Crathes castle has turrets, gargoyles, 16th-century painted ceilings and ancient, great yew hedges. This castle is nestled on a hilltop on the grounds including a walled garden where the hedges are from the 17th centuries. In the right season blooming poppy hills around the castle for a gorgeous fairytale view. There is a 16th century tower house with a maze of turrets, and towers for a great view of Aberdeenshire. There are 6 nature trails on the castle grounds where you can try to spot deer, squirrels, woodpeckers, buzzards and herons. There is also a shop and a cafe on the grounds you can visit. Crathes Castle is right up the road from Drum Castle and is on the same bus route. These are two great castles to visit on the same trip. This is the second closest castle outside of Aberdeen city and is a great day trip outside of the city.
How to get there
Crathes castle is about 17miles and around 30 minutes outside of the city. In Scotland, you buy bus passes based on zones and how far you want to go outside the city. Make sure you look up what zone the castles you want to visit are in and buy the right ticket. Crathes castle (Crathes, Banchory AB31 5QJ, UK ) is off road A93, which is on bus line 201, the orange line in the bus zones. When the bus stopped, I had about a mile and a half walk to Crathes castle.
- Adult £13.00
- Family £30.00
- One adult family £25.00
- Concession £10.00
- 1 Jan–4 Jan 2019, closed
- 5 Jan–31 Mar, Sat & Sun, 11.00–16.00
- 1 Apr–31 Oct, daily, 10.30–17.00
- 1 Nov–22 Dec, Sat & Sun, 11.00–16.00
- Jan 2020–Mar, Sat & Sun, 11.00–16.00
This castle is one of the best with how many miles of nature trails it includes on its property with different view points. There are so many gorgeous woodland trails to explore. The trails with information and maps are below.
This is a 1.5 mile nature trail that takes around 1 hour. This is an easy to moderate walk in an unsurfaced woodland. This trail covers the southern half of the estate under old sycamore trees. There is a loop to see the quarry. The path takes you to the picturesque mill pond. Trail map here.
The Coy Burn Trail
This trail is almost 2 miles long and takes around 1 hour. This is also an unsurfaced peaceful woodland trail as it comes along the River Dee. This is where there is Atlantic salmon. There is lots of Scots pine, birch and alder trees you walk beneath. There is water wildlife to see, herons, grey wagtails and dippers. Trail map here.
The North Trail
This trail is 1 and a fourth miles and takes around 45-60 minutes. The trail goes through a Scots pine plantation with views to Banchory and beyond. There are sweet singing birds and lots of red squirrels to see in autumn. Trail map here.
The Ley Way
This is a 4 mile trail that takes 2-3 hours. This is a more legitimate hike on the property grounds rather than a simple nature walk and is a moderate hike. This is the longest trail on grounds and includes some of the other trails. Trail map here.
The West Trail
This trail is the shortest being 3/4 of a mile. It takes between 30-45 minutes. This trail has Caroline’s Garden with exotic and native plants and beech trees on rocks. You walk under oak and birch trees and lots of growing fungi. There is a steep granite outcrop with a beautiful viewpoint. Trail map here.
The Viewpoint Trail
This is the other shortest and easiest trail being 1/4 of a mile and taking 15-30 minutes. The trail comes to a viewpoint over Dee Valley that is beautiful. The woodland is filled with flowers and grasses here in the spring and summer. Trail map here.
There is an adventure center with a treetop rope trail on the grounds of the castle nearby. This is a one of a kind activity great for kids. They have a beautiful wooden playground and a large wooded play area.
- Play at Wild Wood Adventure- Ascend the Green Lady’s Tower, climb up the rock face challenge and ride the zip wire. Open year round except for January, February and December 10:30am-5pm.
- Free garden tours are open April to October, every Wednesday at 2pm.
- The castle is open for guided tours during winter weekends. Guided tours take place at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.