Lickleyhead Castle

Auchleven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

In response to Covid-19, additional safety measures are currently in effect.

Exclusive Use

You can have the venue to yourself (sleeps 17 guests in 7 rooms). Enquire

Lickleyhead Castle is a Grade A-listed historic building from the 16th century.

This luxury, self-catering castle stands on a ten-acre estate in the idyllic countryside of rural Aberdeenshire. It's a great place to get away from it all; the only sounds you’ll hear here are birdsong and the running water in the two burns.

The castle's 7 bedrooms comfortably sleep 14 adults. Lickleyhead is a great venue for family gatherings, reunions and birthday celebrations, whether you are interested in the fantastic history of the site, the splendour of the interior, or the natural beauty of the grounds.


In total, Lickleyhead Castle can accommodate up to 14 adults, 4 children and 3 dogs. The entire castle will be yours throughout the duration of your stay. Despite its grandeur, the castle feels very much like a home.

Each of the bedrooms has been styled to reflect a period of history and is named after a former owner or resident of the castle. This includes the 16th-century box bedroom which has proven to be a great favourite with guests, and the Victorian nursery on the very top floor.

Other features include the large great hall with original working fireplace (one of several in the castle), a large sitting room with adjoining library, a dining room and a kitchen with an aga, electric cooker and informal seating area.


Lickleyhead Castle is close to the sleepy village of Auchleven and is sheltered by a long woodland drive. Unlike in western parts of Scotland, biting insects are not generally a problem and it is comfortable to sit outside in the barbeque area over a drink. Before the sun goes down, make sure to pick some wild raspberries or strawberries for your dessert! Evening brings out the pipistrelles and the barn owls. There you can enjoy the night sky in its full glory; light pollution-free. The colder months bring their own delights. The changing colour of the leaves is very attractive. In winter, red deer come down from the higher slopes of Bennachie to feast upon the exposed green grass.


Hikers welcome! The castle grounds lead directly onto the mountain trails. No roads to be crossed. Bring your boots.

This is whisky country. Several local distilleries have tours of their facilities, including world-famous Glenfiddich and Chivas.

If the closer options are too tame, this mountain range is just on the doorstep. Skiing and climbing are within range.

You have the choice of difficulty level, from world-renowned courses, such as Trump International to scenic Huntly.

The Queen's Scottish home can be viewed by appointment at certain times of the year. Please check before visiting.

The spectacular ruins of Scotland’s past are scattered across the local landscape.

Highland Games
Staying in August? Make time for the Lonach Games.

Local Flavour
The home of Aberdeen Angus has a fine selection of restaurants as well as stately homes offering afternoon tea.


Lickleyhead Castle was built in several phases. While a lordly home of some kind has existed at the site since at least the 13th century, no parts of the current building date from that time. Instead, the heart of the castle, the central tower containing the hall and the laird's room, was constructed in the mid-1500s by the Leith family. A major remodelling in 1629 (the date written over the front entrance) ordered by John Forbes added the western turret and the top floor. Another hundred years brought new owners, the Duffs, who added the long two-storey southern wing, forming the rough 'L' that can be seen from the air. An extension to this was carried out in the early nineteenth century under Henry Lumsden. A further smaller extension (a single utility room) was joined on at a later date, presumably also in the 19th century. The next hundred years brought some changes to the interior, enhancing the building's splendour, however it was sadly falling into disrepair at the end of the 2010s. The current owners have been carrying out a sympathetic restoration of the castle, attempting to bring it back to its former glory to the benefit of future generations.

Former Residents

John Forbes
A covenanter and accused as a sharp-eyed poacher, John Forbes purchased the castle from the Leith family in the 1620s. He significantly altered the 16th-century building, moving into Lickleyhead with his wife, Margaret Skene, in 1625.

John Maitland
A hero of the Napoleonic War, he became associated with the castle through marriage to owner Elizabeth Ogilvie. First over the walls during the assault on Fort Fleur d'Épée in the 1790s, he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral in 1821.

Maria Luz De Landa
Socialite Maria was the daughter of the governor of Mexico City, Don Guillermo de Landa y Escandon. Her marriage to William Arbuthnot-Leslie brought the Leslie family back to Lickleyhead after a five-hundred-year hiatus.

Rose Leslie
Lickleyhead Castle was the childhood home of The Game of Thrones star, Rose Leslie. There have been other notable roles in Downton Abbey and The Good Fight. Her marriage to fellow actor, Kit Harrington, in 2018 was widely followed.


Prices includes private use of the castle for up to 14 adults on a self-catered basis and include VAT.

Up to 4 children and 3 dogs can be accommodated additionally by request.

20213 nights7 nights
4 Jan -14 Febfrom £2250£4200
15 Feb - 31 Marfrom £2100£3700
1 Apr - 6 Aprfrom £2250£4200
7 Apr - 30 Aprfrom £2100£3700
1 May - 13 Junfrom £2250£4200
14 Jun - 5 Sepfrom £2700£4800
6 Sep - 30 Sepfrom £2250£4200
1 Oct - 27 Octfrom £2100£3700
28 Oct - 7 Novfrom £2250£4200
8 Nov - 14 Decfrom £2100£3700
15 Dec - 18 Decfrom £2250£4200
New Year-£7000

For short stays an additional £200 per night will be charged for Friday/Saturday/Sunday.


Lickleyhead Castle is located in rural Aberdeenshire, close to the village of Auchleven.