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Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire

Location: Alford, Aberdeenshire, AB33 8JF (map and directions)

The 7-storey Craigievar Castle is an iconic tower house set within the rolling foothills of the Grampian mountains, just six miles south of Alford and 27 miles west of Aberdeen. Formerly the seat of Clan Sempill, Craigievar Castle’s massive lower-storey structure, combined with detailed and finely sculpted gargoyles and corbelling work gives the 17th century Scottish baronial castle a fairytale feel.

Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire copyright Colin Smith
Craigievar Castle © Ikiwaner

History of Craigievar Castle

William Forbes, a successful merchant from Aberdeen and ancestor of the Forbes- Sempill family, completed the castle in 1626 after purchasing the structure from the impoverished Mortimer family in 1610. Clan Forbes continued to live at Craigievar for 350 years until gifting the property to the National Trust for Scotland in 1963.

Craigievar Castle is one of three Scottish castles (the other two are Muchalls Castle and Glamis Castle) with exceptionally crafted ceilings. Also of particular interest inside the castle is the Great Hall with the Stuart Arms over the fireplaces, a secret staircase which connects to the high tower, the Queen’s Bedroom, and a collection of Forbes family portraits and furnishings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire copyright Richard Slessor
Craigievar Castle © Richard Slessor

Craigievar Castle was used during World War I as a hospital for wounded Belgian soldiers, but remained otherwise free from participation in conflict. The castle served more as a stately home than a defensive structure, as evidenced by the intricate designs and beautifully coloured façade. Defensive structures were built onto the castle, and a walled courtyard with a tower at each corner was constructed around the outside of Craigievar.

Map and directions

The castle is open from May to September from 12pm-5:30pm and the grounds are open daily year round.

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Other castles in Aberdeenshire

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Bullet Point Muchalls Castle
Bullet Point New Slains Castle
Bullet Point Pitsligo Castle
Bullet Point Strathbogie Castle
Bullet Point Tolquhon Castle
Bullet Point Towie Barclay Castle
Bullet Point Udny Castle

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