This 16th century pink castle in Scotland is Lonely Planet’s top UK destination

The delightful property (Picture: National Trust for Scotland/SWNS)

A dreamy pink castle has been named the UK’s top destination by Lonely Planet.

The 16th century property is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Cinderella’s Castle – which is hardly surprising considering it looks like it’s come straight off the page of a fairytale.

Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire topped the popular travel guide’s list of ten lesser-known UK destinations to visit in 2021.

The impressive castle, built in 1576, boasts turrets, ornate corbels and carved stonework and its aesthetically-pleasing design attracts thousands of visitors every year – even royalty have visited it in the past.

It was first owned by the Forbes family in 1610, after trader William Forbes purchased it.

The stuff of fairytales (Picture: National Trust for Scotland/SWNS)
Dripping with history (Picture: National Trust for Scotland/SWNS)

But, despite its bold appearance, the building was originally a cream colour. 

After it was inherited by John Forbes in the 19th century, an architect recommended that the harling (the rough-cast wall finish) should have pigments added to make it more closely match the colour of the granite detailing – and the result was a distinctly pink shade.

The incredible interior (Picture: National Trust for Scotland/SWNS)
So regal (Picture: National Trust for Scotland/SWNS)

Now, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) runs the estate and, while the castle is currently closed, it is set to reopen from May 27. 

Other destinations to make it onto the Lonely Planet list include the picturesque village of Portmeirion in Wales in second place, followed by Tresco Abbey Gardens in the Isles of Scilly in third position.

Tom Hall, at Lonely Planet, said: ‘London has always dominated tourism in the UK, and for good reason, but the entire country is overflowing with historic sites and natural wonders.

‘The pandemic caused us all to pause and re-evaluate how we travel, and I think now is the perfect time to update that bucket list with some of these under-the-radar places you might have overlooked in the past.’

Lonely Planet’s top ten lesser-known locations across the UK 2021:

1. Craigievar Castle, Alford, Scotland

2. Portmeirion, Wales

3. Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly

4. Oundle, Northamptonshire, England

5. Benmore Botanic Garden, Strath Eachaig, Scotland

6. Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) from the quieter Rhyd Ddu path, Wales

7. Howtown & Martindale, Cumbria, England

8. Lincolnshire Wolds

9. Holkham Beach, Norfolk, England

10. Marshwood Vale, Dorset

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