Castle Fraser, Garden and Estate
Approaching Castle Fraser down the Broad Walk, the granite walls rising up to the distinctive turrets make an imposing sight. This was the impression the lairds intended as the present castle took shape between 1575 and 1636 – a statement of pride for the Fraser family and a show of strength to any would-be detractors.
As you venture through the castle and up to the round tower, with its panoramic views of the gardens and estate beyond, you get a sense of life from the medieval to the Victorian period. One of the most evocative rooms is the strikingly simple Great Hall. Meanwhile, in the traditional Victorian kitchen, you can enjoy home baking and tasty soups, which are sometimes made with fresh vegetables from the castle garden.
The castle contains many Fraser family portraits, including one by Raeburn, and fine 19th-century carpets, curtains and bed hangings. There are other quirky features for you to discover – such as the Laird’s Lug, hidden trapdoors revealing secret stairs, a spy hole, a room full of stuffed animals and a wooden leg!
The gardens are currently undergoing major redevelopment work. The pathways in the 18th-century walled garden have been reinstated, and new lawns laid around island borders containing unusual as well as more traditional herbaceous plants. There’s also a new medicinal and culinary border with scented plants, and an organic fruit and vegetable garden.
New for 2005 is the ‘Woodland Secrets’ area, where children can play safely amongst wooden sculptures, a bamboo snake, musical instruments, tepees, a tree house and a stone circle. ‘Words in the Woods’ is a grassed amphitheatre used as a meeting place and venue for poetry reading and storytelling. Elsewhere, the estate contains an artificial lake, mixed woodland and open farmland, with two waymarked walks giving magnificent views of the local hills.
Castle and 10.5ha of ground given with an endowment by Major & Mrs Michael Smiley
in 1976. A further 127ha of surrounding land purchased in 1993