Discover Aberdeenshire's Castle Country

Drum Castle, One of Scotland's Oldest and Finest Tower Houses

With its imposing 13th century tower house and huge height, Drum Castle sits proudly within walled gardens in the unspoilt Aberdeenshire countryside, around 3.5 miles from Peterculter and about 14 miles west of Aberdeen.  


What is Drum Castle like?

To the front, Drum Castle is a beautiful imposing castle.  Visit and dig a little deeper and it will be clear though that the occupants have added an extension or two over the centuries.  To the front, the Castle has more of a streamlined grand appearance but from the rear gate house approach it's easy to see that there is a bit of mish-mash of styles where you can see that additions have been made to the original Tower House over the years.  A Jacobean country house extension was added in 1619 and there were additions in Victorian times too.  This all serves to make the building all the more fascinating.


Drum Castle’s History and a History of its Occupants

Drum Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest historic tower houses.  If walls could talk this Castle would be all the more fascinating for the events that this building has witnessed.

Robert the Bruce gifted Drum Castle Tower House to William de Irwyn in the 1300s.  The Castle stayed in the Irvine family’s ownership until the 1970s, through good and bad times.

The square-shaped Tower House dates back to the 13th century and stands 21 metres high and at the bottom, the outer walls are an impressive 3.5 metres thick so were built to withstand considerable force.  The castle was laid siege to and sacked 3 times during the times of the Covenanting Rebellion when the Irvines supported Charles I.  The Lairds of Drum and some close family were imprisoned at the Old Toolbooth Prison in Edinburgh (a prison renowned for its hellish conditions) on a number of occasions during this time. 

As a prominent Scottish family, the Irvines have been involved in almost every big event in Scottish history over the last ten centuries.  The Irvine family backed the wrong side in the Jacobite uprisings (the 14th Laird of Irvine was charged on two occasions with treason for his backing of Bonnie Prince Charlie).  As a result of being left on the losing side in the 1700s, some of the Irvine family’s estate and lands were lost during this era.

In a remarkable act of bravery and family loyalty, Mary Irvine hid her brother from the Redcoats in a secret chamber in the castle after the Battle of Culloden.

Drum Castle is a beautifully preserved castle where you can see some fascinating portraits, an impressive library and various items of the Irvine family’s memorabilia and Georgian furniture.  There is a chapel which dates back to the 1500s within the grounds and this building features lovely stained glass windows.

Home to the Irvine family for more than 650 years, Drum Castle has been inhabited by this family since the 1300s until it was passed on to the National Trust in the 1970s.


Is Drum Castle Haunted?

For those who love a good ghost story, you may well be wondering if Drum Castle is haunted.  A number of National Trust staff are reported to believe the castle to be haunted and spooky happenings have been recorded, including a strange misty appearance being caught on camera at the Old Stables.  Staff have reported hearing laughter (well at least the ghosts are jolly!), as well as a strange atmosphere in the Old Stables.  The main house is also reportedly spooky too with heavy footsteps being heard when no one is there, a strangely cold Chintz bedroom where things have been found to have been inexplicably moved and even sightings of a strange ghostly female figure. 


Visiting Drum Castle

Protected by the National Trust for Scotland, Drum Castle is open for visits for most of the year, although at some times of the year the castle is only open at weekends.  See the National Trust for Scotland’s website for full details of opening times before visiting.  Entrance is free for National Trust members.  As well as the Castle, there are gardens that can be visited (from the end of March to the end of October), as well as tea rooms and a shop.

The grounds are home to a walled rose garden, an arboretum and some ancient oak woodlands, which are a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Trails guide you along the gardens and along woodland trails.

Get Wed at Drum Castle?

For those in search of a grand wedding venue, why not get wed at Drum Castle?  The National Trust hire out the castle for weddings or corporate events for those with sufficient budget.

As one of Scotland's finest tower house, as well as beautiful gardens, beautifully preserved and fascinating Drum Castle is well worth a visit.