Craigievar Castle

Alford, United Kingdom

Craigievar Castle was the seat of Clan Sempill and the Forbes family resided here for 350 years until 1963, when the property was given to the National Trust for Scotland. The setting is among scenic rolling foothills of the Grampian Mountains. The contrast of its massive lower storey structure to the finely sculpted multiple turrets, gargoyles and high corbelling work create a classic fairytale appearance.

An excellent example of the original Scottish Baronial architecture, the great seven-storey castle was completed in 1626 by the Aberdonian merchant William Forbes. Forbes purchased the partially completed structure from the impoverished Mortimer family in the year 1610.

Designed in the L plan, Craigievar is noted for its exceptionally crafted plasterwork ceilings. The castle originally had more defensive elements including a walled courtyard with four round towers; only one of the round towers remains today. In the arched door to that round tower are preserved the carved initials of Sir Thomas Forbes, William Forbes' son. There is also a massive iron portcullis or gate covering the entrance door which is named a yett.

The estate is open to the public from Easter until the end of September. The castle is strictly guided tours only.



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Founded: 1626
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andrew Rogers (2 years ago)
Stunning castle and free guided tour. Very interesting history. For those with mobility issues there are 73 steps on a narrow spiral staircase.
Julie Dickinson (JuJu61) (2 years ago)
The castle was closed when we visited, so could not go inside the castle. There is a walk you can do, but when the castle is shut, there is nothing else to see, e.g. no gardens to stroll around, no lake etc. which is a real shame. The daffodils were in full bloom though which did look lovely. Also, the toilets were closed because the castle was closed and there was no disabled toilet for people with a radar key to access, or nappy change facilities. If this would be a problem then it's best not to go if the castle is closed. It is a very lovely castle splendid in its pinkness and the views are magnificent across the fields and mountains.
Doogie Scott (2 years ago)
Great trip. Excellent tour guides. Very knowledgeable.
Jennifer Brown (3 years ago)
Lovely fairytale castle. The staff are very good at telling its story. Beware it has very steep and narrow steps.
CHRISTINE Browning (3 years ago)
Lovely setting for this castle. Excellent guides giving lots of interesting information. Woodland walks. Snack kiosk - great ginger beer which we enjoyed on a very warm day.
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