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Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens

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 west the grounds are bordered by the River Spey and the rising gradients of Cairn Guish. To the south 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.

Roses are the main attraction in this 1.5 acre space, with climbers and ramblers sprawling over trellises and hanging in swags from ropes while shrub roses vye for space with perennials flowers in the borders. Roses also grow into a series of cherry trees and here clematis have been encouraged to weave their way through them.

Bounded on three sides by the castle walls is the formal Courtyard Garden, while the woodlands that surround the castle are filled with wildlife and the parkland’s many fine trees provide colour late in the season.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

Opening times

10am – 5pm (last admission: 4pm)

Sunday – Thursday (Closed Friday and Saturday)


15th Century

In 1498, King James IV granted the lands of Ballindalloch to John Grant of Freuchie for faithful service.

16th Century

In 1539, John Grant and his family agreed that his son, Patrick Grant, will be the owner of Ballindoch.

In 1546, Tthe lintel of Ballindoch castle bore the date of 1546, showing that John Grant built the castle soon after he became the first Laird of Ballindalloch. Grant built a central hall block with two vaulted cellars with a round tower at each corner of the diagonal in a traditional ‘Z’ plan.

17th Century

In 1602, Grant built a third tower midway along the hall sides, with the main staircase accessing all floors. Historians speculate that they added a courtyard at this time, but no trace of the walls survives. They also presume that a residential wing addition to the western end of the castle with a second stair occurred.

In 1645, the Royalist Montrose burned the Ballindalloch Castle to avenge the Grants’ support of the Covenant.

In 1682, the Ballindalloch Estate was in financial disrepair, and the new Laird must settle the debts to inherit the land and castle, which prompted John Grant to support the Jacobites in 1689.

19th Century

The architect Thomas Mackenzie modernised the castle and added whimsical baronial elements without sacrificing the integrity of the original structure. Owners added a second residential wing on the Eastern side, making the mansion a U shape.

In 1806, the castle was passed on to a grand-nephew, George Macpherson, who adopted the name MacPherson grant. His grandson carried out the castle’s extensive renovations in 1853-1878, some of which the owners demolished in the 20th century.

21st Century

The castle remains the MacPherson-Grants’ property. They allow the public to access some rooms, and the rest form the MacPherson-Grant residence.

Features & Designations


    Key Information

    Open to the public