Not to be confused with Slains Castle, the remnants of which lie approximately 6 miles to the south-west, New Slains Castle is a vast, imposing ruin that teeters on south-facing cliffs close to the pleasant village of Cruden Bay.
For a ruin, New Slains Castle is astonishingly complete, the interior a complicated maze of interlinking rooms, corridors, and doorways. Unlike similar sites in Scotland, the castle is oddly desolate: nettles proliferate in abandoned rooms, emphasising the sense of neglect and mystery – not altogether unsurprising in a building that has strong associations with literary horror.
Slains isn’t exactly attractive, but that certainly doesn’t detract from the visitor experience. Whether you visit in the height of summer, when the castle walls are bathed in sunlight, or on an early autumn morning when the mist creeps in, fingering its way into every stony crevice, the sense of history and nature conjoining is unmistakeable.
GETTING THERE AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Arriving by car
New Slains Castle is situated in the picturesque village of Cruden Bay, approximately half an hour’s drive north of Aberdeen (via the A92/A90).
A small car park is available outside the castle. Alternatively, turn onto Main Street opposite the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel in the village, and park next to the church. A short walk to the castle offers some pleasant views en-route.
Arriving by bus
From Aberdeen, take Stagecoach service X63 (Aberdeen – Peterhead), disembarking at Cruden Bay. The journey time is approximately 55 minutes.
Parts of New Slains Castle are difficult to access for visitors with restricted mobility.
Entry to the castle is free.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEARBY
PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK
On the doorstep of New Slains Castle, the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel takes pride in serving fresh Aberdeenshire produce, with a passion for fish and seafood. Special diets are catered for and a takeaway menu is also available.
In nearby Peterhead, there are numerous dining options, whether you’re in search of a mid-morning snack or a light lunch. For dinner, The Seaview Hotel and The Albert Hotel promise highly rated Scottish and British fayre.
DID YOU KNOW…?
The distinctive octagonal hall in New Slains Castle was the inspiration for the identical room that is described in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.