Top 10 Best Attractions in Royal Deeside village of Ballater

Royal Lochnagar Distillery

Balmoral, Crathie, Ballater, AB35 5TB

Royal Lochnagar Distillery is situated beside Balmoral Castle, her Majesty the Queen’s Scottish Home, and is regarded as one of the jewels in the Royal Deeside crown

Entry Price:  £7 (includes £3 towards a purchase of any 70cl single malt). 

A £10 tour includes a whisky tasting and The Royal Tour at £30 person includes the tasting of selected rare whisky.



Balmoral Castle

Address:  Balmoral, Crathie, AB35 5TB

Balmoral Castle is the Scottish summer home of Her Majesty the Queen.  The Gothic castle is situated above the banks of the famous River Dee and is surrounded by magnificent scenery.  Visitors can enjoy the gardens including the beautiful kitchen garden and many walks through the estate. 

Entry Price:  Adults £11; Senior Citizens/Students:  £10; Children £5; Family Ticket (up to two adults and two children) £28.50



Crathie Kirk

Address:  Crathie, Ballater, Aberdeenshire

Crathie Kirk is located a few hundred meters from the entrance to Balmoral Castle and is attended by the royal family on Sundays when they are in residence.  The parish church dates back to the 1804 and Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for a much large church in 1893.  Queen Victoria’s Highland servant, John Brown, is buried in the church yard opposite. 

Entry Price:  By donation



Crathes Castle

Address:  Banchory, Aberdeenshire

Crathes Castle is located 23 miles from Ballater, three miles west of Banchory.  It is the epitome of a fairy tale castle with turrets, towers and spiral staircases.  The gardens are particularly spectacular with ancient sculpted yew trees.  The castle is said to be haunted.  There’s a cafe, gift shop, an art studio and Go Ape – a tree top adventure playground.  Crathes Castle is part of the National Trust for Scotland.

Entry Price:  Adult £12; Family Ticket £28.50



The Old Royal Station

Address:  Station Square, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5RB

Description:   Ballater station was the nearest station to Balmoral Castle and was where Queen Victoria would have arrived from London to take up her summer residency.  The station closed in 1966 and today the restored station is a visitor centre and museum where you can see the original royal waiting room and a replica carriage.  

Entry Price:  £2.  Children 16 years and under free.



Braemar Castle

Address:  Braemar, Aberdeenshire

Description:   Situated close to the pretty Highland village of Braemar, home of the famous Braemar Gathering, and surrounded by stunning scenery, Braemar Castle is a fascinating place to visit and learn about the origins of Clan Farquharson. Take your binoculars with you as red deer, red squirrels and even golden eagles can be seen in and around the grounds at times. 

Entry Price:  Adults £8; Concessions £7; Children £4



Victorian Heritage Trail

Description:   Following the Victorian Heritage Trail is a wonderful way to explore Royal Deeside.  You could cover key highlights in a day or you could lose yourselves for few days enjoying the historical sights, stunning scenery and the fascinating stories of a bygone age.  The trail takes in such places at Drum Castle, The Royal Deeside Railway Station in Ballater (a good starting point from The Deeside Inn), Balmoral Castle, Crathes Castle, the Finzean Estate and the various Victorian bridges over the River Dee.  Some of the above mentioned places are covered in more detail in this section.



The Castle Trail

Royal Deeside and the neighbouring environs have more than their fair share of castles including Drum Castle, Crathes Castle, Castle Fraser, Craigievar Castle, Balmoral Castle, Corgarff Castle and Braemar Castle.  Four of the above are all part of the National Trust for Scotland so it might be worth joining them if you’re not already a member.  Covering two or three of these castles would make for a good couple of day’s out – interspersed, of course, with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake somewhere.