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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Angela Jackson-Barnes (2 years ago)
Beautiful day to spend walking round the gardens at Castle Fraser. Picnic at one of the picnic tables, dog walk near a little stream and the kids played in the playpark. Even bought some books at the second hand bookshop. Lovely day even though we didn't go into the castle this time.
Jim Ness (2 years ago)
well worth a visit , catch this in the good weather and get the best out of both the castle and the gardens , very picturesque with history thrown in. the walled garden was in full bloom on our last visit which made for some fantastic pictures. i enjoyed looking around the castle from the floor to the roof and afterwards enjoyed my sit down in the little tearoom
Deborah Ratcliffe (2 years ago)
Walk and Cafe only visit...great for walking the dogs and tiring out kids. 5*. However the cafe was full with a coach party and no space so didn't try. So can't rate it. We had come to eat and we're very disappointed by the unfriendly staff attitude. ...obviously under pressure from the large group, but we felt a wry smile and a sorry might have been offered. Instead we felt awkward and, as we walked away ... annoyed.
Gavin Stirling (3 years ago)
Our favourite Aberdeenshire castle, always lovely to walk around at all times of the year. The improvements to the play area are great. We love the new giraffe and elephant!
J Wood (3 years ago)
Good castle with turrets which means lots of stairs up one side and down the other. Not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. Although one of the previous owners had a selection of wooden legs and got round the castle fine. At least it has banisters. Tea room served nice food. All the staff in the castle, tea room and shop were friendly and helpful. I like that they wear the Frazer tartan sashes. I am sure the gardens would be lovely in the summer when in full bloom.
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