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Fyvie Castle is an 800-year old magnificent fortress found in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It has a whooping 109 rooms, making it one of the largest castles in the country. The castle started off as a royal stronghold in the 13th century and had its fair share of royal visitors during this time including Charles I and Robert the Bruce. However, the castle then fell into the possession of five successive clans. The castle had a bit of a troubled history involving a curse, a murder and several ghosts. Fyvie Castle has actually been featured in the TV series 'Most Haunted'. I visited the castle in April 2022 and something just feels 'off' about the place, it feels truly haunting and eerie. Whether you are going to visit the castle and the gardens, go ghost hunting or spot some of the local wildlife, it certainly makes for an interesting day out!

Continue reading to find out where Fyvie Castle is, how to get there, the history of the castle and opening times!

This blog post covers:

Where is Fyvie Castle and how can I get there?

Fyvie Castle is located near the village of Fyvie in Aberdeenshire; 8 miles south-east of Turriff and 25 miles north-west of Aberdeen. The easiest and best way to get to the castle is by car. I would highly suggest renting a car if you don't already have one, especially if you want to do the North East 250 or do more sightseeing around the area.

  • By car - From Aberdeen city centre, it takes around 45 minutes to get to the castle by following the A947. From Inverness, it takes just over 2 hours via the A96. From Glasgow or Edinburgh, it takes 3 hours via the A90.

There is a bus route from Aberdeen city centre but it involves 3 buses (the 18 Northern Lights and the 35 buses) and would take 2 hours one-way. I really don't personally recommend this but if you don't have a car, then you might want to consider it. There's no option to go by train as there's no train stations near the castle.

Crathes Castle in relation to Aberdeen.

A brief history of the castle

  • The castle is believed to date back to the 13th century. Some sources claim it was built in 1211 by William the Lion.
  • After the battle of Otterburn in 1390, Fyvie Castle ceased to be a royal stronghold and was ultimately passed to the Preston clan.
  • Over it's 800 year history, the castle was passed between a succession of 5 clans (Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon and Leith). Each clan added a new tour to the castle. The first tower was built by the Preston family between 1390 and 1433. The Seton tower forms the impressive entrance to the castle and was built in 1599 by Alexander Seton. In 1733, the castle passed to the Gordon clan after the Seton's successor was outlawed for supporting the Jacobite uprising. The Gordon Tower was added in 1778 and the Leith tower was built in 1890.
  • Much of the castle that you see today is influenced and credited to the Leith family, who restored the interiors and furnished Fyvie to a grand style.
  • The castle was sold to the National Trust for Scotland in 1984 by Alexander Leith's descedents.

Some fun facts

1. Fyvie Castle is said to have been cursed by a famous prophet named Thomas the Rhymer. The curse is known as the 'Weeping Stones' and is almost as old as the castle itself. It all dates back more than 500 years, when Thomas the Rhymer announced that he wished to visit Fyvie Castle. In anticipation of his arrival, the castle's great doors were open. However, on the night he arrived, there was a storm and as he approached the entrance, the doors slammed shut in his face. Thomas the Rhymer was enraged and declared that the fate of the castle would be linked with three 'weeping' stones used in the construction of the Preston Tower, the Charter Room and one stone, which rolled into the Ythan River. He stated that until all the stones were reunited and returned back to their sacred burial site, where they were originally taken from, that Fyvie Castle would have a difficult succession and all that lived there would suffer. Only one of the weeping stones has been found and you can see it on display in the charter room.

2. Fyvie Castle is home to its fair share of ghosts. Most notably is a green lady ghost, believed to be Lilias Drummond. She was married to Alexander Seton, however after she failed to provide him with a male heir, Alexander locked her away and punished her. Her family attempted to rescue her, but this failed and Lilias was made to watch her family members being killed and their body parts being flung past the window where she was being held. She eventually died of starvation. Alexander wasted no time in getting remarried. However, on his wedding night, Alexander and his new wife heard strange noises and scratching from outside their bedroom window. Upon opening his window, the name 'D LILIAS DRUMMOND' was carved into the stone windowsill. Strangely, the windowsill is far too high for anyone to have been able to reach it. This can still be seen to this day! You are believed to be in the presence of the green lady ghost when you can smell roses.

3. Over the course of its long history, Fyvie Castle has had many royal visitors including William the Lion, who held parliament here in 1214, Alexander II visited in 1222, Edward I of England visited in 1296 and Robert the Bruce used the castle in the 1300s. Charles I was another royal guest at the castle.

4. Within the library of the castle, you can still see a rather grisly death mask of a hanged murderer. It dates back to 1823 and you can still see the rope marks on the neck of the mask. He also has a rather creepy smirk on his face.

5. Fyvie has a world-class collection of oil paintings. These were mostly collected by Lord Leith between 1899-1904 and include one of the largest private collections of Raeburns in the world. The castle is also home to a stuffed polar bear, tiffany lamps, 9ft high portraits and suits of armour. If that wasn't random enough, Lord Leith built his very own ten-pin bowling alley and racquets courts whilst he owned the property.

Opening hours and prices (as of March 2023)

For the Castle, Shop, and Tearoom, the opening hours are:

  • 1st January to the 31st March, the castle, shop and tearoom are all closed.
  • 1st April to the 6th July, Thursday to Sunday only, from 10.30am-4.30pm.
  • 7th July to the 4th September, open daily, from 10.30am-4.30pm.
  • 5th September to the 31st October, Friday to Monday only, from 10.30am-4.30pm.
  • 1st November to the 31st March 2024, the castle, shop and tearoom are all closed.

No advance booking is required. Guided tours are available, starting at 10.45am then every 45 minutes until 3.30pm. The last entry to the castle is at 4pm.

The grounds and gardens are open:

  • From the 1st January through to the 31st December, from 9am to dusk.

Prices as of March 2023:

If you have a National Trust for Scotland membership, then admission and parking is free. The National Trust for Scotland card is £5.25 per month for an adult, £4.65 for senior (60+) and £3.00 for young adults (16-24) but it will get you access to over 100 historic places all over Scotland. Definitely a worth while investment if you are going to be a lot of exploring around Scotland.

However, if you do not have a National Trust for Scotland card, then to visit the castle it costs £15.50 for an adult ticket, £12.00 for a concession and £1.00 for a young scot ticket or £35.00 for a family ticket or £30.00 for an adult family ticket.

When is a good time to visit?

You can visit the grounds and gardens all year round. However, if you want to visit the inside of the Castle, Shop and Tearoom, then you can only do so from the start of April through to the end of October. All these months are a decent time to visit. I visited the castle in April and there was only a handful of people and the weather was cold but sunny (definitely still jacket/coat weather). There's pros and cons for each season. In April, May, September and October, the weather should be starting to get a bit better and it'll be less crowded. In June-August, it'll be busier but the weather should be hopefully quite a bit warmer and sunnier (you never know though, it is Scotland after all) and also, the gardens should be in full bloom at this point.

Should I visit as a day trip or as part of the North East 250 route?

If you live in or close to Aberdeenshire, then you could visit Fyvie Castle for a day trip. However, if you are going to be travelling from further afield, then you will probably want to stay over and spend a couple of days here exploring the area as it's a long way to come to just visit Fyvie Castle for the day.

If you have at least 4 days, you could also consider doing the North East 250. The North East 250 is similar to the North Coast 500 but as the name suggest it's half the number of miles. The North East 250 is a 250-mile circular route, typically starting and ending just outside Aberdeen. However, you can start and end wherever suits you best. There is loads more to see on the route from hundreds of castles, whisky distilleries and lovely little seaside towns. The route is one of Scotland's best road trips.

North East 250 route.

Where to stay around this area

  • Budget (£0-£75 per night)
Cosy and modern 1 bedroom garden house - very dog friendly!, Tarves, UK
Offering garden views, Cosy and modern 1 bedroom garden house - very dog friendly!
  • Mid-range (£75-£150 per night)
★★★★ The Redgarth, Oldmeldrum, UK
Located in Oldmeldrum, 29 km from Beach Ballroom, The Redgarth provides accommodation with a garden, free private parking, a restaurant and a bar.
  • High end (£150+ per night)
★★★★ Meldrum House Hotel Golf And Country Estate, Oldmeldrum, UK
In 350 acres of mature woodland and peaceful rolling parkland, this beautiful country house hotel has its very own private golf course, free Wi-Fi and…

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Kirsty x