Crathes Castle was built over a 43 year period from 1553 – 96 by the Burnett family. They were a prominent local family who had lived in the area since the early 14th century when Alexander Burnard was made Royal Forester of Drum by Robert the Bruce. The Horn of Leys, which was presented to Alexander by Robert the Bruce in 1323, is on display in Crathes Castle.
The Burnards, later known as Burnett, originally lived on an island in the Loch of Leys (now drained) before moving to their new, more comfortable castle at Crathes. It remained their home for more than 350 years until the castle was given to the National Trust for Scotland in 1951.
The castle is an L-shaped tower house with a modern two-storey range built to replace an 18th century wing that burnt down in 1966. The castle features some impressive painted ceilings that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, most notably in the Room of the Nine Nobles. The entire top floor is taken up by a long gallery, a room used for exercise in bad weather and as a place to display the best pictures and furniture.
Beside the castle is a beautiful walled garden, which would originally have been the kitchen garden but is now full of flowers and birdsong. There are also many walks through the surrounding estate.
- On A93, 3 miles east of Banchory and 15 miles west of Aberdeen
- Crathes Castle, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, AB31 5QJ
- National Trust for Scotland. Open to public. Entrance fee for non-members.
- For further information visit www.nts.org.uk
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