Ranging from the state-of-the-art 3D technology of the new Battle of Bannockburn Centre, which opened in 2014, to the 100 centuries-old lunar calendar in the grounds of Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, the Trust owns a very special collection of buildings. Each of these illustrates different chapters of Scotland’s story; from the everyday vernacular of the common folk to grand settings for intrigue and opulence; from the devastation wrought by vicious warfare to the pastoral tranquility around Barry Mill in rural Angus.
Our 129 heritage properties include everything from castles and great houses to modest cottages and mills. In and around these properties there are 1,500 individual buildings of which 270 are listed for special protection. We welcome over two million visitors to these places each year.
Our properties make for fascinating places to visit. You can see the finest examples of Robert Adam’s architecture at the truly iconic Culzean Castle in Ayrshire and also at 5–7 Charlotte Square in the original New Town of Edinburgh. Travelling west to Helensburgh, you can contrast Adam’s designs with Hill House, a supreme manifestation of the work of internationally renowned Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Or, if you want to see the kind of place that most people’s ancestors would have lived and worked in, you can head to Glasgow where you can visit the Tenement House and see a dwelling frozen in time – Miss Agnes Howard lived there for over 50 years and left the Edwardian gas lights and décor completely untouched. A short distance away in Kilbarchan, you can visit the 1723 Weaver’s Cottage and watch a 200-year-old hand-loom being used to create a tartan. Over on the other side of the country, in the Scottish Borders, you can try out a fully operational Victorian letterpress at Robert Smail’s Printing Works.
If celebrity is your thing, we also happen to own the birthplaces of Robert Burns, Dr David Livingstone and J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. Or if you prefer something more unusual, we even have a big, big fruit in the form of the Pineapple, a truly bizarre structure dating to 1761.
If you would rather see castles, we have plenty to offer. These include the fabulous, pink, fairy-tale edifice of Craigievar in Aberdeenshire and the imposing Castle Fraser where the occasional joust is still staged.
We even have, it is said, a healthy collection of ghosts in dramatically atmospheric places like Fyvie Castle and Culross Palace. But we cater for living residents too: you can book accommodation and live like a Laird at Brodie Castle, or enjoy presidential style in Culzean Castle’s Eisenhower apartments, which were gifted to the US President to use in his lifetime in gratitude for his wartime achievements.
Whichever property you choose to visit or stay in, our property teams will make the occasion as enjoyable and informative as they can. Volunteer guides will give you the inside knowledge and relate a more than a few fascinating facts. Our hard working staff will ensure the best possible presentation of the property interiors and grounds, including a fulsome series of events to cater for kids, families and dedicated heritage buffs.