The visitor guide on Ballater and Balmoral in Deeside will guide you with information on and aroud the place. Also includes eating, self catering in Ballater, Balmoral Castle, hotels & accommodation in Ballater.
The neat little town of Ballater is proud of its royal connections. You can buy meat from the butcher with his 'By Royal Appointment' sign, or clothes from royal outfitters. This is where Lizzie and Phil pop down to the shops for a pint of milk or perhaps to choose a video. Ever since Queen Victoria first arrived by train from Aberdeen in 1848, the royal family have been spending their holidays here in their summer residence, Balmoral Castle. She was not amused at the prospect of having an unsightly rail station on her doorstep, so the line ended eight miles east, at Ballater. The line has been closed for some time, but you can still visit the old train station, which now houses an elegant tearoom. (see local history site)
The Tourist Information Centre is housed in the old Royal Station, Tel. +44 (0)1339 755306. It's open Easter-May and Oct Mon-Sat 1000-1300, 1400-1700, Sun 1300-1700; Jun and Sep Mon-Sat 1000-1300,1400-1800, Sun 1300-1800; Jul-Aug Mon-Sat 1000-1300, 1400-1900, Sun 1300-1900.
The royals are not the only famous summer visitors. The poet Byron (who attended Aberdeen Grammar School) spent many childhood summer holidays at Ballaterach, a few miles east of Ballater. He had a narrow escape when he slipped and nearly fell into the fast flowing stream at the Linn of Dee, beyond Braemar. He was rescued just in time and went on to wax poetic about the beautiful hills which are Ballater's other great attraction. The town makes the ideal base for hiking (see below) as well as a number of other outdoor activities. Many of the walks set off from Loch Muick (pronounced 'Mick'), nine miles southwest of Ballater, at the head of Glen Muick. (For details, see 'Walks in Deeside' below). There's a visitor centre and car park at Spittal of Glen Muick. From here a track leads along the west shore of the loch to the lodge where Queen Victoria met John Brown. For guides and equipment for canoeing, climbing, mountain biking and skiing, contact Adventure Scotland in Banchory (see above). There is a new Internet cafe in Ballater that offers fast Internet access for visitors wanting to surf and collect email click here for further details
Phone code: +44 (0)1339
Local Sights & Activities for Ballater
Ballater Hotels & Accommodation
There's plenty of Accommodation in Ballater, from expensive hotels to reasonably priced B&Bs.
Pick of the bunch is the Darroch Learg Hotel, Tel. +44 (0)1339755443, darroch.learg @exoams.wk.com, half a mile from town, off the A93 heading west to Braemar. 18 rooms, open Feb-Dec. Friendly country house hotel with fine views and a reputation for superb food (expensive), good value.
Hilton Craigendarroch, on the Braemar Rd, Tel. +44 (0)1339 755858, www.hilton.com 44 rooms. Victorian country house converted into a modern resort hotel with full leisure and sports facilities, 2 good restaurants.
Balgonie Country House Hotel, Tel./Fax. +44 (0)1339 755482, on the western outskirts of town, off the A93. 9 rooms, open Feb-Dec. Friendly and comfortable country house hotel, excellent food (expensive).
Glen Lui Hotel, Invercauld Rd, Tel. +44 (0)1339 755402, www.glen-lui-hotel. co.uk 19 rooms. Another comfortable hotel offering fine food (lunch cheap; dinner mid-range).
Deeside Hotel, set back from the A93 heading out of town towards Braemar. Tel. +44 (0)1339 755420, www.royal-deeside.org.uk Friendly, good value and good food (mid-range).
Among the many B&Bs is the recommended Inverdeen House, 11 Bridge Sq, Tel. +44 (0)1339 755759, www.inverdeen.com French, German and Polish spoken, great breakfasts, no smoking.
Also good is Moorside House, Tel./Fax. +44 (0)1339 755492, on the Braemar Rd.
There's a campsite at Anderson Road Caravan Park, Tel. +44 (0)1339 755727, open Apr-Oct.