was fully restored

in the 1960s with exhibits showing just what life was like for the soldiers.

Opening times - last tickets sold 30 minutes before closing

April to Sept: Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 5.30pm

October: 9.30am to 4.30pm

Nov to March: Saturday and Sunday only from 9.30am to 4.30pm
Christmas and New Year Period: closed 25-26 Dec and 1-2 Jan
Contact 01975 651460

The west pavilion housing the bakehouse and brewhouse is accessible to

visitors using wheelchairs or with limited mobility. There is no suitable

access to the main tower.  Parking - A five minute walk from the steward’s

point on a rough track up a steep hill. Visitors with disabilities can be set

down nearer the castle by prior arrangement.


AG *

Fort George (between Inverness and Nairn)

Historic Scotland Webpage for Fort George

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Fort George

Historic Scotland

This a truly massive fort, built after Culloden as a deterrent to further

trouble from Highland Jacobites - it cost nearly £1 billion to build in today’s

money.  Within almost a mile of boundary walls, bristling with artillery, it

could house an artillery detachment and a 1600-strong infantry garrison.

It is not only completely intact but is still used as a working barracks by the

Army.  The buildings have been set up to provide a fascinating insight into

18th century military life.  Superb collection of arms, including bayoneted

muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches.

Audio visual presentation - audio guides available – shop – café.

The Highlanders Regimental Museum is also sited within the Fort. You’ll

need at least a couple of hours to see round all of this.

Contact  01667 460232

Opening times - last ticket sold 45 min beforeclosing time.

Summer (1 April - 30 September), Monday to Sunday, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

Winter (1 October - 31 March), Monday to Sunday, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

In the summer, the Regimental Museum is open from 10.00am to 5.15pm

every daybut only open between 10.00am and 4.00pm in the winter.

The Café is open every day in Summer from 10.00am to 5.00pm, and in

the Winter from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Accessibility - Shop and Catering - STB Category 2 and Toilets - STB

Category 3. Visitors with disabilities are normally asked on arrival about

any help they may need. Two manual and two motorised wheelchairs are

available at the Visitor Centre. Access is across level ground with some

areas of granite sets to cross, where visitors using wheelchairs would need

assistance. All Historic Scotland areas are accessible, although grassed

areas can be soft. The battlements have six sloped grass and concrete

access ramps at a 20 degree slope. There is a slight step leading to the

barrack rooms where all audio buttons and displays are accessible.

There is normally a steward on duty in the Grand Magazine and barrack

rooms. Parking available 182m from Fort entrance.




Brodie Castle (west of Forres)

National Trust Webpage for Brodie Castle

National Trust

Home of the Brodie family from the mid 16th century until the late 20th

century, but the family’s association with the area possibly goes back as

far as 1160.  Extensions added during the 17th and 19th centuries.

Not as opulent as some other properties, the Brodies seem to have been strapped for cash from time to time, but that is its charm - a real house that people lived in - not just for show.

See website for opening times

Grounds open daily all year


Brodie has a fair sized wooded garden that’s pleasant to walk around if

you’re visiting the Castle itself (a fair collection of mature trees and

shrubs), but the grounds are well worth a visit in their own right when

the daffodils are in bloom.  Between 1899 and 1942, Major Ian Brodie,

the 24th Laird of Brodie, raised tens of thousands of daffodil seedlings

which led to over 400 named varieties.  Unfortunately, by the time the

Trust acquired the Castle in 1978, only a small number of the daffodils

could be recognised with any certainty within the grounds, but great

efforts are being made to locate and reintroduce as many cultivars as

possible.  About 100 Brodie cultivars have now been identified and

more are still being discovered around the world – further details in

the following websites if you are interested.

Article in the Forres Gazette

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Brodie Castle




Cawdor Castle (near Nairn)

This is certainly worth a visit – an inhabited castle with drawbridge

and dungeon.  The present castle dates from the 14th century – so,

alas, nothing to do with Macbeth.  Despite the imposing exterior, the

interior is very intimate with a fine array of furniture, paintings and

tapestries and lots of interesting objects with amusingly written labels

- so ideal for all the family.  Restaurant, park, gardens, superb

woodland walks, nine hole mini-golf, putting green.

Open from 1st  May to 10th October from 10-00 to 5.30 - last

admission 5.00.

There gardens are well worth a visit in their own right.  The original walled garden is split in two - one half with a laburnum walk around a maze of holly hedging, the other half with lots of topiary, knot garden and herbacious borders.  The garden right next to the castle is bordered by a large variety of trees and shrubs and also contains a rose garden, herbacious borders and beds of annuals.  There is also a wild garden between the castle and the Allt Dearg burn planted with lots of rhododendrons and spring bulbs and some Gunnera by the burnside.

The surrounding woods contain some beautfiul walks with a great variety of mature trees, both native and exotic.

Head Gardener Derek Hosie will be conducting guided tours of the

garden on Saturday 5th June and Saturday 28th August.  These are fascinating tours, well worth making the effort, and you only pay the normal garden entrance charge.

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Cawdor Castle

The following website gives information on the wee village of Cawdor

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Cawdor




Cairness House  (just south of Fraserburgh)

Cairness House Website

One of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in Britain,

designed by James Playfair and now being restored after a long

period of neglect.  Fine collection of furniture and works of art,

fabulous interiors, magnificent views of the surrounding landscape

and the lived-in atmosphere of a private home.

Open from 1.00 to 5.00 pm on Wed and Sat during July and August

Last admission 4pm



Delgatie Castle  (near Turiff)

Delgatie Castle Website

The main tower dates from about 1100 with major additions in the

sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.  Some rooms still boast their

original 16-century painted ceilings, which are considered some of

the finest in Scotland. the thickness of the wall.  Trout fishery and

a tea room which has apparently been rated among the top twenty

places in Britain to have afternoon tea .

Open daily 10.00-5.00 except Christmas and New Year weeks



Duff House  (Banff)

Duff House Website

Historic Scotland

An early Georgian mansion designed by William Adam for the Earl

of Fife - now open as the Country House Gallery of the National

Galleries of Scotland.  Raeburn, El Greco, Gainsborough all on show

plus lots of furniture – exhibitions – shop – restaurant.

Opening times

Nov to 31 March ~ Open Thu-Sun ~ 11am to 4pm

1 April to 31 October ~ Open 11am to 5pm ~ Daily

Contact  01261 8181811

Accessibility - A lift leads to the gallery floors of the house.

The grounds are also easily accessible but tend to be soft and

there is a picnic facility nearby. A shop and restaurant are on the

ground floor. Two wheelchairs are available for use by visitors

with disabilities.  Parking available 200 metres away.



Leith Hall  (south of Huntly)

National Trust Webpage for Leith Hall

Built in 1650 by James Leith, Leith Hall was very much a family home, lived in, used and altered to meet the family’s needs for nearly three hundred years.  Never having been sold and remaining in the same family for ten generations, it offers a rare glimpse of the changing aspirations, needs and tastes of the middle-ranking gentry.  A typical Scottish laird’s residence brimming with family treasures.

See website for opening times

There are six acres of walled gardens to see and a variety of way marked trails through the surrounding estate.  The garden lies on a gentle, south facing slope and has a very relaxed feel to it with  some pleasant herbaceous, some great trees and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.  Take a stroll around the pond - the path starts at the far end of the car park.

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Leith Hall 

The gardens are open all year daily from 9.00 until sunset


Fyvie Castle (between Turriff and Old Meldrum)

National Trust Webpage for Fyvie Castle

National Trust

Ghosts, legends and folklore are all woven into the tapestry of

Fyvie Castle’s 800-year history. Tradition claims that the castle’s

five successive families each added a tower to this magnificent

Scottish Baronial fortress - lavish Edwardian interiors –

magnificent portrait collection including works by Batoni, Romney,

Gainsborough, Opie, Lawrence and Hoppner and one of the largest

private collections of Raeburns in the world. There’s an equally

impressive collection of fine furniture, tapestries, arms and

armour. Shop, tea room and picnic area

See website for opening times

Gardens and grounds open daily all year round until sunset


Have a look at the gardens if you are visiting the castle

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Fyvie Castle




Haddo House (north of Old Meldrum)

National Trust Webpage for Haddo House

National Trust

Originally designed by William Adam in 1732 and refurbished in

1880, the house combines crisp Georgian architecture with

sumptuous late Victorian interiors. Throughout the house and

grounds, family portraits, monuments and memorabilia build up

a fascinating history of the Gordon family over the centuries.

Superb collection of paintings and fine furniture - delightful

terrace garden with geometric rosebeds and fountain, a lavish

herbaceous border and secluded glades and knolls. A magnificent

avenue of lime trees leads to adjacent Haddo Country Park with

its lakes, monuments, walks and wildlife – shop – tearoom –

plant sales

See website for opening times

Gardens and Grounds open daily all year from 9.00 until sunset

Terrace garden with geometric rosebeds and fountain and lavish

herbaceous borders

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Haddo House



Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle Website

Access to the formal and vegetable gardens, to various exhibitions

and to the Ballroom.  About one and a half hours is recommended

for a visit.  Audio tour - Gift shop - coffee shop.

Opening times for 2009 - last admission 4.00

Daily from 10.00 to 5.00



Castle Fraser  (south of Kemnay)

National Trust Webpage for Castle Fraser

National Trust

A grand baronial castle dating from the 16/17th century, the

largest and most elaborate of Scottish castles built on the Z plan

design.  Great Hall, fine furniture and paintings – walled garden,

extensive woodland walks - stunning views from the top of the

round tower.  Tea room, shop, plant sales, picnic area and

adventure playground

See website for opening times

Garden open daily all year round until sunset


Have a look around the garden if you are visiting the castle

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Castle Fraser


Craigievar Castle  (near Alford)

National Trust Webpage for Craigievar Castle

National Trust

A fine example of Scottish Baronial architecture, virtually

unchanged since built in the early 17th century and amongst

the best preserved – stunning 17th century plaster ceilings -

fine collection of specimen trees in grounds and extensive

views over the surrounding countryside.

See website for o pening times



Crathes Castle (near Banchory)

National Trust Webpage for Crathes Castle

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Crathes Castle

National Trust

One of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in

Scotland, built in the 16th century castle with several original

painted ceilings - great garden – trails – adventure

playground – restaurant – plant sales – shop

See website for opening times

Gardens and Grounds open daily all year from 9.00 until sunset


Over three acres of walled garden that have been developed

over 300 years and divided into a series of eight spaces, each

one with its own theme, including a double herbaceous border,

the Red Garden, the June Borders and the Golden Garden.

Some of the clipped yew hedges have been growing for over

three hundred years.  Large greenhouse with National collection

of Malmaison carnations.

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Crathes Castle

The following website gives information on the nearby town of


Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Banchory



Drum Castle  (ten miles west of Aberdeen)

National Trust Webpage for Drum Castle

National Trust

The oldest intact building in the care of the National Trust for

Scotland, a fine Jacobean mansion added to a 13th century keep

with further Victorian additions – furniture and paintings

– garden – woodland trails – children’s adventure playground

– shop – tea room – plant sales

See website for opening times

Grounds open all year, daily.


Over recent years Drum has created a garden of historic roses

with different sections devoted to the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th


Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Drum Castle





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