Royal Deeside

, Royal Deeside

The area of Deeside is rightly famous for being home to several fine castles. The best-known of these is 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.

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.


The Lodge on Loch Spa Retreat

After the past year, we all deserve a treat or even a spa retreat! luxurious 4* bedrooms with the best loch and mountain views on the North East 250.

The Lodge is ideally situated in the heart of Royal Deeside, on the southern leg of the North East 250, located midway between Aberdeen and Braemar.

They have Spa and Golf facilities, An ideal base to visit the major attractions and activities that the Highlands are famous for, including Castles, Distilleries and activities such as walking and cycling in the most stunning of terrains.

It’s not all about location though; ‘The Lodge’ also pampers its guests with Spa and Leisure facilities.

Some rooms have private hot tubs, saunas, steam showers and jacuzzi baths.

The Gordon Guest House 

The Gordon Guest House welcomes you to the heart of beautiful Ballater. A delicious Scottish breakfast, comfortable beds and stunning views await – what’s not to love! 

There are four en suite rooms features a super-king size bed, a smart TV and sofa, fairtrade tea/coffee tray and Scottish snacks. Three of the rooms can be configured as a twin and one room as a triple, all rooms are available for single occupancy. Room 1 has a jacuzzi whirlpool bath – perfect to unwind in after a long day outdoors

Deeside Holiday Park 

Perfect for families over the summer! Deeside Holiday Park is a tranquil retreat set in the Southern valley of the River Dee ideal for getting away from it all. Whether you choose to spend your time exploring Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park or soaking up the atmosphere in the lively city of Aberdeen, our park offers the perfect holiday destination.

There is range of caravan holiday homesluxurious lodges, and our caravans & lodges with hot tubs provide the ideal base for your self-catering holiday or for a unique glamping experience, stay in our new en-suite camping pods.

Alternatively, bring your own touring caravan, motorhome or tent, or pitch up for a full season with a seasonal touring pitch.

Food and Drink 

Spider on a Bicycle 

Converted from the original train station building in Aboyne, Spider on a Bicycle is a cosy local cafe serving up healthy homemade breakfasts, lunches and baking alongside artisan coffee.

Set up by a pair of local sisters in 2016, our aim was to create a cosy, informal and genuine space where everyone is welcome (including the dog!), to meet, eat and enjoy.

Potarch Cafe and Restaurant 

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.

They pride themselves in serving meats from our farm and moorland as well as other locally sourced produce to offer our customers a wholesome seasonal menu. Dishes can be enjoyed outside on their decking in the summer months and in the winter months, their wood burning stove makes Potarch a cosy place to unwind with friends, perhaps while enjoying our freshly brewed coffee or a scone and a pot of tea!

The Boat Inn

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

Freshly prepared, locally sourced dishes can be taken overlooking the river, either in front of a roaring log fire or outside on the terrace, and washed down with a fantastic selection of local ales and spirits.


Lost Loch Spirits 

They run micro-tours and tastings where you can spend an hour or so finding out about the time-honoured art of distilling, as well as being introduced to their unique spirits range, from the first Scottish absinthe Murmichan to their Masters Medal flagship gin eeNoo. Our award-winning Spirit School runs every weekend, and is your chance to distil your own spirit, with full access to their individual copper stills and the Wall of Botanics, complete with tastings of all our products and a goodie bag. Oh, and there’s a special treat for the Designated Drivers!

Yellow Welly Tours 

Perhaps you want to learn more about the history and culture of this beautiful part of North East Scotland?

Take lunch in the stunning Cairngorms National Park, do a spot of shopping for Scottish souvenirs, explore some of the ancient Caledonian pine forest in Balmoral’s Ballochbuie?

Maybe spot a Red Deer stag, a Red Squirrel, a Scottish Crossbill or even if you are really, really lucky an elusive Capercaillie. Perhaps sample a dram at the local distillery?

Yellow welly tours can help and do much, much more; let them create your wonderful memories while you relax and enjoy your holiday.

Royal Lochnagar Distillery

Royal Lochnagar Distillery is one of the jewels in the Royal Deeside crown.

Situated beside her Majesty the Queen’s Scottish Home, Balmoral Castle, Crathie, half way between the villages of Ballater and Braemar.

Founded in 1845 by John Begg, the distillery takes its name from the mountain, Lochnagar, and the Royal name was bestowed upon the distillery following a visit by Queen Victoria on the 12th September 1848.

Today, the distillery retains much of its original character, with a traditional open top mash tun still in production here at Royal Lochnagar. From the mash tun, the sweet liquid we draw from the malted barley is fermented in wooden vats before being distilled twice in our small, gleaming copper stills.

Emily Rose

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