Explore Aberdeenshire’s winter wonderland

National Trust for Scotland is encouraging visitors to make the most of its Aberdeenshire properties this winter, with a host of amazing places open to delight the senses.

Crathes Castle, Drum Castle,  Haddo House and Castle Fraser are all open to visitors this winter.
Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, Haddo House and Castle Fraser are all open to visitors this winter.

Whether it’s a walk through a Renaissance inspired garden in the crisp winter sunshine or taking in the historic architecture of its castles, the North East offers the perfect winter paradise for those wishing to venture further afield to discover what the conservation charity has to offer.

Iain Hawkins, National Trust for Scotland Regional Director for the North East region, said: “Winter in Aberdeenshire is a truly magical time of year, and the National Trust for Scotland’s properties are the perfect place to experience this wonderful season.

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"Our heritage means visitors can explore this part of the country with a fun family day out, a fresh winter walk or by exploring one of our stunning properties.

The wild landscape of Mar Lodge Estate
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"At the Trust we pride ourselves on creating memorable experiences.

"We provide access to nature, beauty and heritage for everyone, and visiting our properties is a great way for people to support our charitable aims.

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"Winter really is the perfect season to discover everything that Scotland has to offer, and in the process help us to conserve it.”

National Trust for Scotland sites will remain open with a host of exciting events and festive fun planned for the winter months as Christmas approaches. The properties remaining open include:

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Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate – castle, shop and tearoom open until 18 December, garden and grounds open all year round.

Try the art of willow weaving at the outdoor workshop by creating a willow kissing ball, a traditional festive decoration originating from the Middle Ages, thought to have inspired kissing under the mistletoe.

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Haddo House –relax and enjoy a special festive afternoon tea at the impressive stately home designed by William Adam. Tuck into delicious sandwiches and tasty treats to get in the mood for Christmas.

Drum Castle, Garden & Estate – grounds open daily; castle, shop and tearoom open at weekends (Garden of Historic Roses closed)

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Take a young one for a visit to Father Christmas himself as he stops off at Drum Castle before flying off to make his deliveries on Christmas Eve. Children will be able to share their wish lists with the man himself and receive a special gift in celebration.

Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate – enjoy the recently completed conservation work of the intricate painted ceilings at one of Aberdeenshire’s historic castles, one of the few examples of original decoration of the Scottish Renaissance style.

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Mar Lodge Estate – Immerse yourself in the wild landscape of the estate at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. The largest National Nature Reserve in the UK offers 15 Munros to bag for the adventurous at heart with more leisurely woodland walks for those taking it easy this Christmas.

With some of the National Trust for Scotland sites staying open during the winter months and into 2023, the rest of its Aberdeenshire properties closed on 1 November when the attractions were put into hibernation for the winter months until March/April 2023, including:

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Fyvie Castle

Pitmedden

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Leith Hall

JM Barrie’s Birthplace

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Barry Mill

For more information about individual property closing dates, opening times, and events listings, please visit the property’s page on the National Trust for Scotland website.

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With the curtains drawn and the doors closed to the public for the final time this year at places like Fyvie Castle and Leith Hall, the work for the Trust’s collections care and curatorial teams alongside its volunteers is just getting underway.

This is when they start cleaning the properties’ unique, historic artefacts, before they are covered up and stored until Spring next year.

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Iain added: “After welcoming over 360,000 visitors to our Northeast properties throughout the year so far the time has come to put some of them to bed for the winter period.

"While the properties will be closed to the public, our teams will be hard at work with our volunteers to clean and their artwork, interiors, furniture and ornaments to shield them from dust and moisture and ensure they are not damaged during the closure.

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"I’d like to thank our dedicated volunteers who contribute their time, effort and support to help us maintain our properties throughout the year.

"The work is vital to achieving our objectives highlighted within our 10-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, to protect our country’s iconic history for future generations.”

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The work by the collections care and curatorial teams to protect the National Trust for Scotland’s properties and their historic artefacts during the winter contributes to its vision to deliver Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone.

Its 10-year strategy, unveiled earlier this year, refocuses its vision of caring for, sharing, and conserving Scotland’s heritage, contributing to its conservation objectives, specifically to:

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Stabilise and improve the condition of its estate Enrich Scotland’s protected heritage to make it relevant to more people

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www.nts.org.uk/our-work/our-strategy