In and around Banchory - A Royal Deeside Village


Banchory Lodge Hotel

Surrounded by rolling countryside with a population of 8,000+ Banchory is the largest town in Royal Deeside.

With the arrival of the railway in 1853 the town turned into a country resort and much of its architecture dates back to that Victorian era. Due to its mild sunny climate and air quality it was also chosen for pioneering health care in the late 19th century. Somerset Maughan wrote his short story "Sanatorium" during his stay in 1917

A strong community spirit awaits your visit with a community hub in the Scott Skinner Square. A good selection of shops, eating establishments, activities and accommodation, can be found & it continues to be a popular holiday destination. Hill walkers and geocachers are in their element on nearby Scolty Hill or one of the higher peaks such as Clachnaben. Banchory Golf Course and the Inchmarlo Resort and Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo offer a real Scottish Golf experience. Explore the walks and mountains with Hillgoers or if pumping iron is more your thing then take a trip to The Unit Gym & Fitness run by Olympian Ben Kilner and his family. Fancy something a little more extreme then why not visit The Battle Grounds Activity Centre.

Braemar Media captures the fun from Banchory River Festival

The Banchory River Festival is held on the second weekend in June while the Banchory Agricultural Show is the last Saturday in July. Woodend Barn is an arts centre, set in a converted cow byre and has a year-round programme of arts, events, exhibitions and workshops. As you partake in one of the many Barn's events why not take time out next door & enjoy a bite to eat at Buchanans Bistro.

Lying some 7 miles west of Banchory is the popular village of Torphins. The name Torphins is said to derive from Thorfinn, the Orkney earl. As one of the larger villages it rests in a valley surrounded by rolling hills and rich farmland. It was a small settlement until the arrival of the Deeside Railway line railway in the mid 19th century, which connected Aberdeen to Ballater.

The station built by the Deeside Railway, on what is now the north side of the village, took the name of the nearest settlement, Torphins and within a short period of time the modern village began to grow around it.

The railway ceased operations in 1966, and the station is long gone but stroll through the sleepy village and you will uncover more than a few historic treasures.

The railway frequently used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, when they travelled by Royal carriage to Ballater – passed through this area and the charming bridges and buttresses that scatter the village are testimony to this.

The village has a selection of local shops, sport facilities a challenging 9-hole golf course and there is a weekly market on Wednesdays 

Travel a little south and west of Banchory and you arrive at Finzean and Ballogie.

These are two small villages surrounded by estates of the same name and are situated on the scenic South Deeside Road.

The ancient name of the Ballogie estate was Tillysnaught but after several changes of ownership the estate was sold to James Dyce Nicol MP for Kincardineshire 1865 – 72 and continues to be owned by the Nicol family to-date.

Ballogie is home to the oldest bridge on Royal Deeside, the Potarch Bridge, next to Potarch Cafe & Restaurant home of the famous Dinnie Stanes, once carried by Donald Dinnie, who was thought of, as the first sporting superstar in 1860. Along the road to formerly the village shop you will find The Butterworth Gallery, which is next door to the smallest coffee shop in Royal Deeside; In a red telephone box!

The first people to live in Finzean were hunter-gatherers during the Mesolithic era some 8000 years ago. The first farmers settled during the Neolithic period about 6000 years ago, shown by the remains of Finzean House Long Cairn.

The area is the subject of many well-known landscape paintings by the Victorian artist Joseph Farquharson, whose family have owned Finzean Estate since the 17th century and today also run the Finzean Farm Shop.

Both Ballogie and Finzean estates pride themselves on being tourism destinations for outdoor activities from fishing and shooting, to horse-riding and biking. 

Crathes Castle

To the east of Banchory we find Crathes, a rural community on the north bank of the River Dee just east of Banchory is a great stopping off point for any visitor to Royal Deeside.  See the world-famous Crathes Castle & Gardens, one of the best-preserved, castles in the region, standing in lovely gardens overlooking the River Dee. Visit Milton of Crathes and enjoy a wee trip with the Royal Deeside Railway or enjoy some retail therapy with Atholl Countrywear or Milton Art Gallery.

These award-winning gardens are a delight and have something to offer year round. With a number of way-marked walks, you may spot local wildlife including red squirrels, for those who walk quietly. With an adventure play park & Go Ape situated close to the castle car park, there is plenty to keep the children amused too.

Beyond Crathes travel a little further east and you arrive at Drumoak, a rural village surrounded by open countryside and farmland adjacent to the River Dee.   

In Drumoak you will find Drum Castle another National Trust for Scotland property and the Mains of Drum Garden Centre & Restaurant. Over the centuries Drumoak has evolved from a small settlement around the holy well and church of St Malik into the present large commuter village. Originally called Dalmaik, but been better known as Drumoak for more than 300 years.

The countryside is easily accessible from the village with a circular walk leading from the caravan park through woods to the east leading section of the Deeside Way. While the Drumoak to Crathes section of the Deeside Way can be accessed from the west of the village, opposite the shop.

Park House is a mansion with several hundred acres of land at Drumoak and was formally owned by the railway engineer Sir Robert Williams. He was a Scottish mining engineer, pioneering explorer of Africa, entrepreneur and railroad developer. Among many other things he planned and executed the creation of the Benguela railway through Portuguese West Africa, now known as Angola.

Drum and Park were two of the stations on the Deeside Railway however the Transport Act of 1962, meant the withdrawal of all train services on Deeside and on the 26th February 1966 the last passenger train service through Drumoak.

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

Banchory Photos courtesy to Jim Henderson of CrookTree Images

Whats On for Banchory 

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

At Royal Deeside Railway - Friday 10th November 2017, 16:00

At Crathes Castle - Friday 10th November 2017 - Sunday 12th 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

At Raemoir House Hotel, Banchory - Thursday 23rd November 2017, 18:30 - 21:00

At Banchory Town Hall - Saturday 25th November 2017, 11:00

At Royal Deeside Railway - Saturday 25th November 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Sunday 26th November 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Saturday 2nd December 2017

At Crathes Castle - Sunday 3rd December 2017, 10:00 - 15:00

At Royal Deeside Railway - Sunday 3rd December 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Saturday 9th December 2017

At Drum Castle - Saturday 9th December 2017, 11:00 - 16:00

At Royal Deeside Railway - Sunday 10th December 2017

At Drum Castle - Sunday 10th December 2017, 11:00 - 16:00

At The Barn - Sunday 10th December 2017, 20:00

At Royal Deeside Railway - Saturday 16th December 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway- Sunday 17th December 2017

At Banchory Town Hall - Sunday 17th December 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Saturday 23rd December 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Sunday 24th December 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Saturday 30th December 2017

At Royal Deeside Railway - Sunday 31st December 2017

Whats On in and around Royal Deeside for #TravelTuesday week 7th Nov - 14th Nov

At Kincardine Castle and Estate - Friday 3rd November 2017 - Sunday 12th November 2017

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 7th November 2017, 21:00

In Aboyne Green - Saturday 11th November 2017

At Deeside Community Theatre - Saturday 11th November 2017, 10:00 - 14:00

At The Boat Inn - Tuesday 14th November 2017, 11:00 - 15:00

At Aberdeen Arms Hotel, Tarland - Tuesday 14th November 2017, 21:00

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Wednesday 8th November 2017

At Balmoral Castle and Estate - Saturday 11th November 2017

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