Exploring Scotland’s Castles pt.1
4-Day Campervan Hire: Exploring Scotland’s Castles (Part 1)
Previous Rockinvans customer exploring Scotland’s castles
The Scottish landscape was once dominated by thousands of magnificent castles, many of which are still standing and available to explore today.
Castles were first built in the 12th century, although these are a far cry from the huge stone structures we typically associate with a castle, these were largely made from an earthen mound and timber frame. In the 13th century, masonry castles were built for the nobility, but many of these were subsequently destroyed in the wars with England. However, that wasn’t the end for castles as there was a revival of castle building in the late 1300s.
Today, the vast majority of these castles are now just crumbling ruins, but many are still standing tall and able to tell their own story. There are castles all around Scotland, from the Borders, right up to the Highlands and islands, but Aberdeenshire (often referred to as Castle Country) has its very own designated Castle Trail – perfect for exploring in your campervan.
Exploring Scotland’s Castles from Rockinvans campervan hire in Kilmarnock, you’ll make the 150 mile drive to Stonehaven, where your first castle awaits. The ruins of Dunnottar Castle sit atop a steep cliff over 100ft above the North Sea and were once home to the Earls Marischal.
From here you’ll visit Crathes Castle, which is just over 15 miles from Stonehaven. It is still very impressive and looks like something from a fairytale. It’s a popular stop on the castle trail as it is a ‘bat hotspot’ and home to the treetop adventure Go Ape.
Just a couple of miles down the road is Drum Castle, which features the oldest tower in Scotland. There is a children’s playground to entertain the kids and some spectacular views across the countryside.
Back in the van and 15 miles north you’ll find Castle Fraser, a baronial tower house. This grand castle has a whopping Great Hall and gorgeous gardens and woodlands to explore.
After a good night’s rest, you’ll be up early and back in the camper heading west into the Cairngorms National Park just past Ballater to Balmoral Castle. This is one of the most famous Scottish castles because of its connections to the Royal Family.
Next, drive another 10 miles into the National Park to find Braemar Castle, the seat of Clan Farquharson, which is famous for its star-shaped wall.
After another short 40-minute trip in the campervan, back towards Aberdeen, you’ll come across Craigievar Castle. This iconic castle is thought to have been an inspiration to Walt Disney because of its unique appearance.
Less than half an hour from Craigievar is Kildrummy Castle, a fine example of a 13th century castle, as despite being in ruins it has managed to retain many of its original features.
If you’d prefer to stay close to Kildrummy for the night, check out Haughton House Holiday Park in Alford. Alternatively, drive the 15 miles north to Huntly ready for the trail the next day and stop over at Huntly Castle Caravan Park.
In two days, you will have visited eight spectacular castles with plenty more to come over days three and four in Part 2 of Explore Scotland’s Castles.