Details of Crathes Castle near Aberdeen
Crathes Castle & Gardens
Fifteen miles west of Aberdeen, where the A93 meets the A957 from Stonehaven, is Crathes Castle, a perfect 'fairytale' castle built over 40 years in the mid-16th century. The turreted tower-house is still furnished with many period pieces and wall hangings, and is notable for its superb painted ceilings. There are narrow spiral staircases leading to tiny rooms, one of which is said to be inhabited by the obligatory ghost. The castle is well worth exploring but is almost overshadowed by the exceptional gardens, which shouldn't be missed. There are no fewer than eight of them, so take your time. There's also a visitor centre, restaurant and shop.
It is also worth taking one of several waymarked trails into surrounding countryside inhabited by roe deer and red squirrels.
King Robert the Bruce gifted the lands of Leys to the Burnett family in 1323: the ancient Horn of Leys, which can be seen today in the Great Hall, marks his gift.Some of the rooms still have their original painted ceilings and collections of family portraits and furniture. A walled garden, which incorporates herbaceous borders and many unusual plants is another attraction. The great yew hedges, that are perfect examples of the art of topiary, date from as early as 1702.Explore the estate on the seven waymarked trails (including one suitable for wheelchairs) that lead through the mixed woodlands,and the millpond.
A stroll along the Wild Side, explores the wildlife on the Crathes Estate.