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Our most recommended things to do in Ballater

From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle Estate and Royal Deeside Tour

1. From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle Estate and Royal Deeside Tour

Balmoral Castle & Estate Balmoral is a treasured family home for the Royal family since 1850, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose this beautiful region to create their great escape. A landscape with stunning views of the hills and mountains, fields of heather and the majestic river Dee that flows through it. The estate was the late Queen Elizabeth's private country retreat in Scotland and a beloved home. King Charles III has a great affection for the castle and grounds and often spends time walking through the estate. We highly recommend listening to the audio tour. The audio will share stories and guides you around the estate. (Pre-booked Balmoral entry tickets will receive the audio tour free!) The Ballroom is only room open to visitors within the Castle. The objects in the Ballroom are from within the Castle, and are all objects that belong to the Royal Family. Note: ***Balmoral Castle & Estate usually closes on the 11th of August 2024. This tour stop will be changed to the National Trust for Scotland's- Crathes Castle thereafter. Village of Ballater The Victorian village of Ballater sits in the heart of Royal Deeside, at the eastern gateway to the Cairngorms National Park, making it one of Scotland’s most scenic visitor spots. A stroll around the village reveals an interesting range of specialty shops and good selection of restaurants and cafes to enjoy some of the local food & drink. Be sure to visit the beautiful Victorian Railway Station and the tourist information centre which has more information about the village. Cambus O’May Suspension Bridge The Cambus O' May suspension bridge spans the river Dee and is a legacy from the estate of Alexander Gordon. Built in 1905, the footbridge is 50 m long and carries visitors to the other side. Footpaths from the bridge lead to Torphantrick wood and the Muir of Dinnet nature reserve, popular spots for visitors who enjoy woodland walks and wild swimming in the river. Tomnavarie Stone Circle Tomnaverie is a recumbent stone circle, a kind of monument found only in north-eastern Scotland. The stone circle surrounds a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. Relatively little is known about why we have these structures, there are several theories which you’ll discover on your visit. Migvie Kirk and Pictish Carved Stone Migvie Kirk is a deconsecrated church on the Tillypronie Estate. In the centre of the kirk is group of stone chairs, carved with biblical texts, Pictish symbols and Ogham scripts. The three stained glass windows, illustrate the integration of Christianity into the Pictish practices. The combination of Pictish symbols and Christian ones illustrates a time when the two cultural traditions were melding together. The Queen’s View Just outside the village of Tarland is the Queen's View. 'The Queens View' gained its name from Queen Victoria who fell in love with the view of the lower valley of the Howe of Cromar which includes a view of the peak of Lochnagar.

Aberdeenshire: Balmoral Cairns Walking Tour

2. Aberdeenshire: Balmoral Cairns Walking Tour

Admire the beautiful scenery of the Balmoral Estate and discover the cairns, a collection of historical monuments erected by the royal family to commemorate significant events. You'll be able to see 8 of the 13 cairns as you take a walking tour of the estate. Along the way, listen to commentary from your guide who will point out the historical features of the cairns and tell you about their connection to the royals, who have enjoyed and influenced this beautiful estate. After the guided tour, take the opportunity to visit the castle's ballroom, cafe, and shop. Continue to explore the grounds at your leisure or take a self-guided audio tour.

Scottish Highlands 4-Day Castle Tour From Edinburgh

3. Scottish Highlands 4-Day Castle Tour From Edinburgh

Day 1 Embark from Edinburgh, journey north, and cross Queensferry Crossing to the historic Kingdom of Fife. Explore Falkland Palace, once a royal hunting lodge, where Mary Queen of Scots played tennis on the world's oldest court. Wander the medieval village seen in Outlander. Head to St Andrews for lunch and discovery of its cobblestone streets and ancient university. In the afternoon, venture further north to Dunnottar Castle, a majestic cliff-top ruin featured on travel magazine covers. Capture breathtaking views and sharpen your photography skills. You spend your night in Aberdeen. Day 2 Explore Royal Deeside, renowned for its castles. Begin at Castle Fraser, a grand Scottish tower house. Enjoy a stroll in the 18th-century walled garden. Head to Ballater, a royal-associated village, for lunch. Afternoon at Crathes Castle, a fairytale-like fortress with a haunted history. Wander freely through the house and gardens. Marvel at the June Borders for stunning castle views. You return to Aberdeen for another overnight. Day 3 Venture north to Fyvie Castle, dating to the 13th century, housing a remarkable collection of arms, armor, and 17th-century tapestries. Travel through scenic landscapes to Elgin for lunch. Explore the intricately carved Pictish stone at ruined Elgin Cathedral. Afternoon visit to Culloden Battlefield, the poignant end of the Jacobite Rising. Walk the tragic landscape, honoring those who fell in the last battle on British soil. You continue to Nairn for your overnight stay. Day 4 Travel south through Scotland's breathtaking landscapes. Visit Cardhu, the pioneering distillery by Helen Cumming. Pass Kingussie for a quick stop at Ruthven Barracks. Explore Blair Castle, rich in history and adorned with a ballroom featuring 175 antlers. Wander the 9-acre Georgian garden and enjoy lunch. Journey through Perthshire's lush woodlands, pausing in picturesque towns. Return to Edinburgh over the Firth of Forth in the evening.

Cairngorms: Lochnagar Guided Walk

4. Cairngorms: Lochnagar Guided Walk

Discover the beauty of Lochnagar with our team of local experts! Be expertly guided to the summit of the famous Lochnagar, the north-east's most spectacular mountain. Situated on the Balmoral Estate, the area has many Royal connections and stories, including the "Widow's Lodge" on the banks of Loch Muick. With beautiful pine forests, stunning mountain views, waterfalls, and abundant nature, this walk is sure to create lasting memories of the majestic Scottish Highlands. Walk distances of up to 19km may vary depending on the weather. An alternative, but still beautiful, lower-level walk in the area will be guided on the day if the weather is too much for the summit. A good level of fitness will be required for this hike. Meet Time, Location & Estimated Walk Duration: Please meet in Ballater at the main car park in the square by the public toilets at 08:30. You will then convoy down to the Spittal of Glenmuick carpark to start the walk (approx 20 minute drive and no phone signal at carpark). Our minibus will transport the group if available. There is a charge to park at the Spittal of Glenmuick of £5 for the day. This walk can take anything from 5-9 hours depending on the weather. Distances – up to 19km (12 miles), total ascent – 930m to top of Lochnagar. Limited to 7 participants. Joining Details & Kit: Joining details, participation forms and kit lists will be sent out before the walk. Please contact Hillgoers for any additional information. Terms and Conditions apply.

Other Sightseeing Options in Ballater

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What people are saying about Ballater

Such a wonderful day out!!. our tour guide Jacqueline was so friendly and welcoming , such knowledge about the places we visited was lovely to have the historical information. Throughly enjoyable day thank you 😊

It was outstanding! Alex knew very much about really everything. What a great guide he is! He was also a great driver! I would definitely book with Alex again.

Spent an amazing days in Deeside and Balmoral castle guided by excellent and knowledgeable guide Jacquline, many thanks to her.

we were most lucky with a guide who showed us and told us about so amazing places, who knows and loves Aberdeenshire ❤️

The tour was good. Crathes Castle is worth it & a nice garden. Alex was a good guide.