The origins of Drum Castle, one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses, can be traced back to the 14th century. Home to the Irvine family for more than six centuries, the estate—now owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS)—features a medieval grand hall, a Jacobean mansion house, a Victorian-era library, and an ancient oak forest.
Visitors to Drum Castle can explore the castle interior during a guided tour. Guided tours include a visit to the medieval High Hall, the chance to view the original charter granted by Robert the Bruce, and the opportunity to climb to the top of 700-year-old Drum Tower. Afterward, wander through the walled gardens, including the wonderfully scented Garden of Historic Roses.
For those who don’t want to tour the castle, it’s possible to pay for admission to the walled gardens only. And for visitors who want to check off other NTS-managed sites, consider a National Trust for Scotland Discover Ticket, which provides access to 90 different Scottish attractions.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Drum Castle is a must for history buffs and nature lovers.
- A café and shop are located at the castle.
- Get child-friendly quizzes from reception to keep little ones entertained.
- Pick up a map of the estate at the notice board in the parking lot to help you navigate.
- Only the ground floor of the castle is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Drum Castle is situated near Drumoak in Aberdeenshire, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Aberdeen. Stagecoach North Scotland bus services 201, 202, and 203 depart from Aberdeen and stop at Drum Castle Road End, about 20–30 minutes from the castle on foot.
When to Get There
The castle is open daily from June through August, and Thursday–Monday during April, May, September, and October. Between November and March, visit on weekends, as the castle is closed midweek. The castle also closes during the Christmas and New Year’s period. The grounds are open year-round, though the Garden of Historic Roses is open only April–October. Perhaps the best time to visit is in June or July, when the roses are in full bloom.
Exploring the Castle’s Ancient Oak Forest
Adjacent to the castle is an ancient oak forest, where centuries-old trees grow. Visitors who want to get active can choose among several trails. Follow the 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) Woodland Walk or the 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) Drumhill Trail and see if you can spot local wildlife, including roe deer, red kites, and badgers, along the way.