Fraser Castle

Kemnay, United Kingdom

Fraser Castle is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland. The castle stands in over 1.2 km2 of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th century. There is archaeological evidence of an older square tower dating from around 1400 or 1500 within the current construction.

Originally known as Muchall-in-Mar, construction of the elaborate, five-storey Z-plan castle was begun in 1575 by Michael Fraser, on the basis of an earlier tower, and was completed in 1636. 

The castle was modernised in a classical style in the late 18th century, with a new entrance inserted in the south side and sash windows throughout. This work was supervised by Elyza Fraser, the lady laird, assisted by Mary Bristow. Elyza was also responsible for the landscaping of the grounds, sweeping away the remains of the original formal gardens and orchards, and for the construction of the impressive octagonal stable block.

The interiors of the building were entirely reconstructed again between 1820 and 1850, by Charles Fraser, using the architects John Smith and William Burn. The Library is a fine example of John Smith's regency style with Tudor detailing. External works during this period included the construction of the twin gatehouses (still extant), and a grand domed stair and access corridors with loggias in the courtyard (removed).

Castle Fraser retains the atmosphere of a family home and still contains the original contents, including Fraser family portraits, furniture and collections. The evocative interiors represent all periods of the castle's history, from the Medieval stone vaulted Great Hall to the Regency Dining Room.

Today, the castle is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The castle is open to visitors from Easter to October. The grounds and walled gardens are open year round. It can be hired for weddings, dinners, conferences and corporate events.

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Address

Kemnay, United Kingdom
See all sites in Kemnay

Details

Founded: 1575-1636
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sarah Hammonds-Keyte (2 months ago)
Visited on Good Friday for an Easter Egg Hunt. Car park quite busy, but well managed with marshalls. Staff at car park ticket machine (£4 for the day) and entrance to collect Easter Egg hunt quiz sheet and pencil. Lovely grounds and walled garden, would go back later in year to see it in flower and view inside the Castle. Prize collected from gift shop (dairy free, sugar free, gluten free, soya free, palm oil free, suitable for vegans Easter Egg). Tea room was busy and not that many tables, however there were a few tables outside ..... 2 drinks and 2 snacks £12. Lots of outdoor space to take a picnic next time. Second hand book shop (£1-£1.50) and Castle Fraser honey on sale. Overall, lovely Castle and grounds - well worth the visit. Only reason for 4 stars was the tearoom size and toilets not visited ?‍♀️ (we do live local!).
Gemma McKie (2 months ago)
We stayed in the East Wing for 2 nights, and it was lovely. Comfortable, welcoming, peaceful and warm. It's got to be the coolest place I've ever stayed in. The Castle and grounds are amazing, and the private tour with Gillian on the 29th Feb was brilliant! The tea room staff were lovely (I had a wonderful cheese scone and hot choc!). The staff in the shop were really helpful and welcoming. I wish I could buy Castle Fraser Honey at home!!! ?
Neil Low (3 months ago)
Only 1 hrs drive away ,wish I had made the effort years ago. Visited in mid Feb and and got a behind the scenes tour ,approx 1.5 hrs . Plenty of history with this old building . Walled garden is very nice. Large play park for children with chainsaw carvings
Andrew Brown (7 months ago)
We had a lovely few hours here enjoying the gardens and grounds. We didn't go inside the castle itself because we had our dog with us. We visited the walled garden, the adjacent field where dogs can run off lead, and the walk through the woods. We also visited the tea room, which is dog friendly, enjoying tea and cake (gluten free options available).
Steve M (8 months ago)
Thoroughly enjoyed returning to Castle Fraser after 7 years. Touring the house is self-guided, which is definitely our preference (wish NTS did self-guided at all sites, maybe with QR codes to web pages detailing each room). The house has numerous fully furnished rooms, including original furniture through the ages (oldest chairs are 1600s). Several rooms have guides who are both helpful and enthusiastic about the castle’s history and artifacts. The house also has some quirks, including a couple of small openings to spy on rooms below. This is a tower castle, so another fun part of the visit is accessing most rooms by climbing the turret stairs. The proverbial icing on the tower castle is the large open deck at the top floor, which boasts incredible views. The large walled garden is another must-see (entrance is on the south side). We visited in mid-September, yet the garden was still colourful, productive (vegetables), and active (plenty of butterflies and bees at work). Guides in the house have information about how Fraser Castle introduced advanced garden techniques hundreds of years ago. The property also has some walks, which were so-so. Aside for needing more signage, most forested areas were small strips between fields and with younger trees. One area was completely logged.
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