In and around Ballater - A Royal Deeside Village

Early 14th century, the area now known as Ballater was part of the estates of the Knights of St John. However the settlement did not develop until around the 1770’s when Col. Francis Farquharson built it as a spa resort to accommodate visitors to the Pananich Mineral Well. Pannanich Wells is now the home of the famous Deeside Water, one of the purest and healthiest waters in the world. 

The arrival of the railway in 1866 made access easier, with Ballater being the main terminus at the west end of the line, many more visitors arrived. Due to a fire in 2015, the former railway station is currently undergoing restoration works, but once completed the site will once again be a major hub and visitor attraction.

You will find many providers of accommodation in Ballater from self catering to timeshare. The Deeside Inn offers 56 traditionally Scottish rooms and has regular live music alongside a restaurant offering hearty fresh Scottish food.

Ballater has an enduring charm that doubtlessly contributed to the Royal decision to buy an estate close by. It is an attractive village, surrounded by hills and mountains, and enjoys a warm climate over the summer months. Outdoor activities such as golf (Ballater Golf Course is an 18 hole course set near the River Dee)  ski-ing, walking, mountain biking (Bike hire & walking maps from Cyclehighlands), fishing, shooting and stalking have always been popular.

If shopping is your thing then there are plenty of shops to choose from, many with have a Royal Warrant, from the award winning butchers to the local garage. HRH The Prince of Wales now has his shop Highgrove & Rothesay Rooms

Started in 1987 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession, the popular Ballater's Victoria Week is held in early August with the famous Highland Games. Find out more with Visit Ballater.

If you are in the area from the 24th November then checkout the Ballater Winter Festival as there is lots going on for all ages.

Visitors throughout the year can follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria taking in the sights and attractions that have been attracting tourists for 150 years. The Victorian Heritage Trail, (brown signposted road signs) were set up specially to promote the area’s Victorian connections for visitors to see and enjoy. New for 2017 is the Aberdeenshire "Discover Deeside" App which is a short augmented reality Queen Victoria trail around the village, which has been developed by Aberdeenshire Council and Ballater Business Association.

Head south from the village and you will come upon beautiful Loch Muick.

The loch and surrounding area, is a popular destination with many visitors. With a visitor centre and picnic benches and miles of well- maintained walking/cycling paths, which are suitable for most abilities. 

The paths take you around this unspoilt, deep dark loch with its steep sides that continue up from the depths of the loch towards Lochnagar. This grand mountain of huge corries and rugged features has a summit of 3789 ft.

Red deer abound in this area, magnificent stags roar in October to the background of heather moorland and tumbling waters.

The Loch is found at the end of 8 miles of scenic road through Glen Muick and sits within the boundaries of the Balmoral Estate. Queen Victoria’s hunting lodge Glas allt Sheils known as the “Widows Hut” (completed in 1868) is at the south end of the loch. 

Balmoral Castle & Estate offer safaris around the stunning estate with spectacular views across the Cairngorm National Park & Royal Deeside. 

To the east of the village of Ballater is Dinnet a village built in traditional Victorian style, when the railway first arrived. Rugged hills and sparkling lakes, the largest being Loch Kinord and Loch Davan, surround this small but popular holiday resort.  The village has a friendly & award winning hotel. The Cox family have run the Loch Kinord Hotel & Lodges for over 20 years.

Dinnet and its surrounding areas, have a rich history with ancient sites just waiting to be explored in the tumbling countryside. 

Explore the Muir of Dinnet and take a walk past the Burn O'Vat and up through the Cambus O'May woods to find yourself at the welcoming & dog friendly Riverside Cottage Cafe. Across the road you will find the Cambus O'May Cheese Factory. Tour visits are available on certain days and should be booked in advance.

An iron-age crannog (dwelling) was built on the loch, assumed for defensive purposes. Constructed from oak tree trunks, driven into the loch bed, covered with stones and a hut built on top. One of the remaining crannogs can be seen as a small island covered with trees. During the period when the Romans were in Britain (80 - 399 CE) a fort was built response to rumours of a Roman invasion.

A short distance away from the village is Blelach, where Charles Gordon raised the standard for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s 1745 rising.

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

Whats On for Ballater

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

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Wednesday 22nd November 2017

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Saturday 25th November 2017

At Ballater Church Green - Sunday 26th November 2017, 10:00 - 14:00

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Wednesday 29th November 2017

At Balmoral Castle and Estate- Saturday 2nd December 2017

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Wednesday 6th December 2017

Saturday 9th December 2017

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Wednesday 13th December 2017

Ballater Winter Festival 2017

Nov 24 - Nov 26 · Ballater, Aberdeenshire


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