If you enjoyed exploring the local gems in Aberdeen from RGU staff Megan Beaudry’s last blog, you need to add these next locations to your bucket list. This time, Megan shares her favourite castles near Aberdeen.
*Please refer to the Scottish Government COVID-19 restrictions for the latest advice on travelling restrictions*
It is no secret that Scotland is rich with history and home to some out of the most OUT OF THIS WORLD castles. What you may not know is that the best in the country can be found right here in the North East, so buckle up, and get ready for a magical adventure to my favourite castles in Aberdeenshire.
While this list is in no particular order, I have to admit that Dunnottar Castle is my favourite place in Scotland – and quite possibly the world. Picture this: it’s a beautiful sunny day, and you and your friends fancy some fresh air and a study break. You head to Stonehaven where you walk along the beach, pass through the harbour and make your way to the walking trail up to the castle. With every passing minute, you start to get a better view of the castle sitting majestically on a cliff overlooking the sea. The view is overwhelming and better than anything you’ve seen on Game of Thrones. Luckily, you’ve packed a picnic so you can relax and soak it all in before heading back to Stonehaven to enjoy an ice cream by the water. That right there is the perfect day and don’t try to tell me otherwise!
For the history buffs and movie lovers – Dunnottar Castle’s beginnings date all the way back to the 3rd Century and this impregnable fortress was once home to one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Earls Marischal. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood also loves this location. Dunnottar Castle has inspired many directors and also featured in films such as Hamlet, Victor Frankenstein, Mary Queen of Scots and was one of the inspirations for the the location in the Pixar animation film Brave!
Ever dream of being a Disney Princess? Well an afternoon at Craigievar Castle is about as close as you can get! Of the thousands of castles in Scotland, Craigievar’s unique pink towers draw in tourists from all over the world as it is said to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Here, you can enjoy the gardens and nearby woodland trails whilst admiring the scenic hills around you and capturing some pretty epic Instagram photos. And yes… it really is as stunning in real life as it is on the gram! Prepare to be enchanted.
Speaking of princesses… you can live out your real life royal dream on the Balmoral Castle grounds. Balmoral Castle has been one of the British Royal Family’s residences since 1852, and every year The Queen spends her summers there. You’d think a place as prestigious as this would be off-limits, but guess what!? You are allowed to visit! There’s so much to see and do that you can easily spend the whole day appreciating the fine architecture, exploring the gardens, and taking a guided tour of the stables and ballroom. A visit truly fit for a queen!
Set on a cliff’s edge near Cruden Bay, Slains Castle is both an eerie and beautiful place to visit. It is said that this castle provided author Bram Stoker with the inspiration for the famous novel Dracula. This is not surprising when you take in the ruins and dramatic location.
You may also be wondering why there is no roof… that can’t be ideal for Scottish weather, right? Well, once the castle was abandoned in 1925, the roof was actually removed to avoid paying taxes. Make sure to wrap up warm when you visit!
What’s your favourite castle in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire? Comment below!