Crathes Castle – a jewel in the National Trust crown – sits on land given as a gift to the Burnett of Leys family by King Robert the Bruce in 1323. Construction of the current tower house of Crathes Castle was begun in 1553 but delayed several times during its construction due to political problems during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. It was finally completed in 1596. The castle estate contains 530 acres of woodlands and fields, including nearly four acres of an exquisite walled garden. Ancient topiary hedges of Irish yew dating from 1702 separate the stunning gardens into eight themed areas.