Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, Castle + Winetower

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, Castle + Winetower

The Winetower

The Winetower


Kinnaird Head (Scottish Gaelic: An Ceann Àrd, "high headland") is a headland projecting into the North Sea, within the town of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire on the east coast of Scotland. The 16th-century Kinnaird Castle was converted in 1787 for use as the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, the first lighthouse in Scotland to be lit by the Commissioners of Northern Lights. Kinnaird Castle and the nearby Winetower were described by W. Douglas Simpson as two of the nine castles of the Knuckle, referring to the rocky headland of north-east Aberdeenshire. Both buildings are category A listed buildings.


Kinnaird Castle, also known as Fraserburgh Castle and Kinnairdshead Castle, was begun in March 1570. The builder was Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th laird of Philorth, (c.1536–1623), who also transformed the fishing village of Faithlie into the burgh of Fraserburgh in the 1590s. However, the building of the castle led to such expense that he was forced to sell Philorth Castle, the family home. Alexander, 10th laird of Philorth, fought for the king at the Battle of Worcester (1651). Despite being badly wounded, he survived to live into his eighties. In 1669 he inherited the title of Lord Saltoun, and in later years he had apartments at Kinnaird Castle The last people to reside in the castle were Henrietta Fraser (1698-1751), daughter of the 12th Lord Saltoun, and her husband John Gordon of Kinellar (1684-1764). In 1787 it was leased to the Trustees of the Northern lights, who turned it into Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. Designed by Thomas Smith, the lamp was first lit on 1 December, 1787. The structure was rebuilt in the 1820s, and superseded by a new lighthouse in 1991. It now houses the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, which incorporates the original lighthouse and a modern building housing collections of lenses and other artefacts from many lighthouses across Scotland.


The Winetower is a small three-storey tower located approximately 50 metres (160 feet) from Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. The tower has been dated to the 16th-century, and may have gained its name through use as a store associated with the castle. The tower is accessed via the second floor, and contains elaborate carved stone pendants. It is reputed that in the cave below, one of the Fraser family imprisoned his daughter's boyfriend, leaving him to drown there. The daughter then jumped from the roof of the tower. There is red paint on the rocks below to illustrate her blood. According to local tradition, the tower is said to be haunted.


The museum is a place for you to have fun, to learn something new and to get involved. They do have lots of old stuff – they’re a museum! But it’s how they bring this to life through their displays, stories and desire to share that guarantees a fantastic day out. You could start by getting into character and trying on their keeper’s uniform, or at the very least by getting Dad to do it. They have a wide range of creative activities for children here; from the tried and trusted pencils and worksheets to climbing up the fascinating spiral staircase inside the lighthouse itself. Whether they just look like giant owls or you know the difference between Fresnel and hyper-radial ones, the lighthouse lenses are impressive feats of engineering, whatever your point of view. They have the largest lens collection in the UK along with a host of information about the engineers and keepers behind them. Learn about the famous Stevenson Family who constructed 93 lighthouses in 150 years; not to mention the skill and bravery they demonstrated in erecting Bell Rock.


They provide 45-minute guided tours around the Kinnaird Head castle and lighthouse building. Winter Tours (November to end March) From Tuesday to Sunday, tours leaving: 11:00, 12:00 (subject to demand), 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00; Summer (25th March to end October) Daily tours leaving: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00. The museum and ground floor of the castle are accessible to wheelchair users. The Winetower is not accessible. There is an Induction Loop. Disabled parking is available. There is an excellent Stevenson's Tea Room. There are disabled toilets on site. Assistance Dogs are Welcome.


Location : Kinnaird Head, Stevenson Road, Fraserburgh, AB43 9DU

Transport: Aberdeen (National Rail) then bus (67, 68) . Bus Routes : 74 stops nearby

Opening Times : Daily 10:00 to 16:30

Tickets : Adults £7.70;  Concessions £5.50;  Children (5 and over) £3.30

Tel: 01975 562292