One of my favourite places to visit is Ballindalloch Castle and its amazing Gardens. www.ballindallochcastle.co.uk
This is the closest castle to visit from Aviemore that is not a ruin, just 15 miles from Grantown-on-Spey on the River Avon. Open from Easter, the daffodil display is worth seeing along with the walled gardens and rockery. There is also woodland and riverside walks and not forgetting 500 years of history. The castle also boasts award winning loos, tea room and gift shop, and keep an eye out for the Llamas!
Brodie Castle is next on my list as it’s a well preserved example of a Scottish Castle with lots of antiques, paintings and, if your lucky, a letter from Robert the Bruce on display. This castle is run by the National Trust for Scotland and there is always lots of events planned over the year, see their website for details.
Cawdor Castle and gardens https://www.cawdorcastle.com/ always have lots of events on including a Shakespeare open air theatre. This castle was made famous by MacBeth and has strong links to Shakespeare.
Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert, is just over an hour away from Aviemore and is a great day trip, it is only open to the public for restricted dates and we would recommend you book online (https://www.balmoralcastle.com/). Sadly Queen Elizabeth II died here on 8th September 2022 at the age of 96.
There are over 260 castles, stately homes and ruins nearby and plenty to visit. Please always check the castle is open as these old buildings take a lot of care and maintenance and my favourite fairy tale castle Craigievar is currently undergoing conservation work and closed until 2024.
Castle Roy near Nethy Bridge with our very own Highland cow is a ruin but once was a fortress built in the 12th century by the Clan Comyn.
Some more castles to visit are listed below:
Kinnaird Head Castle