Crathes Castle, looking down on the river Leys, is a baronial tower house begun in 1553. It currently is ivy clad. It is the seat of the family of Burnett of Leys who occupied it for 350 years.The grounds encompass 600 acres.
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Painted ceilings, period furniture, and family portraits are of special interest. Turrets and gargoyles add interest. The kitchen chambers are vaulted. A prison hole is on view.
Of particular interest is the ancient ivory carved Horn of Leys given in 1323 to Alexander Burnett by King Robert the Bruce.
From the long gallery there are views over the gardens. In the grounds is a 3.75 acre walled garden within which are eight superb individual gardens of beautiful shape, colour and design. There are 10 miles of marked nature trails, greenhouses, and a wild garden. Wildlife include deer and squirrels.
Crathes Castle is a National Trust for Scotland property. There are seasonal events, an adventure playground, a playground, plant sales, and a restaurant. A car park is provided.
Three miles (5km) east of Banchory; 15 miles west of Aberdeen
On the A93
Grampian (Aberdeenshire and Moray)
Tel. 0 1330 844 525
Open: Grounds & Estate: all year, daily; Castle: 9 Jan-24 Mar, Sat and Sun, 11am–3.45pm, 25 March–31 Oct, Mon–Sun, 10.30am-5pm, 1 Nov–23 Dec, Sat & Sun11am-3.45pm; Garden: 5 Jan–24 March, daily 11am–4pm; 25 March–31 Oct, daily 10.30am–5pm; 1 Nov–23 Dec, daily 11am–4pm
Photos © by Barbara Ballard except walled garden and view over grounds courtesy National Trust for Scotland.