Boasting conical-roofed turrets, towers, and battlements, this pink-hued Scottish Baronial-style tower house is one of several properties said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Constructed in 1626, the property is replete with original features, precious artworks, and historical artifacts including armor and weapons.
The former home of the prominent Forbes family, Craigievar Castle is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The castle is accessible only by guided tours, which take place on a first-come first-served basis ever 30 minutes or so. Tour guides show visitors around the castle interior, where they can see works by renowned Scottish artists, including Sir Henry Raeburn and George Jamesone, and the magnificent Great Hall, which features intricate Jacobean woodwork. After, visitors are free to explore the parkland surrounding the castle.
Travelers who want to see other National Trust for Scotland-managed sites can purchase a Discover Ticket. This sightseeing pass provides access to more than 90 attractions all around Scotland, including Craigievar Castle, Culloden Battlefield, Culzean Castle, and Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Craigievar Castle is a must for history buffs and art lovers.
- Hot drinks and snacks can be purchased at the castle’s kiosk. Alternatively, pack a picnic and enjoy it on the grounds.
- No artificial lighting is found on the upper floors of the castle, so visitors experience it as its original 17th-century inhabitants would have.
- With stepped access, the castle is not suitable for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
With no public transport servicing the castle, the best way to get here is by car or organized tour. Craigievar Castle is 26 miles (42 kilometers) west of Aberdeen. Follow the B9119 before taking the Old Military Road (A980) turnoff. Look out for brown National Trust for Scotland signs.
When to Get There
Castle tours run from April through September. One of the best times to visit is in early summer, when bluebells blossom amid the woodland trails. The grounds are open year-round and are especially nice for a stroll on a crisp autumn afternoon.
Exploring the Estate
Set on a picturesque hillside amid the rolling Aberdeenshire hills, Craigievar Castle offers easy access to nature. The grounds are crisscrossed by two signposted trails. The 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) Hill Trail leads by the orchard and kitchen garden, to a viewpoint overlooking the Bennachie hills. The 0.79-mile (1.2-kilometer) Woodland Trail leads past Douglas fir, monkey puzzle trees, and giant redwoods. In spring and summer, woodland blooms such as meadowsweet and celandine can be seen.