This weekend we visited our first Scotland castle -- Crathes Castle. This is a beautiful 16th century castle that was owned and occupied by one family for over 350 years. We were not allowed photography inside, so you will have to enjoy the external shots.
The inside of the castle is well preserved. The furniture is beautiful, especially the canopy beds. With the kids running around, it was a little tricky to look at everything, but we did enjoy the well preserved details. Some of the rooms were set up with history details of the family. There were also displays of swords and a wonderful music room with an antique an harpsichord and mandolin.
The kids had a wonderful time on the grounds. There is so much open space to run around. Because this is technically before the tourist season, there were not many people there either.
To the left of the castle are these huge rhododendrons. They must be hundreds of years old to have reached this size. There is a small opening where kids can go in and play.
Darren took some beautiful shots from the top floor of the castle. The view was amazing!
The door in the picture below is closed to the public, but it leads into the old guard room. The walls into the main tower are about six feet thick, for defensive purposes.
Those vines growing all over the exterior walls must be beautiful when they are in full bloom. We are excited to visit again during other seasons.
This castle has incredible gardens that are hundreds of years old. The plants and colors are just beginning to wake up, and in a few more weeks it will probably be in full bloom.
They have beautiful trees and plants in the gardens, including old Japanese maple trees that looked truly ancient.
Joshua loved exploring all the little "secret" spaces that existed around every corner.
And the views of the castle from the garden are stunning.
Abigail loved the freedom to run around and climb all the strairs in the gardens.
And did I mention the fountains and ponds? The kids loved the water. There was only one fountain turned on while we were there, but we saw several others that are just waiting for spring.
We didn't have enough time to go into the green houses to see all the exotic, tropical plants. There was also the rose garden that we didn't get to (but all the roses are still dormant anyway).
This is a wonderful castle to visit, especially if you are a lover of gardens. I think Darren will be more excited about ruins, though. I hope we visit again this summer when the gardens are in full splendor.
Check out more pictures from our trip at: Crathes Castle - March 2010
I am thinking about writing a post with details about visiting this castle, especially without a car. What do you think? Does anyone have any specific questions?