If you travelled the route anti-clockwise, you are now on the homeward stretch. For the most part, the road sticks closely to the River Dee as it wends its way to Aberdeen and into the North Sea.

The area of Deeside is rightly famous for being home to several fine castles. The best-known of these is surely Balmoral, being the Scottish summer residence of the British royal family. In this palace, designed by Prince Albert and Aberdeen architect William Smith, one can glimpse the opulence of royal life in the Ballroom with its collection of fine art, survey the impressive grounds and even enjoy a luxury land rover wildlife safari. If you’ve ever seen footage of the royals in Scotland, whether real or fictional, this is where it was filmed.

Situated fifteen miles west of Aberdeen, Crathes Castle is not only an example of ornate 16th-century architecture, but also a repository of centuries of Scottish culture, told mostly through the portraits and possessions of the Burnett family, who occupied the castle for over 350 years. For the nature lover, the walled garden contains a rich variety of native and exotic species, and the grounds have six waymarked trails on which one may encounter herons, roe deer, red squirrels, buzzards and woodpeckers.

Deeside Activity Park is a mere two minutes’ drive off the A93 but may seem like another world, one where there is always a range of exciting outdoor pursuits to explore. These include kart racing, clay shooting, quad biking, rifle target shooting and 4×4 off-road driving. The site also has cottage accommodation, a farm shop and a restaurant. If you’re driving the route with children, they might want you to stop here!

One of the best ways to see the beautiful scenery of Deeside is to let someone else do the driving – specifically, the operators of the steam and diesel trains of Royal Deeside Railway. This mile-long stretch of track (currently under expansion) follows the course of the River Dee in the burgh of Banchory and affords visitors the opportunity to experience the rustic setting in style. Wheelchair access is possible by prior arrangement.

When this journey ends, the final hour of your North East 250 experience is underway as you head back towards Aberdeen, following the Dee again.


More in Moray Tours and Transport

Lossiemouth, UK
Moray Tours and Transport offers the services of a bilingual private guide-driver in English and Portuguese by a certified HOSTGA (Highlands of Scotland Tour Guide Association) driver-guide. 

Ethie Classics at Ethie Mains

Ethie Mains
At Ethie Mains, we’ve created a farm stay with everyone in mind. Come and stay for the weekend, a week, a special occasion or as your first destination as you embark on a unique Scottish adventure in one of our stunning classic cars. We know that everyone...

Brawview Motorhomes

4 McKenzie Square, St Andrews, UK
Tour Scotland in your own Zefiro 696 motorhome, new for 2021. Easy to drive and packed with everything you need to make your trip special.

Sandy’s at Tilquhillie

Banchory AB31 6LE, UK
Sandy’s at Tilquhillie is a one bedroomed ground floor apartment in the heart of Royal Deeside with wildlife on the doorstep and a secure place for your bike.

North Coast Convertibles

41 Moss Street, Elgin, IV30 1LT
Specialist car hire and rental for modern, high performance, convertible sports cars serving The Highlands and Islands, Grampian, Moray, Cairngorm National Park, North Coast 500, North East 250, Inverness, Aberdeen, Loch Ness, Scotland and beyond!

Highland Defenders

Aviemore, UK
We hire Land Rover Defenders fitted with industry-leading hardshell roof tents and equipped with all the camping kit you’ll need for your Scottish road trip.

4×4 Overland Hire

Elrig Cottage, Inverey, Braemar, Ballater AB35 5YB
Explore Scotland in our fully equipped 4x4 expedition vehicle. Our vehicles have all the equipment you need for an adventure camping holiday in Scotland including a dog box if you want to take your best friend!

Granite Adventures

Kingswells, Aberdeen AB15 8QL, UK
A range of fantastic activities to get you out and enjoying the adventurous side of the NE250

The Gordon Guest House

Station Square, Ballater AB35 5QB, UK
The Gordon Guest House welcomes you to the heart of beautiful Ballater. A delicious Scottish breakfast, comfortable beds and stunning views await.

Lost Loch Spirits

Deeside Activity Park, Aboyne AB34 5BD
Lost Loch Spirits was founded by Pete Dignan and Rich Pierce in 2017 to combine a passion for history with a fascination for the ancient art of distilling.

Deeside Holiday Park

Deeside Holiday Park, South Deeside Road, Maryculter, Aberdeen, UK
Deeside Holiday Park is a tranquil retreat set in the southern valley of the River Dee, ideal for getting away from it all.

Glen Tanar

Glen Tanar Estate Office, Glen Tanar, UK
Glen Tanar is set in the spectacular Cairngorms National Park in Royal Deeside and provides the perfect base for exploring the outdoors.

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle, Balmoral, Ballater, UK
Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848.

Butterworth Gallery

Scottish Fine Art by Howard Butterworth & daughter Mary. Please note that The Butterworth Gallery is no longer open to the public. Bespoke viewings are available by appointment if you are visiting the Aberdeenshire area. Please see the gallery website for more information

Braemar Castle

Braemar AB35 5XR
Built in 1628 by the 2nd Earl of Mar, this Highland hunting lodge reflects Scotland’s national story.

Milton of Crathes

Milton of Crathes Banchory AB31 5QH
The Milton complex is set in a relaxing picturesque courtyard on banks of the River Dee, opposite the main entrance to Crathes Castle.  

Yellow Welly Tours

Balnellan House Braemar Aberdeenshire AB35 5YQ
Royal Deeside’s Premier Chauffeur Driven Luxury Tour Experience.

4X4 Hire Scotland

89-91 Station Road, Newbridge, Edinburgh EH28 8QP, UK
4×4 Hire (Scotland) Ltd established in 2000 is a Bespoke, Prestige self-drive vehicle hire & chauffeur drive company.

Spider on a Bicycle

Station Square Aboyne
Spider on a Bicycle is a warm, welcoming space for all members of the community to come and enjoy.

Feughside Guesthouse

Feughside Guesthouse, South Deeside, Strachan, Banchory, Aberdeenshire AB31 6NS
The Feughside Guesthouse is a serene getaway in the Royal Deeside Aberdeenshire. Whether your stay is for business or pleasure, you’ll be warmly welcomed.

Time Exposure Travel

5 Westfield Terrace, Aberdeen, UK
Time Exposure Travel offer both bespoke and pre-set tours around Aberdeenshire and and Scotland. We can explore the many castles and learn about our turbulent past, visit a whisky distillery where you can see how our famous drink is made, admire amazing scenery, visit historic areas and much much more.

Northern HighLights Pass

North East Scotland
Available as a mobile download or hardcopy card and wallet, the Northern HighLights Pass offers discounted sightseeing providing savings and discounts when visiting some of the “must see, must do” attractions and activities in the region.

Potarch Café & Restaurant

Ballogie, Aboyne AB34 5DS, UK
Potarch Cafe & Restaurant forms part of Ballogie Estate and is located just off the A93, on the B993 just south of the River Dee at Potarch. We have wonderful views looking out across Potarch Green and is ideally located next to Potarch Bridge, Potarch woods and the River Dee which offers the opportunity to stretch your legs with a short walk after your visit.  

The Carriage and Rothesay Rooms

3 Netherley Pl, Ballater AB35 5QE, UK
The Old Royal Station in the village of Ballater has had a long and eventful history, with its latest transformation into a remarkable Scottish café, tearoom and bistro ensuring its rightful place in the heart of the community.

Banchory Lodge

Banchory Lodge Hotel, Dee Street, Banchory, UK
Glass of wine in hand, relax at The Lodge, a new kind of country retreat in the heart of Royal Deeside.

Inchmarlo Resort

Inchmarlo Resort, Queens Court, Banchory, UK
Inchmarlo Resort offers 2 and 3 bedroom self-catering villas providing a flexible base from which to discover the magic of Royal Deeside and beyond.

The Fife Arms

Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar, Mar Road, Braemar, Ballater, UK
Described by the Financial Times as “Scotland’s Hottest Hotel”, The Fife Arms is a Victorian coaching inn that has been imaginatively restored.

The Boat Inn

The Boat Inn, Charlestown Road, Aboyne, UK
Nestling on the banks of the River Dee, the Boat Inn is the perfect place from which to explore the delights of Royal Deeside.

Royal Lochnagar Distillery

Crathie, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5TB
Age old traditions and craftsmanship produce one of Scotland's most exclusive whiskies.

Password reset link will be sent to your email