Ballater has many good quality shops, many displaying Royal Warrants and a new delicatessen for self catering supplies but there are also a number of excellent restaurants catering for most tastes. There are Indian, Chinese and Fish and Chip takeaways in Ballater. Worth a visit is Ballater Station and Tourist Office where Queen Victoria's waiting room and royal carriage can be seen along with a display of things to do in the area.
Explore the Local Scenery!
Ballater is surrounded by spectacular highland scenery, all within a short drive or cycle ride. Try Loch Muick, Cambus O'May, Glengairn and the road to Strathdon and the road to Braemar and beyond past Mar Lodge to the bridge at Linn of Dee.
Within easy reach of Ballater are a large number of Castles open generally from Easter to mid October (check locally for opening times):- Visit the Queen's summer retreat - Balmoral Castle (grounds and ballroom only), or one of the 3 National Trust Castles within a short drive of Ballater. Just outside Ballater is the ruined Knock Castle with good views and a gory past.
Lochnagar distillery near Balmoral is the local malt whisky but for visitors wanting to experience other Scottish malts the Spey Valley and Whisky Trail is a picturesque drive north through the Cairngorm National Park. (see www.scotchwhisky.net).
Things for the children
Fish for minnows in a shallow part of the River Dee just a short walk from the cottage - we provide the nets! Landmark Forest Theme Park, Carrbridge nr. (Aviemore) is a 1 ¾ hrs drive through the spectacular highland scenery of the Cairngorm National Park. Landmark has wildwater slides, "skydiving", a woodland adventure area, a tree top red squirrel trail and a fire tower to climb. While in the vicinity you could also try the Funicular railway up Cairngorm Mountain nr. Aviemore and the Stream Railway from Aviemore to Boat of Garten. (see www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk) The Canadian Softbear Indoor Play centre, Strachan near Banchory is great for young children (01330 850550). The Grampian Motor Museum in Alford and nearby Haughton Country Park with it's small train (summer only) makes a good day out. (see www.gtm.org.uk)
Golf: Ballater is a wonderful location for a golf holiday. The local course is on the doorstep, we even look out onto the first tee. (Golf club hire is available at the club). There are an additional five challenging 18 hole and four 9 hole courses all within a 30 minute drive of the village. The courses differ from parkland at Banchory and Aboyne, moorland at Braemar to heathland at Tarland and Torphins. We are also only 1 hour from the famous Royal Aberdeen course, the 6th oldest club in the world and a very testing links course. One thing they all have in common is spectacular scenery.
Cycling: Around Ballater and Braemar there are trails for all ability of cyclist from the keen mountain bike enthusiast to families with young children. Cycle hire is available locally. (see www.cyclehighlands.com) Many off road routes take you through local estates including Balmoral. The Deeside Way offer a route mostly on the old railway line from Ballater to Aberdeen.www.deesideway.org and www.CycleGrampain.co.uk
Walking: There are opportunities for short walks around the river and up the hills surrounding the village. Loch Muick and Lochnagar are other popular walks enjoyed by our visitors - see www.walkdeeside.com for many more interesting walks.
Fishing: Trout and Salmon fishing is available from local estates and on the Rivers Dee and Don.
Quad Biking, Shooting and Karting (adults and older children) at Deeside Activity Park
Skiing: The Lecht ski area is 30 minutes drive away and Glenshee is 40 minutes drive from Dalbrack.
"We visited Scotland for the very first time and we were not disappointed, in contrast we found a beautiful landscape and very friendly people. Moreover our cottage was very well equipped especially the kitchen."(Visitors from Switzerland)