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Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire

Location: Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, AB51 7LD (map and directions)

The 15th century Castle Fraser is an elaborate Z-plan baronial structure and ancestral home of the Fraser family. Located in Kemnay, Castle Fraser sits 16 miles west of Aberdeen, within 300 square acres of woodland, farmland and a walled garden.

Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire
Castle Fraser © Karora

History of Castle Fraser

Construction began in 1575 by Michael Fraser, the 6th Laird of Fraser, and was completed in 1636. In the 1700s Castle Fraser, which was originally known as Muchall-in-Mar, was modernised under the supervision of Elyza Fraser, the then lady-laird, who was also responsible for landscaping the grounds and for the construction of the castle’s octagonal stable block. The interior of the castle was entirely reconstructed by Charles Fraser from 1820-1850, using the architects John Smith and William Burn. Smith’s influence can be seen in the regency-style library and while most of Burn’s gothic designs were not carried out, a gothic-style pipe organ was installed (now at nearby Kemnay Church).

In 1897 the last male Fraser of the direct line, Frederick Mackenzie Fraser, died childless, and 24 years later his widow, Theodora, sold the castle to Weetman Pearson, First Viscount Cowdray. The Pearson family restored the castle and gifted it to the National Trust for Scotland in 1976. The National Trust for Scotland increased the size of the estate by purchasing an additional 320 acres of surrounding land.
Castle Fraser in Aberdeenshire
Castle Fraser © Karora

Castle Fraser retains the feel of a family home, with family portraits, an original library with family books, original furniture and mementoes, though it also has a ghostly history, as many Scottish castles do. A princess was rumoured to have been brutally murdered, and her body dragged down the stairs. Try as they might, the owners at the time could not scrub away the blood stains, covering them instead with wood panelling – which remains today. In addition, several ghost sightings have been reported, and piano music is frequently heard in the empty castle.

Map and directions

Castle Fraser is open from April to October daily from 12-5pm, and the beautiful walled garden and grounds are open daily year round.

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Bullet Point Muchalls Castle
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