History Of Crathes Castle
The lands where Crathes Castle was built were a gift to the Burnett of Leys from King Robert the Bruce in the 1300’s. The Burnett family began building the tower house in the 1550’s, but was not completed until the 1590’s. It certainly stands out in its pale colour amongst the greenery.
In the 17th century a further wing was added to the castle and the family also constructed other castles nearby. The gardens are stunning and have Yew trees dating back to the 17th century and many other old trees to admire.
Inside The Castle
When we entered the castle the boys were given a sheet of things to find in each room, it’s always interesting to go on a treasure hunt! However, the castle had lots of other interesting things to find too.
I have to say that the staff in the castle were great, very informative and one particular lady was fantastic with the kids. She showed us the unusual picture made from strips of fabric that could be 3 different pictures depending where you stood. She also showed us the carvings on the bed frame, which have been intricately carved including the faces of the Burnetts whose bed it was.
On the way up the first set of steps there is a special ‘trip step’ to look for. It is slightly larger than the other and would hopefully trip up anyone coming into the tower to attack.
In the rooms above there are some spectacular ceilings, we actually lay down on the floor to get a good view of them! One has many famous knights and the other female figures, they are rather intriguing!
With a ticket to enter the castle you can also visit the stunning gardens, however we ran out of time for this on our visit.
We did manage to visit some of the extensive network of paths in the woodlands around the castle. There are many different routes to choose from and a huge array of beautiful tree specimens. Of course there are plenty of areas for the kids (and adults) to climb and explore!
Cafe and Play Park
Beside the castle is a small courtyard which houses a cafe and an attached play park. The original adventure play park no longer exists, although there is a Go Ape activity area for older children and adults.
The cafe serves delicious food, locally produced. The boys had a lunch box each and we enjoyed cooked meals ourselves. I also loved the artwork for sale in the cafe area, some gorgeous and colourful impressions of Crathes Castle.
The boys spent a fair amount of time pretending to be knights of the castle in the playpark. Fortunately it wasn’t too busy! The park is mainly for young children, but there is plenty to keep them occupied if parents want a little rest.
* We received National Trust for Scotland passes to allow us entry to NTS properties.