Surrounded by glorious countryside Ballater is a picturesque Victorian village in the heart of Royal Deeside located in the Cairngorms National Park.
Lying eight miles along the River Dee to the west, its rich history and royal connections are world famous. Ballater is the nearest town to Balmoral Castle, one of the residences of the Royal Family, which explains the many ‘By Royal Appointment’ signs that can be seen on local shops and business. Close by is Royal Lochnagar Distillery which produces one of Scotland’s most exclusive whiskies. A visit to the distillery is a timeless experience.
This planned agricultural town dates back to the 1800s. A stroll around the town reveals a fascinating range of many speciality shops and friendly hotels and guest houses.
The Royal Station, which was sadly destroyed by a devastating fire in May 2015, re-opened in August 2018 after a £3 million restoration project led by Aberdeenshire Council. The historic royal waiting room interior has been painstakingly restored to ensure it retains its previous grandeur and the replica Royal Carriage - which firefighters managed to save in the blaze and which was moved elsewhere on site during the work - was relocated a year ago on the slightly extended station platform. The exterior of the new building is almost identical to previous and where possible, the original fabric of the building has been used. The rebuild has seen modernisation of the station whilst at the same time, retaining much of its character.
The building houses a new VisitScotland iCentre (one of three within the Cairngorms National Park) which occupies a shared space with Aberdeenshire Libraries plus a bistro and tearoom, run by the Duke of Rothesay’s charitable trust, the Prince’s Foundation’.
A few miles to the south lies Loch Muick and the legendary mountain of ‘dark Lochnagar’ made famous by Lord Byron and Prince Charles who wrote a children’s book about ‘The Old Man of Lochnagar’. Red deer, golden eagles and grouse can be easily spotted on the eight mile footpath around the loch.
For golf lovers there is the Ballater Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the upper Deeside within a circle of hills and glorious hills making the golfing experience truly delightful.