Local Area Information

Ballater is a friendly picturesque Victorian village, sitting on the banks of the River Dee, within the Cairngorms National Park.

The village offers a wide range of amenities including a variety of restaurants, cafes, shops, pubs and takeaways to suit all tastes and budgets. Shops include a butcher, baker, supermarket (open 7am - 11pm), delicatessen, clothing and gift shops, many of which feature the Royal “By Appointment” coat of arms reflecting the area’s many links to the Royal Family. The historic Old Royal Station, recently refurbished, now houses a tourist information office, gift shop and cafe. There is an 18 hole golf course with magnificent views of the surrounding hills, tennis courts, putting green and bowling club.

Ballater is an excellent base from which to explore Royal Deeside, the Eastern Cairngorms and this wonderful area’s rich heritage. There are a number of historic castles nearby including Balmoral Castle and Estate (8 miles), Crathes, Braemar and Craigievar Castles. Queen Victoria purchased Balmoral Estate in 1848 and royal connections with Ballater continue to this day. Members of the Royal Family are regular visitors, including the Queen, who holidays at Balmoral for 3 months each summer.

Ballater and the glorious river and mountain landscape of the surrounding area, offer a wide range of summer and winter activities to suit all ages. 

  • A haven for walkers, there are numerous forest, riverside and loch-side trails to more challenging hill and mountain climbs. You will find plenty of maps and guide books in Bearberry Cottage.
  • The River Dee is one of the most popular salmon rivers in Scotland and the nearby River Don is famous for its trout. There is wildlife in abundance, including red deer, golden eagles, red squirrels, ospreys in summer, pine marten, otters and mountain hares.
  • Ballater is on the 90 mile Snow Roads Scenic Route which offers drivers and bikers the opportunity to explore this wild and beautiful highland countryside. Cyclists, including families, may enjoy the safe and gentle terrain of The Deeside Way, an off-road track which runs for 41 miles along the route of the old railway from Ballater to Aberdeen.
  • Other activities include gliding at nearby Aboyne, skiing at Glenshee and The Lecht, pony trekking, and further opportunities for golf at the numerous courses just a short drive away.  
  • The “Granite City” of Aberdeen, 40 miles, provides further cultural activities, theatre and shopping.