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23 Iconic Buildings to explore in Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It has a rich prehistoric and historic heritage. It is the locus of a large number of Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, including Longman Hill, Kempstone Hill, Catto Long Barrow and Cairn Lee. There are also so many other things to see and do around this county.

Abergeldie Castle
Abergeldie CastleBallater AB35 5SY, UK

Abergeldie Castle is a modest 16th century four-floor tower house overlooking the River Dee a short distance downstream of the Royal family’s hunting lodge of Balmoral Castle. It consists of a single rectangular tower with a round turret which serves all three floors and the attic, and is not accessible to the public. Behind it rises Creag nam Ban, a rounded granite hill about 527 metres high, and across the river to its front is the cairn-crowned Geallaig Hill, rising to 743 metres.

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral CastleBalmoral Estates, Ballater AB35 5TB, UK

Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848. The castle is an example of Scottish baronial architecture, and is classified by Historic Environment Scotland as a category A listed building. The new castle was completed in 1856 and the old castle demolished shortly thereafter.

Braemar Castle
Braemar CastleBraemar, Ballater AB35 5XR, UK

A 17th century castle with a colourful past and an exciting future. Built by the Earl of Mar in 1628, it has been hunting lodge, fortress, garrison and family home. The castle is centred on a round tower set within a curtain wall, and defended by an iron yett. The interiors feature fine furniture, including pieces by Chippendale and Hepplewhite. In summer it was a hunting lodge, but its main purpose was to defend the Mar estates against the neighbouring Farquharson clan of Inverey.

Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate
Castle Fraser, Garden & EstateSauchen, Inverurie AB51 7LD, UK

Castle Fraser is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland and one of the grandest 'Castles of Mar'. It is located near Kemnay in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. The castle stands in over 300 acres of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th century. From the striking simplicity of the medieval Great Hall to the well-stocked library and Victorian bedrooms, a tour of the castle gives a sense of walking through history.

Corgarff Castle
Corgarff Castle8m W of Strathdon on the, A939, Strathdon AB36 8YP, UK

Corgarff Castle is a tower-house, located on sloping land to the south of the River Don. Built as a hunting-lodge in the mid-sixteenth century, it was converted into a Hanoverian garrison in 1748. The lodge was reputedly built by the Earl of Mar, but passed to the Forbes family soon after. Corgarff itself briefly housed a distillery in the 1820s. A small whisky still from the period is displayed in one of the two pavilions added to the castle by the army.

Craigievar Castle
Craigievar CastleCraigievar, Alford AB33 8JF, UK

Craigievar Castle is a picturesque fortified tower house in Aberdeenshire, said to be the inspiration for the fairytale Disney castle. The setting is among scenic rolling foothills of the Grampian Mountains, and the contrast of its massive lower storey structure to the finely sculpted multiple turrets, gargoyles and high corbelling work to create a classic fairytale appearance. It was the seat of Clan Sempill and the Forbes family resided here for 350 years until 1963.

Craigston Castle
Craigston CastleCraigston Castle, Turriff AB53 5PX, UK

Craigston Castle is a 17th century castle, set in 250 acres of grounds in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was built in 1607, with an ornate balcony. The interiors are largely original, decorated with portraits of Scottish kings. The castle is composed of two main wings flanking the entrance and connected by an elevated arch, and surmounted by a richly corbelled parapet. There are bases for corner turrets near the top corner of each wing, but the turrets themselves do not appear to have ever been co

Crathes Castle
Crathes CastleCrathes, Banchory AB31 5QJ, UK

Crathes Castle is one of the most impressive castles in Scotland. With its classic Scottish tower house design, featuring a jumble of cone-roofed turrets, ramparts, and towers, there’s something pleasantly Disneyesque about Crathes Castle, which is magnified by its faintly pink harled exterior. 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

Delgatie Castle
Delgatie CastleDelgatie Castle, Delgaty, Turriff AB53 5TD, UK

Delgatie Castle is a castle near Turriff, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Like many castles, Delgatie is rumoured to be haunted. A number of reports of a ghostly red-haired figure, supposedly one Alexander Hay, were made by soldiers posted there during the Second World War. The castle's information boards, mostly written by Captain Hay who restored the house in the 1950s, recount that the ghost was first seen when a body was found bricked up in a priest hole.

Drum Castle - Garden & Estate
Drum Castle - Garden & EstateDrumoak, Banchory AB31 5EY, UK

Drum Castle is a castle near Drumoak in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. For centuries it was the seat of the chief of Clan Irvine. The place-name Drum is derived from Gaelic druim, 'ridge'. The site is located approximately 6+1⁄2 miles northeast of Banchory and 3 miles west of Peterculter. The property is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is open to the public.

Duff House
Duff HouseBanff AB45 3SX, UK

Duff House is a Georgian estate house in Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland, it is part of the National Galleries of Scotland and is a Category A listed building. The house and the associated Fife gates, walled garden, Collie lodge, mausoleum, ice house, Bridge Gates House and the Eagles Gate lodge are designated as Category A listed group of buildings.

Dunnideer Castle
Dunnideer CastleInsch AB52 6LN, UK

Dunnideer Castle is one of the most visible castles in Aberdeenshire. It can be see on its hilltop site just west of Insch for many miles, and has extensive views in all directions except the south. The hill it is built on overlooks the Shevock, a burn which flows into the River Urie about four miles to the east. The valley of the Shevock links upper Strathbogie with the Garioch, and therefore the castle guards an important route – which has been important for thousands of years.

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar CastleStonehaven AB39 2TL, UK

Dunnottar Castle is a dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress that was the home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, this romantic and haunting ruin is a photographer’s paradise, a history lover’s dream and an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over. Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's invading army in the 17th century.

Findlater Castle
Findlater CastlePortsoy, Banff AB45 2UD, UK

Findlater is one of the most dramatical situated of any Scottish castle, perched on a promontory joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, with almost sheer cliffs on the other three sides. The cliffs reach 90 feet in places, while the level surface of the castle promontory is some 30 feet below the level of the surrounding mainland cliffs, meaning that it can only be reached by a steep and irregular path.

Fyvie Castle
Fyvie CastleFyvie, Turriff AB53 8JS, UK

Fyvie Castle’s 800-year history is rich in legends, folklore and even ghost stories. Discover the amazing collection of antiquities, armour and lavish oil paintings. Stroll around the picturesque loch, or visit the restored glass-roofed racquets court and ice house. It was a magnificent fortress in the heart of Aberdeenshire.

Haddo House
Haddo HouseMethlick, Ellon AB41 7EQ, UK

Haddo House is a spectacular country house designed by William Adam and built in the years between 1731 and 1736. Today the house is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and open to the public. The surrounding country park is operated by Aberdeenshire Council, while the extremely large Haddo Estate, of which the country park forms only a small part, continues to function as a farming and sporting estate.

Huntly Castle
Huntly CastleCastle St, Huntly AB54 4SH, UK

Huntly Castle is a ruined castle north of Huntly in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where the rivers Deveron and Bogie meet. It was the ancestral home of the chief of Clan Gordon, Earl of Huntly. There have been four castles built on the site that have been referred to as Huntly Castle, Strathbogie Castle or Peel of Strathbogie. The original wooden castle was built on a motte. The second castle, made of stone, was built on the northern end of the bailey. The third and modern castles were built to the e

Kildrummy Castle
Kildrummy CastleKildrummy, Alford AB33 8RA, UK

Kildrummy Castle was once one of the most magnificent and imposing castles in Scotland. It was built in about 1250 by the Earl of Mar. The castle was intended to consolidate the Mar dynasty's hold over north-eastern Scotland and was located where it could command important routes across the region. It may have replaced an earlier castle built on a motte a mile to the north east and since occupied by Kildrummy Kirkyard.

Kincardine Castle
Kincardine CastleKincardine O'Neil, Aboyne AB34 5AE, UK

Kincardine Castle is a Victorian country house in Royal Deeside, Scotland. Formerly known as Kincardine House, it is private home which also operates as a hospitality venue. The house sits 1 kilometre north-east of the village of Kincardine O'Neil, and 8 kilometres east of Aboyne on the north side of the River Dee, Aberdeenshire.

Leith Hall Garden & Estate
Leith Hall Garden & EstateLeith Hall Garden & Estate, Huntly AB54 4NQ, UK

Leith Hall is a country house in Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was built in 1650, on the site of the medieval Peill Castle, and was the home of the Leith-Hay family for nearly three centuries. Since 1945 it has been run by the National Trust of Scotland. Leith Hall is set in a 286-acre estate with scenic gardens.

Map of Iconic Buildings to explore in Aberdeenshire