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Cairngorm & Grampian Highlands Activities

The Deeside Inn. About the Area

Royal Deeside is renowned as an area of outstanding natural beauty, surrounding the valley of the River Dee which rises in the nearby Cairngorm mountains.

The Cairngorms and Grampian Highlands dominate the skyline of the area and are home to a wide variety of wildlife and activities, many of which can be enjoyed on your break on Royal Deeside. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites and would be pleased to provide you with further recommendations on what to do in the area.

Balmoral Castle
Referred to by Queen Victoria as her ‘dear paradise in the Highlands’, Balmoral estate has been in the stewardship of the British Royal Family for over 150 years. It takes in over 50,000 acres of stunning heather clad hill and woodlands and is open to the public at certain times during the year. More information. 

Other Castles
Royal Deeside is rich in abundant history and this is reflected in the number of superb castles throughout the area. In addition to Balmoral, open to the public are Braemar, Drum and Crathes, whilst there are also ruins of a number of castles that can be visited with care.

Cairngorm National Park
The Cairngorm National Park stretches south from Grantown-on-Spey through Highland Perthshire to Blair Atholl and east through the Angus Glens to Ballater in Royal Deeside. The scenery throughout is quite breathtaking with mountains, glens, tranquil towns and unique villages in abundance.

Royal Lochnagar Distillery
This historic distillery is situated at Crathie, close to Balmoral. It is open all year and offers regular guided tours which illustrate the production process of Scotland’s national drink.

The Old Railway Station, Ballater
This restored Victorian railway station includes displays on the 100 year history of its links with the Royal family incorporating the Royal Waiting Room built for Queen Victoria and a royal train carriage.

The River Dee is one of Scotland’s greatest rivers and is renowned for its salmon. There are fishing beats along the length of the river with some of the best at Braemar, Ballater and Banchory. More information.

Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms is a veritable walkers paradise with mountains such as the Cairngorm, Lochnagar and Lairig Ghru all in the area. Walking opportunities are available to all visitors to Royal Deeside with a selection of Munros for serious walkers/climbers through to trails and footpaths for those seeking a gentler pastime. Ballater hosts a walking week on an annual basis, the Royal Deeside Walking Festival in May for which further information is available at www.walkballater.com. Full information on walking on Royal Deeside

Cycling and Mountain Biking
Ballater and the wider Cairngorms area offers some superb cycling and mountain biking opportunities, undoubtedly rivalling the best that Scotland has to offer. The quiet roads and country lanes are ideal for a family day out with the Deeside Way cycle path offering an alternative. Serious mountain bikers are able to test themselves out on more arduous grounds with mountain trails and forest paths providing a real challenge. More information.

Golf on Royal Deeside
Royal Deeside is home to 10 excellent golf courses which are dotted throughout the area. Ballater Golf Club itself is a testing 18 hole course set in spectacular countryside and offers golfers of all abilities a real challenge. In May every year it is home to Royal Deeside Golf Week which has run for well over 30 years and it provides a great week of golfing competition and regular entertainment. Close to Ballater, Aboyne, Banchory and Braemar all have courses that welcome visitors.

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