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


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User Reviews

Julia (8 months ago)
Original castle dates back to the 1300s. Added to in several different directions and eras. Lots of tiny rooms off a steep spiral staircase and a feeling of how the family lived. About a 100 years since owned by the lairds. Stunning situation, wonderful walled garden, great dog walking, toilets tearoom and gift shop Recommended
M Mair (9 months ago)
Excellent walks and grounds. The enclosed gardens have the most beautiful plants and many different species of Thistles. There were plants I had never seen before. They had not labelled them so that was a small disappointment. It would be a good idea to label the rather exotic looking plants for people viewing them. Well worth visiting.
Tom Anstruther (9 months ago)
We visited a few similar properties over our week away and this was by far the best. They had people in most rooms that could tell you about them and their history and really brought the place alive. There are walks you can do too , plenty to make it a worth while visit
Michael McCormack (9 months ago)
Wonderful castle and grounds. The self guided tour was nice and relaxed and the staff in some of the rooms were very friendly and full of information to answer any questions we had. The walled gardens are beautiful.
Christina Wood (11 months ago)
Had really lovely day at the castle and grounds. Got to learn interesting facts about the castles. Kids. £4, Adults £14, Concession £11. The castles gardens are really lovely at this time of year. Lots of lovely paths to walk around the grounds. Make a great day out to take the kids for a picnic. There is a small tea shop where you can get a takeaway, small gift shop and toilets.
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