Ballater is a delightful ‘Victorian’ village in the centre of Royal Deeside the eastern Cairngorms National Park. Originally founded at the start of the 19th century to accommodate visitors to the nearby Pannanich Wells spa, it subsequently became the site for the railway station that serviced nearby Balmoral Castle and Upper Deeside.
For about 100 years this station was used by the Royal Family and their guests and by thousands of holiday makers from Aberdeen and elsewhere coming to enjoy the delightful surroundings. The station is now a popular visitor centre. The village grew steadily during the Victorian era and contains many fine stone-built buildings within its conservation area.
The variety of shops in Ballater is surprising given its small size. The Royal Family use Ballater for much of the supplies for Balmoral Castle and for nearby Birkhall so that many shops in the village display Royal Warrant signs. Many of the fine houses have been turned into hotels and guest-houses and the village also supports an unusually high concentration of good restaurants. With the watchword being quality, visitors to Ballater are ensured a very enjoyable stay.
Approaching Ballater from the east, one can enjoy the views of the River Dee flowing through the town while behind the village stands the majestic Lochnagar, one of Scotland’s great mountains. The river and hills ensure that Ballater is a great base for both those who enjoy walking and fishing breaks and those who enjoy touring. Ballater also has a fine 18-hole golf course and facilities for other sports. Additionally in May it supports a popular Walking Week and in August it hosts Victoria Week.
More information is given on the official Ballater website – www.ballatercommunity.com
More information about the Cairngorms can be found on their official website – www.cairngorms.co.uk
Ballater has a wide selection of art galleries. This portion of the world appears to be a magnet for artists, due to the soft light, the stunning locations and the sweeping vistas.
- The Larks Gallery – www.larksgallery.com – Scottish contemporary art
- The McEwan Gallery a five minute drive from the village – www.mcewangallery.com – traditional Scottish art
- The Butterworth Gallery – www.butterworthpaintings.co.uk
- The Knock Gallery by Crathie – www.knockgallery.co.uk – next to Balmoral castle
- The Braemar Gallery – www.braemargallery.co.uk