St. Andrews Castle on the east coast of Scotland dates back to the 1100s and was home to the Archbishops of St. Andrews. It was once the main administrative center of the Scottish church. The castle was badly damaged during the Wars of Independence and little of the original castle remains today. The new castle was finished around 1400 and was built to be easily defended. Steep cliffs to the north and east protected the castle, and the building included thick curtain walls and ditches. Five square towers served as living space for the bishop, his large household, and guests.
Later St. Andrews Castle served as a prison. Visitors can see the bottle dungeon where John Knox and George Wishart may have been imprisoned. Cardinal Beaton's body was also kept here after his murder. The mine gives visitors a sense of what medieval siege warfare was like. The castle also offers impressive views of the sea over the rugged rocky coast.
Crathes Castle is a 16th-century tower house castle in northern Scotland. King Robert the Bruce granted the land the castle sits on to the Burnett family in 1323, which was marked by the ancient Horn of Leys that can still be seen in the Great Hall today. The castle is a fine example of a tower house from the 16th century, and some of the rooms still have the original painted ceilings. Many of the family's portraits and antique furniture can be seen throughout the castle, providing a glimpse into what life was like hundreds of years ago.
The Crathes Castle, Gardens and Estate cover an area of about 593 acres. The grounds have formal gardens, seven woodland walks, a pond, and rolling hills typical of the Scottish countryside. There is also a 3.7 acre walled garden with many unusual plants including great yew hedges. A visitor center provides information about the castle as well as an exhibition on the wildlife in the area.
Drum Castle is one of Scotland's oldest tower houses. King Robert the Bruce gifted the Royal Forest of Drum and the Tower of Drum to William de Irwyn in 1323, and it was occupied by the Irvine family for more than 650 years. The castle has had several improvements and additions over the centuries, including a Jacobean mansion house extension in 1619 and an impressive library containing about 3,000 volumes that was converted from the lower hall during the Victorian period. The High Hall of the castle is still in its medieval state and can be accessed by narrow stairs.
In 1975 Drum Castle was handed over to the National Trust of Scotland. Family memorabilia, a collection of portraits, and antique Georgian furniture can be seen throughout the castle. The estate of Drum Castle includes an ancient oak woodland area, three marked trails, and a walled garden containing a collection of historic fragrant roses.