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  • Aberdeenshire Guide


Home to some of the great castles of Scotland as well Scotland's oil hub of Aberdeen. Aberdeenshire has dramatic coastlines as well as its historic centre. This is where the Royal family holiday in the summer each year.

The River Dee rises in the Cairngorms and flows down through the surrounding hills, eastwards to the sea at Aberdeen. The valley of the Dee is known as Deeside, or rather Royal Deeside, for its connections with the royal family, who have holidayed here, at Balmoral, since Queen Victoria first arrived in 1848. Originally, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were looking for an estate further west, but were advised that the Deeside climate would be better for Albert's delicate constitution. The queen fell in love with this area and its people, and following Albert's death she sought out the company of straight-talking northerners, preferring their down-to-earth honesty to the two-faced toadies she endured at court.

Today, Deeside's royal associations have made it the tourist honeypot of the northeast, but the royal presence has also saved it from mass development. There's an air of understated affluence and refinement in the villages strung out along the A93 that runs along the north bank of the Dee and, as well as the obvious attraction of Balmoral, there are many other fine examples of baronial castles. Deeside is also a great area for various outdoor activities, such as hiking in the surrounding mountains, mountain biking, canoeing and skiing.

Adjoining Regions

Angus | Cairngorms & Speyside | Moray


  • Aberdeenshire Farming Museum

    Aberdeenshire Farming Museum, located in the Aden Country Park is well known for top quality of its Aberdeen Angus coos (Cattle).

  • The Gordon Highlanders Museum

    This Five Star Museum is well worth a visit with the family any time of the year.

  • Banchory Museum

    See Banchory Museum - the main town on the way to Royal Deeside from Aberdeen - and discover the history of Banchory and its most famous son, musician and composer, J. Scott Skinner, the "Strathspey King".

  • Aberdeen Maritime Museum

    Family friendly introduction to Aberdeen's Maritime past. Aberdeen Maritime Museum tells the epic story of Aberdeen's long relationship with the Ocean.

  • Blairs Museum

    Museum that explores the story of Roman Catholicism in Scotland: not for everyone, but fascinating if you are interested in religious history.


  • Loch Morlich to Lairig Ghru walk

    The famous Lairig Ghru is an ancient route through the Cairngorms which passes between Ben Macdui and Braeriach. It is a very strenuous walk and only for fit and experienced hikers. An easier proposition is a 12-mile loop which leads to the start of the Lairig Ghru pass, starting from Loch Morlich.

Popular Visitor Attractions

  • Insch Museum

    Charming local museum housed in the railway station that charts history of Insch and also has working model railway!

  • Portsoy Salmon Bothy

    Small museum housed in the old ice rooms that illustrates and explores the Salmon fishing trade in the North Sea of yesteryear.

  • Duff House

    Beautiful William Adam house with superb gardens and grounds. Open all year.