Things to do in Ballater include discovering the royal associations and links throughout the Royal Deeside region.

There are a whole host of things to do in Ballater whilst visiting. Balmoral Estate and Royal Lochnagar Distillery are near Ballater, whilst the scenery, wildlife, local walking trails, and a range of activities in Ballater, Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park have attracted visitors since the time of Queen Victoria.

A Royal Area

Ballater is near to Balmoral Castle, the Scottish holiday home of the British Royal Family, and Crathie Church, where the family worship when in residence. Stately mansions and historic castles like Crathes and Braemar lead visitors along the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail, embracing centuries of Scottish heritage and culture along the way.

Balmoral Castle & Gardens near The Deeside Inn

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle and estate is the Scottish summer home of Her Majesty the Queen. The castle is a wonderful example of Scots Baronial architecture and the building has been awarded a category A listing by Historic Scotland. The grounds, gardens, exhibitions, gift shop and cafe are normally open to the Public on a daily basis from April through July.

Balmoral Castle Bridge near The Deeside Inn

Balmoral Estate

Admission includes parking, access to the formal and vegetable gardens, the exhibitions in the stable area and largest room in the Castle, the Ballroom.

Activities in Deeside

Throughout the year, walkers, hikers and mountain bikers follow trails and maps across the region, rewarded with views of lochs, mountains and forests and glimpses of local wildlife. In the winter season, skiers and snowboarders flock to nearby Glenshee and The Lecht within the Cairngorms National Park for seasonal snow sports. With so many walking routes and trails on offer, we've listed some of the best walks near Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

Views of Balmoral near The Deeside Inn


There are a range of options open to visitors from gentle walks around the glens of the River Dee, up to more challenging routes which often see visitors traversing a munro, such as the famous Lochnagar.

Fishing near The Deeside Inn


There are many opportunities for anglers in Ballater, from catching wild brown trout in the misty mountain lochs, to bagging salmon on the Dee or seeking rainbow trout in one of the many lochs close to Ballater.

Deer near The Deeside Inn


Hunters can stalk deer in the woodlands or heather-clad moorlands in Ballater, with roe deer available in both the hills and high seats in the woodlands on the estate’s lower ground. Large red stags are considered to present an excellent hunters challenge. There are a few estates in Royal Deeside that offer organised grouse shooting by car or foot, as well as red and roe deer stalking trips.

Glenshee Ski Centre near The Deeside Inn


Deeside Inn is located near Glenshee Ski Centre and The Lecht.

Cyclists near The Deeside Inn


The area offers the option of road touring, to challenging mountainous routes for mountain biking. At Deeside Inn we are located opposite Cyclehighlands where you can hire bikes from £15 for a half-day.

Full of Life

Grouse near The Deeside Inn

The scenery, wildlife and range of activities in Ballater and Royal Deeside have attracted visitors since the time of Queen Victoria. Red squirrels, black grouse, Scottish wildcats and golden eagles call the local Highland wilderness their home.

Dog Friendly Breaks

Hiking Couple & Dog near The Deeside Inn

Ballater offers plenty of walking for your dog. The hills and trails of the Cairngorms National Park are easily accessible and shorter walks are available directly from our dog friendly inn, in Ballater. All of our guestrooms are dog friendly and we can accommodate a maximum of two dogs per room at a charge of £20 per dog per night. Guide and assistance dogs stay free of charge and we make a charitable donation for every one that stays.

Directions to Balmoral Arms

Travelling from the south on the A93, follow the road to the centre of Ballater and turn right on to Victoria Road. Balmoral Arms sits on the left hand side of the road. From Aberdeen and the east, follow the A93 into Ballater, driving alongside the River Dee on Tulloch Road. At the end of Tulloch Road, turn right on to Bridge Street, then take a left turn into Victoria Road, where Balmoral Arms sits on your left. The nearest railway station is Aberdeen. From there you can take the Stagecoach bus to Ballater. For full information on public transport links to and from the area, visit

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