Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate teacher information

Crathes Castle is a fine example of a 16th-century tower house. It has remarkable painted ceilings and vernacular furniture, as well as collections of family portraits.

King Robert I (Robert the Bruce) granted the lands of Leys to the Burnett family in 1323. The Horn of Leys, said to symbolise this gift, is in the Great Hall in the castle.

The spectacular walled garden is a composite of eight separate gardens, which include herbaceous borders with many unusual plants. The great yew hedges dating from 1702 are fascinating examples of the art of topiary. The grounds comprise 240 hectares of designed landscape and are easily accessible via waymarked trails.

The school programme at Crathes offers activities in the castle and on the estate, providing opportunities to engage with the Curriculum for Excellence. Guided tours in the castle are adapted to suit different Levels, age groups and areas of interest. Trust rangers can also assist schools with environmental learning projects on the estate.

Possible topics

  • Castles
  • Wildlife and conservation

Resources for schools

  • An illustrated guidebook and children’s guide can be bought at Crathes.
  • Teachers’ Notes are available for some activities.
  • Costumes for pupils are available for some tours. 
  • You will receive more detailed information about your programme at Crathes when booking.

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate to arrange your visit.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • 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 to discuss any special requirements. There is also information on the Accessibility webpage.
  • Parking: parking is available for school coaches in the car park.
  • Toilets: accessible toilets are situated at the Courtyard Café.
  • Refreshments: there is a restaurant and picnic areas in the grounds.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.


  • 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, 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).

If you prefer to print this information you can use this download. Please note that some of the information may now be out of date.