Category Archive Historic Buildings

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse and Museum, Fraserburgh

Kinnaird Head Castle Lighthouse and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is based in the bustling fishing port of Fraserburgh on the North East corner of Aberdeenshire. It’s all here; Kinnaird Head Lighthouse – the very first lighthouse on mainland Scotland (1787), Kinnaird Head Castle containing the lighthouse and the purpose-built museum alongside.
The museum tells the great story of the Northern Lighthouse Board, the engineers who built the lights and the keepers who tended them.
It is a story of skill, courage, technical genius and brilliant organisation.

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

The Kinnaird Head Lighthouse and Museum at Historic Environment Scotland

The Castle and Lighthouse at VisitAberdeenshire

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Pittmedden Gardens

Pitmedden Gardens is a National Trust Garden 14 miles north of Aberdeen.

Pitmedden is a 17th-century walled garden on two levels. Original garden pavilions with ogival roofs look down on an elaborate spectacle of four rectangular boxwood parterres flanked by fine herbaceous borders and espalier-trained apple trees on south and west-facing granite walls. An avenue of yew obelisks runs from east to west and up to 30,000 bedding plants add to the wow factor of this immaculately kept formal garden.”

Scotland’s Gardens

“Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. Brilliant 17th-century design and meticulous maintenance give Pitmedden Garden its unique charm. With almost 6 miles of clipped box hedging, colourful parterres, over 200 fruit trees, and the sweet scents of honeysuckle and jasmine, Pitmedden really is a delight for the senses.
It’s hard to imagine a garden today being planted on such an extravagant scale. The heart of the property is the formal walled parterre garden. There are also extensive herbaceous borders with an abundance of colour and scent. Fountains, topiary, sundials and a fascinating herb garden add to the sense of discovery. The surrounding woods are a haven for birds and other wildlife.
Be amazed at over 30,000 annual bedding plants that make up the colourful designs, and explore the woodlands around the garden on the waymarked trail. The picnic area is an ideal spot to stop for lunch, and you can even enjoy a game of boules on our pétanque piste. The adjacent Museum of Farming Life boasts an extensive collection of domestic and agricultural artefacts.”


Pitmedden Gardens at NTS Scotland

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Pitmedden Gardens on Facebook

The Mercat Cross

Mercat Cross, Castlegate

A Mercat Cross is the Scots name for the market cross found frequently in Scottish cities, towns and villages where historically the right to hold a regular market or fair was granted by the monarch, a bishop or a baron. It therefore served a secular purpose as a symbol of authority, and was an indication of a burgh’s relative prosperity.

“The Mercat Cross was the traditional heart of the burgh.

At the cross new monarchs were proclaimed: a locked staircase led from ground level to the top where announcements were made. The symbolism in making the announcement from this spot was important to the Jacobites and on the 20th of September 1715, the Old Pretender was declared king at the Mercat Cross.

Designed and made from sandstone by John Montgomery in 1686 and built, excluding the cost of the materials, for a fee of £1200. The decorative hexagonal base features six arches with pillars at each corner, animal gargoyles and medallions. Ten of the twelve medallions illustrate Stewart monarchs; namely James I to James V, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, Charles I and II and James VII, with the remaining two showing the Royal arms and the burgh’s arms. 

Positioned above the parapet on a Corinthian capital is the white marble unicorn with a gilded horn. The shaft and unicorn are replacements from the mid 1990s; the originals are on display in the Tolbooth.”


The Mercat Cross of Aberdeen – Echoes of the Past

St Andrew’s Cathedral

St Andrew’s Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, is a cathedral of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is the see of the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.

The original building was designed in the perpendicular Gothic style by the architect Archibald Simpson, one of the main architects of Edinburgh New Town, and is one of Simpson’s many commissions in the city. While three sides of the Cathedral were built out of the usual local granite, for which Aberdeen is famous, the facade of the structure, facing King Street, was built from sandstone.

Video of the Day

3rd May 2019

Royal Deeside

The Tolbooth Museum

Aberdeen Tolbooth Museum

“The Tolbooth Museum is one of Aberdeen’s oldest buildings and one of the best-preserved 17th century gaols in Scotland. It features displays on local history and the development of crime and punishment through the centuries. The Tolbooth Museum provides a unique experience in the form of its atmospheric 17th and 18th century cells, original doors and barred windows. Displays include the Maiden and the blade of Aberdeen’s 17th century guillotine.”

Tolbooth Museum website

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St Mary’s R.C. Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Mary of the Assumption, usually known as St Mary’s Cathedral, is Aberdeen’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.

The Cathedral Church is the main place of worship in the Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen. It was opened in December 1860 as the principal Catholic Church in the west end of the city, replacing St. Peter’s Church in the Castlegate, when there were about 1,000 Catholics out of a population of 74,000 and the number of Catholics was increasing. It became the Cathedral (the church of the Bishop’s Chair ) when the post-reformation diocese was set up in 1878.

The architect of the church was Alexander Ellis, a local man. The spire, added with the bells in 1876-1877, was designed by R.G. Wilson. The church was rededicated in I960, the centenary of its opening, after the interior had been extensively simplified, anticipating by some years the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965.

Cathedral website

Aberdeenshire Castles 3: Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland and one of the grandest ‘Castles of Mar’. It is located 16 miles from the Aberdeen, near Kemnay. The castle stands in over 300 acres of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th century. There is archaeological evidence of an older square tower dating from around 1400 or 1500 within the current construction.

“From the striking simplicity of the medieval Great Hall to the well-stocked library and Victorian bedrooms, a tour of the castle gives a sense of walking through history. Each laird stamped his personality on the family seat, from the various ways of spying on those in the Great Hall to trophies gathered on global adventures.

The panoramic views from the top of the round tower are spectacular, revealing the courtyard, gardens and estate beyond, ready to be explored. The distinctive peaks of Bennachie can be seen in the distance. There are two waymarked walks on the estate that offer magnificent views of the local area.

The traditional walled garden includes specimen trees, herbaceous borders, a medicinal border and organically grown fruit and vegetables.

Explore the Woodland Secrets adventure playground, featuring wooden sculptures, a bamboo snake walk, tepees, a tree hut and a giant xylophone.

Dogs are welcome in the grounds, but we ask dogs to be on the lead near the children’s play area and in the courtyard.

Relax in the tearoom where you can enjoy home baking, tasty soups and sandwiches.”

Castle Fraser

National Trust for Scotland website

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Picture of the Day

24th April 2019

The Lantern Tower of King’s College, Old Aberdeen