While Scotland does not lack for castles and stately homes, there can be few places that showcase the development of castles better than Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire. A spectacular place to visit, the house and gardens offer a fascinating tour through the ages that the whole family will enjoy.
From the 13th-century tower that formed the heart of the original castle to the Jacobean and Victorian additions, the house is a fantastic example of how the great houses have evolved through the years and is unique in its atmosphere of both change and continuity.
The castle was in the hands of the Irvine family for six-and-a-half centuries and shows the developments made by the family to the house in the time from Robert the Bruce and Bannockburn to Wilson and Watergate.
Now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, the gardens are every bit as impressive as the house – the stunning Garden of Historic Roses showcases four centuries in the development of roses. Each quadrant is designed in the style of its day, with the 17th-century section featuring gallicas such as the apothecary’s rose and the rosa mundi, and the 19th-century damask and moss roses such ispahan and kazanlik.
Head gardener Diana Robertson said: “The garden at its peak is a glorious awakening of all the senses, with curtains of roses cascading down the walls, the heady aroma of damasks and musks perfuming the air, and complementing the roses is a wonderful collection of herbaceous plants that last well into late autumn.”
The rose garden is only one of the highlights of a trip through the gardens at Drum. The Old Forest of Drum, a surviving corner of the Royal Forest that covered much of Deeside, is a treat for explorers young and old, while the arboretum, lawns and parkland provide a peaceful place to contemplate the castle’s various historical faces.
Where: Drum Castle, 10 miles west of Aberdeen.
Opening Times: Garden of Historic Roses is open April 2 to October 31, daily 11am-5pm; castle, shop and tea room open July 1 to August 31, daily 11am-4.45pm; September 1 to September 30, Thursday to Monday 11am-4.45pm.
Cost: Adults £9.50, Concessions £7. Free to National Trust for Scotland members.
Contact: 0844 493 2161 or visit www.nts.org.uk