Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate teacher information

Castle Fraser, one of the magnificent castles of Mar, was begun around 1575 by Michael Fraser, 6th Laird, and incorporates earlier building.

Two great families of master masons, Bel and Leiper, took part in the work, which was completed in 1636. The armorial panel high on the wall on the north side is signed ‘I Bel’. The exterior has had few additions, and provides a clear idea of what a laird’s castle looked like from the outside in the 17th century. Above the modern entrance, an ornate heraldic shield of stone shows the arms of James VI.

The interior of the castle has undergone many changes to suit the changing needs of the Frasers and their successors. Rooms on view include an ancient kitchen, a library and Victorian bedrooms. In the Worked Room, needlework bed-hangings, curtains and seats are on display. Artefacts on show include an early 19th-century artificial leg and a cocked hat that saved a soldier’s life in battle – both are Fraser family relics from the Peninsular War.

The walled garden is laid out as it was in Victorian times. Two waymarked trails make the 140-hectare estate easily accessible.

The school programme at Castle Fraser offers activities in the castle, garden and estate, providing opportunities to engage with the Curriculum for Excellence. Pupils receive a tour of the castle that can be tailored to schools’ requirements. Trust rangers can also assist schools with environmental learning projects on this estate.

Possible topics

  • Castles
  • Wildlife and conservation

Resources for schools

  • An illustrated guidebook can be bought at Castle Fraser.

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact the Property Manager at Castle Fraser or the North-East Ranger Service to arrange your visit.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • We welcome schools for teacher-led visits but please contact Castle Fraser to confirm your visit.
  • Maximum class size: 30, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils
  • Opening hours are limited for the castle but the estate is open all year round. 
  • Access: please telephone us to discuss any special requirements. There is also information on the Castle Fraser page.
  • Parking: parking is available for school buses/coaches in the car park.
  • Toilets: accessible toilets are situated in the courtyard.
  • Refreshments: there is a tearoom at the property. Schools are welcome to eat picnics in the picnic area by the playground. Snacks/packed lunches may also be eaten in the Great Hall – this needs to be confirmed when booking your visit.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership
  • Non-members are welcome but there is an admission charge of £2 per pupil. 
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: for a castle tour, please report to the main desk; for a ranger activity, please meet at the place agreed when booking your programme.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • We regret that photos cannot be taken inside the castle – but you are welcome to take as many as you like in the grounds.
  • Shop: there is a shop that pupils can visit under teacher supervision (in small groups please).
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