In and around Aboyne - a Royal Deeside Village

Aboyne was modelled by one of the first Marquesses of Huntly (inhabitants of Aboyne Castle) on a traditional English village with a green at the centre. Few Scottish towns have such an asset.

The present day village really started taking shape in the 1820s when a major new bridge was built over the River Dee. A few years later, the arrival of the railway and the establishment of a top quality golf club, turned Aboyne into a popular Victorian country resort. World Horse Welfare at Belwade Farm is a great visitor attraction along with it's Bistro. Open Wednesday - Sunday.

The Green is where the town’s annual Highland Games, are held on the first Saturday in August. Aboyne is also home to a community theatre, which screens film shows and periodically has theatre performances. Sporting facilities including a swimming pool and tennis courts and there are easy walks along the riverside. While during the summer there are also Arts & Music festivals. Whilst visiting Aboyne take the opportunity to visit George Strachans Ltd who have one of the finest ranges of whiskies, gins and beers in the North East. If exploring the great outdoors then a trip to Hilltrek Ltd, an outdoor clothing & equipment specialist offering high quality tailor-made outdoor wear. 

Glen Tanar

Nearby to Aboyne, on the south side of the river is the Glen Tanar Estate, which spans 25,000 acres and is home to Mount Keen, Scotland’s most easterly Munro.  With its magnificent native Caledonian pinewood forest, a wide array of plants and wildlife have made this tranquil estate their home. Look out for golden eagles, red squirrel, osprey and buzzards. Read more about what this great estate in Royal Deeside can offer HERE

To the north of Aboyne nestles the village of Tarland at the centre of the Howe O’ Cromar, close to the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. Pronounced in Gaelic as Turlann, the village is a fine starting point for many walks and cycle rides including the Tarland Way. Or experience the Tarland Trails, mountain bike trails located in Drummy Woods just at the edge of the village. With 3 different level of difficulty it can suit cyclist of all abilities.

The area is steeped in history with one of the best examples of a recumbent stone circle at Tomnaverie. Built around 2500 BC, a fascinating stone circle believed to have been used for cremation burials around 1000 BC.

Just outside the village is the Culsh Earth House, an Iron Age below ground dwelling. Despite the name, the 'earth house' is not a house meant for dwelling, but an underground storage area, normally for food. This one probably served as a community cellar.

Royal Deeside PassporTour Things to see and do Travel guide for the Cairngorms and Aberdeenshire Braemar, Ballater, Balmoral, Aboyne, Banchory, Crathes ,MacBeth


Travel back east from Tarland and you come to Lumphanan, a smaller village settlement, predominantly built in the late 19th century. However like a number of villages throughout the area it is also steeped in history.

Originally known as Llanfinan (Valley of Finan) it was named after Finan an early Christian saint who established his church here about 1400 years ago. It was also a medieval site to one of the earliest Norman fortified houses in the north of Scotland around the late 12 th century.

Also known to have connections to Macbeth, find out more on our page

Macbeth’s Stone and Macbeth’s Well attract large numbers of visitors every year eager to trace the history of the Scottish noble. There is now a downloadable Aberdeenshire Council app – Discover Deeside, which uses augmented reality to guide visitors around these ancient sites.

Whilst walking in the footsteps of Macbeth why not enjoy taking in a cuppa and a fine piece at the "Meet Again Tea Shop" Delighted to have this traditional Scottish Tearoom as part of the Royal Deeside PassporTour Tea and Cake Trail.

Aberdeenshires Discover Deeside app 

The Peel Ring of Lumphanan is an example of the earthworks associated with timber castles.  There are no remains now beyond the motte and sizeable earthwork defences and no stone remnants of any buildings.

In the 19th century local villagers used a level area inside the lower earthworks as a curling rink in winter, and you can still see the layout of the rink on the grass. The site is located in a peaceful farming area, and seems somehow lost in time. 

The village also has a short but challenging 9-hole golf course, which is set amidst some lovely scenery.

Kincardine O'Neil Video from Roy Stewart's "My Dear Paradise in the Highlands" for the Royal Deeside GeoTour

Not far from Lumphanan travelling a little south you will find the oldest village in Royal Deeside - Kincardine O’Neil

This village has a long and illustrious history as for centuries it overlooked one of the most important fords across the River Dee, as it lay on the direct route north from the Cairn O' Mount road. 

In 1296, Edward I of England's 35,000 strong army not only crossed the river here they also camped around the village, consuming an entire year's supplies of food and drink in a single day!

It was also the most direct drove route for cattle moving from northern Aberdeenshire down to markets further south. However when the Dee was in spate the drovers had to wait. Other travellers could make use of a ferry some 300m upstream from the ford.

A ferry was still in use as late as 1937 but a flood wrecked and washed it away. The fare was 2d and last crossing of the day at 10.00pm.

The village is remarkable in having very few buildings less than 100 years old. Sitting majestically on a hillside above the village is the magnificent fantasy castle of Kincardine Castle, available for exclusive use with the Laird, Andrew Bradford. As one of Scotland's finest Victorian Castle it nestles in 3000 acres and has a commanding view over the village and beyond. Holding corporate events, specialist events and pop up cafes, and an open garden day for charity.

The former Hotel was built as a coaching inn in the 1830s. In summer it was a staging post on the horse & coach service to Braemar. In winter it was often the end of the service from Aberdeen.

The 26-mile journey from Aberdeen to Kincardine O'Neil could take between 8 and 11 hours depending on the weather.

The businesses mentioned within this blog all feature with the Royal Deeside PassporTour.

Whats On for Aboyne 

(subject to change by event organisers and information as at 31.10.17)

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 21st November 2017, 21:00

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 28th November 2017, 21:00

At Glen Tanar Estate - Sunday 3rd December 2017, 14:00 - 17:00

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 5th December 2017, 21:00

At Victory Hall

Saturday 9th December 2017, 18:30 - 00:00

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 12th December 2017, 21:00

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 19th December 2017, 21:00

At Deeside Community Theatre- Friday 22nd December 2017, 19:30

Whats On in and around Royal Deeside for #TravelTuesday week 15th Nov - 21st Nov

At Balmoral Castle and Estate- Wednesday 15th November 2017

At The Barn - Saturday 18th November 2017, 10:00 - 17:00

In Banchory - Saturday 18th November 2017, 14:30 - 17:00

At Bellfield Car Park - Saturday 18th November 2017, 09:00 - 13:00

At The Barn - Sunday 19th November 2017, 10:00 - 17:00

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