Overview

Ballindalloch Castle is first and foremost a much-loved family home and one of the very few privately owned castles to be lived in continuously by its original family. 

Built originally in 1546, the Castle has been home to the Macpherson-Grants ever since, and Guy Macpherson-Grant, his wife, Victoria, and their three young children, are the 23rd and 24th generations of the family to live here.

This warm and welcoming castle is filled with family memorabilia and photographs, as well as antique furniture, fine china and a magnificent collection of 17th-century Spanish paintings. 

Visitors to the Castle will also find beautiful rock and rose gardens, and river walks, and the extensive grounds support a variety of native wildlife, including a healthy red squirrel population.

The estate is home also to the world-famous Aberdeen Angus cattle herd, which can be seen grazing peacefully beside the Castle during the summer months.


Opening
Opening

2020

10 April to 30 September, Sunday to Friday

10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm)

Find Us
Find us

The main visitor entrance is at ///jiggle.displays.mural. What does this mean?
 
The Castle lies on the A95, 14 miles NE of Grantown-on-Spey and 21 miles south of Elgin.
 
The Speyside Way long-distance walking and cycling route passes close by the Castle. The section from Ballindalloch to Grantownon-
Spey is not suitable for cyclists.

Parking

  • Free

Taxi

C U There Taxis 01340 871217

Admission
Admission

HIstoric Houses members visit for free.
 
Castle & Grounds: Adult £12.00, Child (6-16 years inc) £6.00, OAP £10.00, Family (2+3) £28.00
Grounds Only: Adult £6.00, Child (6-16 years inc) £3.00, OAP £6.00, Family (2+3) £14.00

 

 

More admission details


Opening
Opening

2020

10 April to 30 September, Sunday to Friday

10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm)

Find Us
Find us

The main visitor entrance is at ///jiggle.displays.mural. What does this mean?
 
The Castle lies on the A95, 14 miles NE of Grantown-on-Spey and 21 miles south of Elgin.
 
The Speyside Way long-distance walking and cycling route passes close by the Castle. The section from Ballindalloch to Grantownon-
Spey is not suitable for cyclists.

Parking

  • Free

Taxi

C U There Taxis 01340 871217

Admission
Admission

HIstoric Houses members visit for free.
 
Castle & Grounds: Adult £12.00, Child (6-16 years inc) £6.00, OAP £10.00, Family (2+3) £28.00
Grounds Only: Adult £6.00, Child (6-16 years inc) £3.00, OAP £6.00, Family (2+3) £14.00

 

 

More admission details

Other opening

The Gardens

The Gardens are the pride and joy of the Laird’s mother, Clare Russell, and the Head Gardener, Giles Sumner. Although not blessed with the most ideal of climates to produce reliably horticultural firework displays, the Gardens have been planned to make the most of the soil and the landscape throughout the year!

The formal grounds of Ballindalloch Castle were principally laid down in the second half of the 19th Century, following the extensive restorations to the Castle made around 1850. To the north and east the grounds are bordered by the River Spey and the rising gradients of Cairn Guish. To the west lies the River Avon (pronounced Aan), its source on the summit of Ben Macdhui, with tributaries from the Cairngorms and Beinn Mheadhoin, and at 38 miles in length, the longest tributary of the River Spey. To the south stands the Bridge of Avon, dating from 1754, once the entrance to the Castle, once too a military road, built following the final subjugation of the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. A remarkable structure, it is carved into the rocky gorge and consists of a lofty arch spanning two ornamental turrets. Although long disused, over the keystone can still be seen the Macpherson-Grant coat of arms and the family motto: Touch not the cat bot a glove.

Today the visitor enters the Gardens by passing the 18th Century Doo’cot (or dovecote) and soon discovers that there are, in fact, three distinct gardens waiting to be explored. Beyond the large lawn extending from the front of the Castle lies the Rockery, climbing up from the lower slopes of the valley of the River Avon, and affording fine views of the Castle itself. Adjacent to, and enclosed on three sides by the Castle, sits the Courtyard Garden, classically formal and hauntingly romantic. North of the Castle a laburnum arch and tree-lined avenue leads to the magnificent Walled Garden, redesigned in 1996 to celebrate the Castle’s 450th anniversary, and a profusion of colour and perfume all year round.

Find out more here


Walks

There are several beautiful walks around the Castle's extensive formal gardens, woodlands and riverside meadows.

There are a number of designated walks around the grounds which offer walkers of all ages and abilities the chance to explore and enjoy this idyllic corner of Speyside including the Garden Walk (20 minutes), Porter's Lodge Walk (40 minutes) and River Walk (45 minutes).



Ballindalloch Castle's history and features

15th and 16th Centuries

Situated on the banks of the River Avon, a short distance from its junction with the River Spey, Ballindalloch Castle has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since it was finished in 1546.

However, the lands of Ballindalloch and Glencairnie had been granted to John Grant of Freuchie by King James IV in 1498, though his grandfather is described as ‘Crown Tacksman of Ballindalloch’ in 1457. In turn, it was John’s grandson, also named John Grant, who began building the castle around 1542.

Constructed at a time when the Highlands were rife with clan feuds and prey to the avarice of monarchs, both English and Scottish, Ballindalloch Castle was once a fortress as well as a family home. The original castle was formed in the shape of a ‘Z’ plan, with the living quarters, a three-storey square block of stone, flanked to north and south by two high circular towers, each protecting two sides of the rectangle. The Rivers Spey and Avon formed a natural moat to north and west, and the entrance to the castle was guarded by an apparatus designed to drop stones and sewage upon unwanted visitors.

It has puzzled observers ever since that John Grant did not build his castle upon the high grounds slightly to the east. If there is a strategic or geographical explanation then it is lost. All we have is a legend. John Grant ordered his stone masons to construct a castle upon the hill, but more than once a new dawn would find the foundations turned to rubble and lying across the bed of the River Avon. Eventually John Grant determined to keep a night time vigil upon his fledgling castle, only to find himself and his stonework swept off the hill by a mighty gust of wind sweeping down from the rocky tors of Ben Rinnes, accompanied by a demonic voice imploring him to build his castle “on the coo haugh”. So it was that Ballindalloch Castle came to be sited upon the ‘cows’ meadow’ running alongside the banks of the River Avon.

Find out more here


A word from the owner

Although none of the current family have been aware of a ghost in the Castle, there are reputedly several! Probably the best-known of these is the 'Pink Lady' who is reputed to haunt the Pink Tower Bedroom. Seek her out if you're brave enough!

Things to See

Fun Facts

One of the most interesting characters to have lived in the Castle was General James Grant (1720-1806) who served in the British Army during the American War of Independence, and was Governor of East Florida from 1763 to 1771.

In addition to having a distinguished military career, General Grant was also something of a gourmet, and was reputed to have dined in his tent off the finest silverware as bullets flew outside in the height of battle.

On returning to Ballindalloch, General Grant brought with him his favourite French chef, for whom an entire new wing was added to the Castle to provide optimum living and working conditions.

Visitors to the Castle can see portraits of the General, painted at different stages of his career by Richard Waitt.