Crathes Castle is a 16th-century castle near Banchory in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. Construction of the current tower house of Crathes Castle was begun in 1553 but delayed several times during its construction due to political problems during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. It was completed in 1596 by Alexander Burnett of Leys, and an additional wing added in the 18th century.

This harled castle was built by the Burnetts of Leys and was held in that family for almost 400 years. The castle and grounds are owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and are open to the public.

The castle contains a significant collection of portraits, and intriguing original Scottish renaissance painted ceilings survive in several Jacobean rooms.

During 2004 excavations uncovered a series of pits believed to date from about 10,000 years ago. The find was only analysed in 2013 and is believed to be the world's oldest known lunar calendar. It is believed that it was used from 8,000 BC to about 4,000 BC. It is believed to pre-date by up to five thousand years previously known time-measuring monuments in Mesopotamia.



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Founded: 1553-1596
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martin Molzahn (2 months ago)
Pleasant experience. Honestly, bring the kids. There is Wild Adventure Play, perfect for the kids. Nice easy walks all around, and a coffee shop. There is plenty of parking too, and wonderful photo opportunities all around.
GK 69 (7 months ago)
A wonderful, historic castle set in beautiful gardens. However, the castle interior tour is not suitable for disabled persons. The spiral stairs are narrow, steep with either thin metal rail or a rope to support yourself. My visit was a self-guided tour. This was fine, but I feel I missed a lot of the history that the guides provide. I also felt the laminated info sheets were not the most hygienic way for visitors to discover this wonderful place. The gardens are superb with red squirrels and other wildlife to see.
David Richards (7 months ago)
Excellent trip to Crathes. Our first visit for many years. No guide this time but easy to navigate with their one way system. Also had an excellent lunch in the cafe. It is good to know the money spent in the cafe goes in helping to maintain the building and gardens.
Alex Watson (8 months ago)
What an amazing visit to this historic castle. On entering to the castle we were met by two lovely NT ladies, one explained the H&S aspect as well as explaining the how to navigate around the interior. The castle most certainly didn't disappointing such an interesting historic building. Thanks to the staff within the castle you were ?????. Sadly we can't say the same about the cafe staff. On entering the cafe at 3.35pm we were confronted with 3 staff members standing at the back of the service area arms folded, we asked if there was a soup of the day the answer to that question was NO then we were directed by the pointing of a finger to a chilled display of around about 4 packed sandwiches. I did say to one female staff member you look like you don't want to be here. No warm welcome, no hot food, no menus on display, and overall couldn't care attitude.
Ruby Diamond (9 months ago)
Scotland and the castle trail is amazing...all the staff has been fantastic along with having the National Trust of Scotland membership pays for itself!! Be prepared for a challenging walk/hike/and vertical spiral stair need to hit the gym ! The gardens exceptional.... The castle is so unique and we'll traced family history was so nice to see all the family history and appreciate they have shared it with us.... Do not miss this castle!!!
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