Aberdeen and the Northeast Feature

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Which Castle Is Right for You?

We admit it—there are almost too many castles in this part of Scotland. Because it's nearly impossible to see all of them, we've noted the prime characteristics of each to help you decide which you'd most like to visit.

Balmoral: The Queen's home, this is where Queen Victoria and the Royal Family fell in love with Scotland and all things Scottish. Expect baronial largesse and groomed grounds, though you don't see much inside.

Balvenie: This ruined castle is known for its indomitable bearing and verdant surroundings, right in the midst of the Malt Whisky Trail.

Braemar: Offering memorable insight into the lives of the Scottish landed gentry, this recently restored castle heaves with memorabilia and mementos of the fascinating Farquharsons, who still hold their clan gathering here.

Corgarff: You'll find a sober solitude out on the moorland, as well as 18th-century graffiti and the reconstructed barracks used by Jacobite troops in 1746 as they retreated north.

Craigievar: Highlights of this 17th-century castle are a magical forest, fairy-tale turrets, and the furnishings and possessions of the Forbes family that fill the house.

Crathes: Expect tight quarters, notable family portraits, and a network of walled gardens at this well-preserved seat of the Burnett family. Its adventure park keeps the kids occupied.

Drum: A fusion of architectural styles and some historic roses are notable at this castle, but it's the medieval chapel that stirs the senses.

Dunnottar: The dramatic, scene-stealing, cliff-top location of Mel Gibson's Hamlet (1991), the ruins of this 14th-century tower house by the sea are unbeatable.

Fraser: Considered the grandest castle in Aberdeenshire, Castle Fraser has opulent period furnishings and woodland walks that make for a rewarding day.

Fyvie: This 14th-century castle underwent a luxurious Edwardian makeover. Come here for an awesome art collection, rich interiors, and haunting history.

Kildrummy: This is the place for evocative ruins, some from the 13th century, and tales of a treacherous past. Its austere but poignant chapel is a must-see.

Updated: 2014-02-13

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