The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
Chances are, you’ve seen a picture of this castle before. You might know it as “the pink castle in Scotland” – which is what I used to call it for a long time. The famous Craigievar Castle is a popular location for locals and tourists alike, part of wonderful and amazing scenery that Scotland has to offer.
Looking to visit? I’ll share all you need to know to get the most out of your trip – from a locals perspective.
First, a little bit of history
This castle, which is said to be Walt Disneys inspiration for the Cinderella castle (link), is one of over 3,000 in Scotland. “Craig” is from “creag” in Gaelic meaning a rock. In other words, Craigievar means pointed rock.
The original castle was built in 1626 by the Forbes family. They lived there for 350 years until 1962. In 1824, while replacing the cream-colored harling (a traditional Scottish lime-based protective outer coating for the stone building), the architect suggested adding a pigment. Sir John Forbes agreed and the castle has been pink ever since.
In 1962, The Castle was given to the National Trust for Scotland. In accordance with the former owners wishes, artificial light has not been installed in the upper floors. Therefore, if you take a tour of the inside, the collection of art on the upper floor is seen by only the light from the sun – exactly as they would have been when they were made. It is one of the best preserved in Scotland – and certainly worth a visit.
How to get there
Address: Craigievar Castle, Alford, AB33 8JF Alford, Scotland
The largest city near Craigievar Castle is Aberdeen. The best way to get there is by car. It is about a 50 minute drive away. Most of it is down very small windy country roads – drive safely!
Parking is available on site. It is free for nations trust members but £3.00 for non-members.
Tip: Remember to bring coins as the parking machine only takes cash.
Things to do
- Take pictures
With its stunning exterior and enchanting facade, you’ll want to take pictures at this castle. There are many great viewpoints on the castle grounds – you’ll be spoilt for choice. I took most of my pictures at the entry walkway.
- Take a walk
There are extensive parkland grounds surrounding the castle. These are marked walking paths of different lengths. Walking around is a great way to see the castle’s exterior from all angles and really take some great photos.
Tip: wear appropriate walking footwear as the paths could be damp
- Tour the castle
I have not been inside the castle but it is said to contain an extensive collection of mid-20th-century ceramics, family portraits etc.
Grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset and castle visit are available seasonally:
- April – June: Friday to Tuesday 10:30 – 17:00
- July – September: Monday – Sunday 10:30 – 17:00
- October – March: Closed
Last entry into the castle is 4pm
Coronavirus update: Due to COVID-19, tours of the castle remain closed but National Trust for Scotland welcomes visitors to the outdoor spaces. The toilets are closed. Also, if you are travelling in these post COVID times, have a look at this post for what to expect
The castle grounds are free to explore but a tour of the castle costs:
- Adults (16+): £13.00
- Kids (5-16): £9.50
- Seniors (60+): £9.50
- Family (2 adults + up to 4 children ): £30
Above all, I hope you get the opportunity to visit this enchanting pink castle in Scotland. If you do, let me know. Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram. Looking forward to hearing from you!