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Your Heritage – Brick By Brick

Stroll through the streets of The Banffshire Coast and you will not just be walking in the footsteps of your forefathers – you will gain a unique insight into the social history of this special stretch of coastline. There must be few places in the world where you can discover charming fishing cottages dwarfed by impressive Georgian mansions, or medieval castles overlooking 20th century distilleries.

The majority of our settlements – particularly those at the smaller end of the spectrum – have gone largely untouched by modern development. These places are exactly as they would have been in the time of your ancestors so you don’t even have to close your eyes to imagine what it would have been like hundreds of years ago.

Architectural highlights on a maritime theme include the Seatown at Cullen, Gardenstown with its properties hugging onto the side of the cliff and the enchanting hamlet of Crovie – a place so untouched by time that there are no roads.

If, however, your interest leans more towards the imposing rather than the unassuming, then you should not miss the splendid Georgian architecture of Portsoy and the county capital of Banff. This merchant town is home to some of the finest examples of Georgian period architecture in Scotland, playing second fiddle only, perhaps, to Edinburgh.

Highlights include the striking Banff Castle – a distinctly coloured mansion house which has commanding views over Banff Bay – and 1 High Shore which, with its turret feature, is said to be one of the best townhouses anywhere in Scotland. These properties have been home to generations of merchants, bankers and other well-heeled families who settled in the area or came here on holiday.

The most famous – and most imposing – of all the buildings in Banffshire is Duff House.  It was built in 1740 by the acclaimed architect William Adam for William Duff, Lord Braco, with the interior being completed 100 years later. Now home to a fine art collection from the National Galleries of Scotland, the property wasn’t always inhabited by the wealthy Duff family: over the years it has been a palm court hotel, a sanatorium and a prisoner of war camp during World War II.

The entire North-east of Scotland is renowned for its castles, and Banffshire does not disappoint. From the homely Delgatie Castle near Turriff to the ruinous Findlater Castle to the east of Cullen, there are regal properties just waiting to be explored.

For those who can trace their family roots back hundreds of years rather than just a few generations, the charming village of Fordyce may offer up something of interest. The origins of the village date back to medieval times, with the church and castle the earliest examples of built heritage. Here too you can see how craftsmen would have worked in the days before computers and mechanical equipment with a visit to the Fordyce Joiner’s Workshop.

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