3 Best Sights in Banchory, Aberdeen and the Northeast

Crathes Castle

Fodor's choice

About 16 miles west of Aberdeen, Crathes Castle was once the home of the Burnett family and is one of the best-preserved castles in Britain. Keepers of the Forest of Drum for generations, the family acquired lands here by marriage and later built a castle, completed in 1596. The National Trust for Scotland cares for the castle, which is furnished with many original pieces and family portraits. The castle is open for guided tours only. Outside are grand yet lovingly tended gardens with calculated symmetry and flower-rich beds. There's an adventure park for kids, and the staff organizes activities that are fun and educational.

Drum Castle

Fodor's choice

This foursquare tower has an evocative medieval chapel that dates from the 13th century; like many other castles, it also has later additions up to Victorian times. Note the tower's rounded corners, said to make battering-ram attacks more difficult. Nearby, fragments of the ancient Forest of Drum still stand, dating from the days when Scotland was covered by great stands of oak and pine. The Garden of Historic Roses, open daily from April to October, lays claim to some old-fashioned roses not commonly seen today.

Royal Deeside Railway

Built for Queen Victoria, this historic station and its railway line now serve passengers using veteran steam and diesel locomotives to haul vintage carriages along a short scenic route; the journey takes only 15–20 minutes.

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