New Slains Castle, to distinguish it from nearby Old Slains Castle, was originally a 16th-century tower house, built by the 9th Earl of Erroll. The wings around the courtyard were extended in 1664 by addition of a gallery or corridor, and in 1707 the entrance front was renewed.

In the 1830s the 18th Earl commissioned the Aberdeen architect John Smith to remodel the castle. This resulted in a virtual rebuilding of Slains in a Scots Baronial style, including granite facings, in 1836–1837. Gardens were laid out in the late 1890s.


At first inspection the ruin appears to be a blend of several different architectural styles and periods, due to diverse masonry including older mortared granite, mortared medieval red brick, mortared sandstone and newer well faced granite. In fact most of the architecture seems to derive from a rather cohesive interval 1597 to 1664, which construction is the most expansive and includes the mortared rough granite and medieval brick. The 1836 work adds smoother granite facing that contrasts with the older construction style.

The defensive works of the castle include use of the North Sea cliffs; an abyss to the west that functions as a deep impassable moat; and a ruined rampart that would have been the main entrance on the south. The ruins include reasonably well preserved elements of three- and four-storey structural elements and a basement course over some of the range, especially at the eastern side. There are well-preserved basement kitchen works with numerous firepits and masonry indented storage spaces. The internal doorways are primarily of well-preserved wooden lintel construction, with numerous examples of mortared sandstone and medieval brickwork archways. The interior of the ground level is a maze of passageways and smaller rooms, reflecting a high state of occupancy in 17th-century times.



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Founded: c. 1597
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Daisuke Kaga (10 months ago)
Fun fact: Slains Castle was the inspiration for Dracula!! Watch out for vampires! It’s a lovely roofless castle with not too many visitors. You can go up the steps and explore, some areas are dark and spooky but it’s all fun. Family friendly and pet friendly.
neil hedley (10 months ago)
A must see / visit! Parking is limited, with a short walk to the castle. Path is pretty flat, easy to walk on. You can explore the ruins and walk inside. If it's been raining it can be a bit muddy in places. Spectacular views over the coast definitely work a visit.
Sandra D (11 months ago)
This place is lovely for some long walks, which go from and to this castle ruin. It is free of charge, no security people or anything, so quite dangerous walking around when visiting it, so you have to be very careful! (Not very suitable for kids running around that's for sure). I loved how relaxing it is with all the fields around the castle, and enjoyed the view to the sea.
Exploring With Beard (11 months ago)
These are some incredible ruins. Whilst ruins, they’re still remarkably intact. There’s even a staircase still there where you can climb several floors(at your own risk of course). We were there on a Misty day which added to the atmosphere. The ruins are a leisurely 10/15 minute easy walk from the car park. Highly recommend if you’re in the area.
Kien G. Low (2 years ago)
Beautiful ruin by the sea.
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