Crathes Castle is situated 17 miles west of
Aberdeen, 2 miles east of Banchory.
Crathes Castle was built for the Burnett
family from the 1550s, to replace an earlier
building of theirs from the 1300s. You can
visit 1st April until 31st October, from 10.30
a.m. until 5.00 p.m. Weekends in Winter. There
is an entrance fee. Postcode: AB31 5QJ
Click On Map for area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
Visits allow you to view the Castle
Exterior, Tours of the Castle, Gardens, Cafe /
Shop, and there is a Go Ape for
Treetop Adventures. The Royal
Deeside Railway is next to the Castle
Entrance, popular for Heritage Trains.
The image top is of Crathes Castle south
side with the Gardens to the right.
Crathes Castle History
1200s - the Fraser's built Muchalls Castle
on the coast, 13 miles east of where Crathes
Castle is today.
1323 - the Land of Crathes was gifted to the
Burnett of Leys family by King Robert the
Bruce. The Bruce rewarded Clans that fought
with him during the First War of Scottish
Independance, a time the English tried and
failed to take control of Scotland.
The Burnett family first built a Wooden Fort
on an Island surrounded by Bog.
1543 - the 9th Laird, Alexander, married
Janet Hamilton, daughter of Canon Hamilton of
the Abbey of Arbroath, with her Dowry gaining
Alexander substantial wealth.
1596 - the Tower of the Crathes Castle was
completed for Alexander Burnett.
1600s early - Muchalls Castle
was acquired by Alexander Burnett, with him and
his son Thomas extending Muchals. Thomas became
a leading Covenanter, trying to prevent Kings
in England from running Scottish Churches.
1644 - the Marquis of Montrose with his
Royalist Army visited Crathes Castle as they
hunted down Covenanters. Sir Thomas Burnett
signed a deal with the Royalists at that time,
allowing him to keep control of his Castle.
1702 - hedging was planted around the vast
Gardens, then trimmed into impressive shapes
over the years, now one of the top
1716 - James VIII, the Old Pretender, stayed
at Murchals during a Jacobite
1700s - Alexander, 4th Baronet of Leys /
Crathes, refused to join the Jacobite Risings
of 1715 and 1745. This allowed him to retain
ownership of Crathes Castle after the Jacobites
were defeated at the Battle of
Culloden in 1746.
Some other Burnett families fought with the
Jacobites, with many killed, executed, or
pardoned on the condition they emigrated to
1700s - Muchals Castle gained a reputation
for Smuggling, claimed to have an underground
Passage that led to the Sea. Smuggling at that
time led to great Wealth, as it saved paying
Taxes on goods such as Brandy, Wine and
1882 - Muchals was acquired by the
Robertsons, later used as a Hotel, with the
Robertsons said to have sealed up the
1885 - Sir Robert Burnett inherited the
title 11th Baronet of Leys, along with Crathes
Castle. Robert lived in America on a large
Ranch he had built up where Los Angles is
today. He sold his Ranch before moving back to
Crathes in Scotland.
1951 - 13th Baronet of Leys, Sir James
Burnett, gifted Crathes Castle to the National
Trust for Scotland to be preserved as a Tourist
1997 - Muchals Castle was put up for sale,
along with the Green Lady, resident Ghost. The
Green Lady is claimed to be the Ghost of a
young woman that drowned at the underground
passage during a Smuggling venture.
2004 - excavations at Crathes found pits
dated to about 10,000 years back, claimed to be
the world's oldest known Lunar Calendar, used
between 8000 BC and 4000 BC.
Today: it is unclear who ownes Muchals