Holidays in Glenlivet

Visitor Guide

Castles and Houses


Castles and Houses

in Glenlivet and the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Grampian,

Moray, Nairn and Inverness-shire


Reviewed Jan-Feb 2018


Please e-mail us with any comments, reports on broken links, suggestions or questions

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.


Bing Images - this is what you would see if you entered the visitor attraction in Microsoft's Bing search engine and clicked on images - so not all images guaranteed to be relevant!  Some attractions don't have a link because of doubts about the images displayed.


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                                                                             0.14   TA

Bing Images of Castle

Bing Images of Gardens

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Ballindalloch Castle

Family home of the Macpherson-Grants since 1546.  This is very much a lived-in

family home, filled with family memorabilia.  There are some excellent paintings including three by Allan Ramsey and a sizable collection of 17th century

Spanish paintings including an excellent portayal of St. Francis by Murillo.

Open Sunday to Friday (closed on Saturdays) from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm from Good Friday until

the end of September - last admission 4.00 pm. 

01807 500 205

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.

Tea Room




Corgarff Castle (Strathdon)                                                       0.22   TA

Historic Scotland Webpage for Corgarff

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Corgarff

Bing Images of Corgarff Castle

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 4.00pm

Nov to March: closed

Check website for unscheduled closures.  "Castle may close for lunch!"

Last entry 30 minutes before closing time.

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.

There is a 350m uphill walk from the car park to the Castle.  Visitors with disabilities can be set down nearer the castle by prior arrangement - telephone 01975 651 460.


AG *

Fort George (between Inverness and Nairn)                                                      1.20   TA

Historic Scotland Webpage for Fort George

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Fort George

Bing Images of 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.

Castle Opening times - last ticket sold 45 min before closing time.

April to September: daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

October to March: daily from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

Check website for unscheduled closures.

01667 460 232

Accessibility - Visitors with disabilities are normally asked on arrival about

any help they may need. Several wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available on a first-come-first-served basis. The car park is a couple of hundred metres from the Fort entrance.


The Highlanders Regimental Museum  TA

Highlanders Museum Website

Bing Images of Highlanders Museum

The Museum is also sited within the Fort and cannot be visited separately, but there is no further charge for visiting.  You’ll probably need at least a couple of hours to do it justice.

Museum Opening times

April to September: daily from 9.30 am to 4.45 pm

October to March: daily from 10.00 am to 3.15 pm

Museum closed at the weekend during December and January.

0131 310 8701



Dunrobin Castle   (Golspie)                                                        2.15   TA

Dunrobin Castle Website

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for the Castle

As you will see, this lies just outside our self-imposed limit of a two hour journey, but it's worth the effort.  This is one of the most stunning of all castles, built in the style of a French Chateau and set on a bluff lying just far enough back from the Moray Firth to accommodate a large formal garden.  The Earls and Dukes of Sutherland have had a castle on this site since the thirteenth century.  The original fortified keep still exists, the present structure resulting from numerous additions made from the sixteenth century onwards, which makes it one of the oldest inhabited house in Scotland.

The gardens are designed to be viewed from the Castle terrace, but you have to go down to them to visit the Museum.  The building was originally a summer house, but it was extended and converted into a museum to house a typical Victorian collection - a huge variety of stuffed animals shot by the family, cultural artifacts from around the world, archaeological relics, geological specimens, Pictish stones.  The museum has a real Victorian character to it and should not be missed.

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for the gardens

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for the museum

Opening times:

April - May: daily from 10.30 until 4.30 pm

June - September: daily from 10.00 until 5.00 pm

October: daily from 10.30 until 4.30 pm

Last entry 4.00 pm, and please note that the museum closes at 4.00 pm.

The Castle Website warns that opening times are subject to change - so check before you go - 01408 633 177 or click the Facebook link on their website.

There are falconry displays at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm

On the way to Dunrobin, you bypass the town of Dornoch, but its worth a detour - home not only to some wonderful beaches and golf courses, but to a variety of attractive buildings including the Cathedral and the Dornoch Castle Hotel.  There is also a museum in town.

The Cathedral was built here in the second quarter of the thirteenth century, when Gilbert, newly appointed Bishop of Caithness moved the seat of the diocese from Halkirk, just south of Thurso, after his two immediate predecessors had been murdered.  The original building was badly damaged by fire in 1570, and its restoration wasn't completed until the nineteenth century.  The Cathedral is open from 10.00 until 4.00 pm on Mondays to Fridays from mid May to mid September.     TA

Cathedral website

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Dornoch

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Dornoch Cathedral



Brodie Castle (west of Forres)                                                                                   0.58   TA

National Trust Webpage for Brodie Castle

Bing Images 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.

Grounds open daily all year

Castle Opening Times:

March to October - daily from 10.00 until 5.00 pm

November to February - daily from 11.00 until 3.00 pm

Closed around Christmas and New Year - check website

01309 641 371

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)                                                                                          1.00   TA

Bing Images for Cawdor Castle

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.

During 2017, the Castle was open daily from 10.00 until 5.00 pm from May to September.  2018 opening times not on their website when I reviewed this, so please check.

01667 404 401

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.

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Cawdor Castle

The following website gives information on the wee village of Cawdor

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Cawdor




Delgatie Castle  (near Turiff)                                                                                        1.07   TA

Delgatie Castle Website

Bing Images of Delgatie Castle

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 best places in Britain to have afternoon tea .

Open daily 10.00-5.00 except Christmas and New Year weeks

01888 563 479



Duff House  (Banff)                                                                   1.07   TA

Duff House Website

Bing Images of Duff House

National Gallery Website for Duff House

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 with works by Raeburn, Ramsay, Opie and Naysmith among others.  The Gallery website includes images of many of the works on display.

Opening times

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

1 April to 31 October ~ Open daily from 11am until to 5pm

Closed Deceber 25-26 and January 1-2

Check website for unscheduled closures.

Car park 200 metres from House, but disabled parking at back of House - check website for access issues.

Contact  01261 8181811

There is a Museum of Banff (founded back in 1828), but it is currently closed for refurbishment.

The River Deveron flows into the Moray Firth at Banff, and it's worth going down to the shore to have a look.  The seven arch bridge was built by John Smeaton who also built the Eddystone Lighthouse.

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Banff 


Leith Hall  (south of Huntly)                                                       1.02   TA

National Trust Webpage for Leith Hall

Bing Images for Leith Hall

Bing Images of Leith Hall Gardens

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.

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.

There is also a short woodland walk around a 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

The Hall if open for guided tours only - on the hour starting at 11.00 with the last tour at 3.00 pm.

April - June: Saturday and Sunday only

July - August: Thursday to Sunday

September: Saturday and Sunday only

01464 831 216


Fyvie Castle (between Turriff and Old Meldrum)                                            1.07   TA

National Trust Webpage for Fyvie Castle

Bing Images of Fyvie Castle

Bing Images of Grounds and Gardens

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


Gardens and grounds open daily all year round until sunset

Castle open from 11.00 until 5.00 pm as follows (last entry 4.30)

April to May: Saturday through to Wednesday

June to October: every day

September to October: Saturday through to Wednesday

01651 891 266


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)                                         1.18   TA

National Trust Webpage for Haddo House

Bing Images of 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

Gardens and Grounds open daily all year from 9.00 until sunset

House open as folows

April - June: daily from 12.00 until 3.oo pm

July - August: daily from 11.00 until 4.00 pm

September - October: daily from 12.00 until 3.00 pm

01651 851 440


Terrace garden with geometric rosebeds and fountain and lavish

herbaceous borders

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Haddo House



Balmoral Castle                                                                     0.49   TA

Balmoral Castle Website

Bing Images of Balmoral

Bing Images of Gardens

The Ballroom is the only part of the Castle that is open to the public, but there are various exhibitions in outbuildings and access to the formal and vegetable gardens.  About one and a half hours is recommended for a visit.  Audio tour - Gift shop - coffee shop.

Opening times for 2018 from 30th March to 31st July

daily from 10.00 until 5.00 pm (last admission 4.30)

01339 742 534



Braemar Castle                                                                                                                     0.57   TA

Braemar Castle Website

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Braemar Castle

Bing Images of Braemar Castle

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Braemar

A seventeenth century castle that was the home of the chief of the Clan Farquharson and is still full of the family's memorabilia.  In 2007, the Braemar Community took a lease on the Castle and embarked on a programme of restoration.  The Castle was re-opened to the public in 2008 and i manned by local volunteers.

The Castle's own website gives an account of the Castle's history.  The Undiscovered Scotland Webpage gives a good account of what you can see.

The entry price includes an audio tour, but there are also guided tours at weekends and daily during July and August.

Opening times:

April - June: Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 intil 5.00 pm

July - August: daily from 10.00 until 5.00 pm

September - October: Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 intil 5.00 pm

01339 741 219

Always check the website because the Castle is sometimes used for functions and thus closed for public visits.  It is also closed on the day of the Braemar Gathering.



Castle Fraser  (south of Kemnay)                                                                              1.08   TA

National Trust Webpage for Castle Fraser

Bing Images of 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

Castle open from 10.00 until 4.oo pm as follows

April - June: Wednesday through Sunday

July - August: every day

September - October: Wednesday through Sunday

Garden open daily all year round until sunset

01330 833 463


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

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Castle Fraser


Craigievar Castle  (near Alford)                                                                                1.05   TA

National Trust Webpage for Craigievar Castle

Bing Images for Craigievar

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.

Castle open from 10.30 until 5.00 as follows (last entry 4.00)

April - June: Friday to Tuesday

July - September: open every day

01339 883 635



Crathes Castle (near Banchory)                                                                                  1.19   TA

National Trust Webpage for Crathes Castle

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Crathes Castle

Bing Images for Crathes Castle

Bing Images for Gardens

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

Opening Times:

January - March: Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 until 4.00 pm

April - October: daily from 10.30 until 5.00 pm

November - 23rd December: Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 until 4.00 pm

01330 844 525

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)                                                         1.33   TA

National Trust Webpage for Drum Castle

Bing Images for Drum Castle

Bing Images of Garden

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

Castle open from 11.00 until 4.00 pm as follows:

January - March: Saturday and Sunday

April - May: Thursday through Monday

June - August: daily

September - October Thursday through Monday

November - 22nd December: Saturday and Sunday

Garden of Historic Roses open daily from 11.00 until 4.00 from April through October.

Grounds open all year, daily.

01330 700 334


Over recent years Drum has created a garden of historic roses

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






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