Crathes is one of the most important and best-preserved castles in north-east Scotland. Standing against a backdrop of rolling hills and set in its own glorious gardens, the castle was lived in by the Burnett family for over 350 years. As one of the internationally renowned ‘Castles of Mar’, Crathes was built by the Bell family of master masons, and was largely finished by 1595. Over the centuries the Burnett family extended and refined the Castle, culminating in the work of the 11th Laird, Sir Robert Burnett and his American wife, Matilda. The castle retains an important collection of early portraits of the Burnett family. Alongside these pictures Crathes also contains an important collection of its original furniture (including a dated bed and seat furniture), majolica and unusual and historic items, such as the Venetian prie dieu chair. The famous Horn of Leys, the Laird’s historic badge of office as the resident Royal Forester, is said to have been given by Robert the Bruce.