Find the nearest History & Heritage in Aberdeenshire
Our History and Heritage category brings all Coast Radar’s Aberdeenshire listings related to looking for something to do or a place to visit together where they offer some form of historic or heritage based activity.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Aberdeenshire day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the historic and heritage links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next Aberdeenshire activity.
- Huntly Castle was a baronial home for 500 years and still attracts visitors because of its impressive architectural style and history. Situated on the River Bogie and Deveron, the castle lies just outside the pretty town of Huntly. Although now a ruin, the setting makes it romantically picturesque and its history is remarkable. The Earls of Fife built the original stronghold, the Peel of Strathbogie, around 1190, to guard the crossing-point where the rivers Bogie and Deveron meet. But it was the mighty Gordons who made the stronghold their own from the 14th century and renamed it, Huntly Castle. The surviving remains tell the story of the development of the castle in Scotland, from the motte and bailey of the 12th century, through the tower house of the later Middle Ages, to the stately stone palace of the Jacobean era. The South face of the castle is French in style and bears fine heraldic sculpture and inscribed stone friezes. Inside the palace, you can see the two enormous heraldic fireplaces in the Marchioness’s lodgings. This castle is said to have the earliest stronghold on the site which sheltered Robert the Bruce in the 14th century. The castle is open throughout the year but you’ll need to check the opening times as they vary a bit from Summer to Winter.
- Cathedral of St Marchar was named after a disciple of St Columba and the initial site was set up in around 580AD. In the 1130’s it was named a Cathedral and underwent extensive restoration in the 13th Century under Bishop Cheyne and saw Sir William Wallace hung, drawn and quartered. His dismembered body was sent to different parts of Scotland but some say that his left arm was interred within the walls of St. Machar’s. After the war of independence construction continued under Bishop Alexander Kinnimund (1355-80) and Bishop William Elphinstone (1431-1514). The nave and towers on the west – which form the modern church were only one part. To the east of the nave, there was a crossing which had one large central tower. There was also a choir to its east and transepts pointing north and south. In 1520 a ceiling of panelled oak bearing 48 heraldic shields was commissioned by Bishop Gavin Dunbar (1518-1532). It was finally complete in 1530.
- Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was the very first lighthouse on mainland Scotland and Kinnaird Head now has two lighthouses:The first lighthouse was built in 1787 within the existing 16th-century castle tower. In 1824 a new stone tower was constructed within the castle. The current is a fibreglass automated light that stands beside the original. The original lighthouse is now The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and has guided tours with displays that tell the story of the Northern Lighthouse Board, the engineers who built the lights and the keepers who looked after them.
- Aberdeen Maritime Museum is on the Shiprow and tells the story of this city’s dependance on the sea. This is a great day out and the kids will love it for the highly interactive exhibitions on shipbuilding, fast sailing ships, the port and fishing. This is an award winning museum and the only place in the UK where you can see displays on the North Sea oil and gas industry. Aberdeen Maritime Museum offers visitors a spectacular viewpoint over the busy harbour. The museum was expanded to create five times the original exhibition space in the 16th century Provost Ross’s House. Aberdeen’s excellent collections of maritime paintings and objects are utilised to the full in the new museum, with touch screen consoles, computer visual databases, education room and hands-on exhibits all adding a new dimension for visitors and bringing the drama of the North Sea industries such as offshore oil, fishing and shipping, to life. The complex is open six days a week with a busy programme of special exhibitions and events throughout the year. The licensed Leading Lights Café – an attraction in itself – offers fine food in splendid surroundings and a first class shop sells a wide range or souvenirs, gifts, crafts, books and music with a distinctly nautical flavour. Facilities include:Education Room Café Shop Toilet Disabled facilities Tours
- Aberdeen Art Gallery is one of Aberdeen’s most popular tourist attractions. An attractive example of late 19th century architecture, it houses one of the finest art collections in Britain with paintings, sculpture and graphics from the 15th century to the present day. Gallery Shop, Gallery Cafe, Creche Services and Wi-Fi at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Aberdeen Art Gallery has disabled access. Pushchairs are available for small children. Guide dogs are admitted.
- Castle Fraser was built in 1575 and is one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. The present castle contains an evocative Great Hall, fine furniture and many Fraser family portraits. There are fantastic views of Bennachie from the top of the tower and you can walk through the beautiful gardens including the walled garden and woodland. The castle has its own secrets like the Laird’s Lug, a spy hole, a wooden leg and hidden trapdoors in the floor to secret staircases! Homemade treats and lunches are baked in the traditional Victorian kitchen and there is a shop for souvenirs and dogs are welcome in the grounds. The children’s Woodland Secrets play area is an enchanting wooded area with a tepee, bamboo snake walk, giant xylophone and lots of other areas for children to hide and climb. The whole children’s area is built from natural materials and is therefore very environmentally friendly. There is access to this area by wheelchairs and pushchairs. The scented walled garden is accessible by wheelchairs or pushchairs. Printed room guides are available. The ground floor of the castle is accessible by wheelchairs and pushchairs, and although the rest of the castle is not accessible there is a detailed photo album in the reception area where visitors can look at the upper-floor rooms in more detail. There are disabled toilets in the courtyard near the shop and tearoom, which are accessible for both pushchairs and wheelchairs. Disabled parking is available near the front of the castle. The castle is open daily all year round.
- Craigievar Castle is just South of Alford in Aberdeenshire. This is a fairy tale castle seven-stories high in the Scottish Baronial style. Here are the fancy turrets and gargoyles on pink walls, crafted plaster work ceilings and secret staircases of your dreams! The Great Tower stands just as it was when completed by Master William Forbes Danzig Willie in 1626. The simplicity of its lower towers contrasts perfectly with the turrets, the cupolas and corbelling that embellish the roof-line. Within its walls the collection includes an excellent show of family portraits. There is also original Jacobean woodwork and some beautiful furniture, including the ‘Craigievar table’. This perfect Scottish castle remains as unspoiled as it was when lived in by the Forbes-Sempill family. Surrounding the castle are extensive parkland grounds with two waymarked walks. There is also a small Victorian kitchen garden and a Scottish glen garden. The parkland around the castle is beautiful with majestic specimen trees and views that stretch for miles over the countryside right up to the Grampian Mountains. The castle is normally open to tourists during the summer months. The castle has holiday accommodation available at the Steading and Kennels cottages from April to the end of October. The castle is open throughout the Summer in the UK.
- Slains Castle is found on the rocky Aberdeen coastline near the town of Cruden Bay. You can walk there if you grow bored lazing on the golden sandy beach! This atmospheric ruined castle was originally built to replace Old Slains Castle, situated about six miles south-west of the present site, after it was destroyed in 1594. New Slains Castle was erected in 1597 on the site of the former Bowness Castle. There is also a good 18 hole golf course nearby and the town provides facilities like parking, cafés, toilets and shops.
- Blairs Museum was originally within Blairs College where it stayed for 157 years. Here, articles that pertain to Scotland’s Catholic heritage are stored and include renown works of art – textiles, paintings, silver and memorabilia – donated over the years by priests, friends, bishops and Scots Colleges. It is a rara and wellworth seeing collection of religious heritage. Today, Blairs Museum gives visitors a unique insight into Scotland’s Catholic heritage, providing an enjoyable, memorable, and inspiring experience for all. Highlights include:Paintings Sacred Silver and Gold Church Textiles