The city of Aberdeen and the stunning Royal Balmoral Estate are all well-known parts of Aberdeenshire, but this bucolic part of the UK has so much more to offer. Whether you’re looking for beautiful gardens to explore or old historic castles, Aberdeenshire has something to offer everyone. Here we will look at some of the most stunning lesser-known towns and villages in the north-east of Scotland worth a visit.
The Victorian burgh of Ballater, on the banks of the River Dee, is a popular spot with hikers and home to a population of only 1500 people. The beautiful town of Ballater has a strong connection to Balmoral Castle due to its close proximity, with many members of the Royal Family having visited the town since the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th and 20th centuries. Ballater is also often used as a gateway to the Cairngorm’s National Park – the largest park in the UK.
Crovie, a small village in Aberdeenshire, is perched on a narrow ledge at Gamrie Bay cliffs. The village, built in the 18th century, comprises of only a single row of houses and can only be visited on foot due to the fact it is so small. The village has no shops and is a great place to go to just clear your head and soak up the peaceful atmosphere.
On the north-east coast is the idyllic town of Stonehaven, known to the locals as Stoney. The town is near the impressive remains of Dunnottar Castle which sit atop a cliff overlooking the North Sea. Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress which is said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Brave. Over the years the castle saw many great figures from history pass by, including Mary Queen of Scots. Today the castle is a popular spot with tourists and an impressive spot for wedding ceremonies.
Balmedie, a large village just 5 miles north of Aberdeen, is a beautiful spot on a sunny day, with over 14 miles of beach and sand dunes. The beach is also a great place to go to spot a vast array of wildlife thanks to the wetland vegetation in the area. If you have a beautiful day and looking to go somewhere a little quieter than Aberdeen beach, then this is the perfect spot.
Braemar, 30 minutes’ drive from Ballater and 58 miles west of Aberdeen, is surrounded by the Grampian Mountains and impressive woodland scenery against the mountainous backdrop of the Cairngorms. Not only is the village a peaceful and beautiful place to be, it also home to the annual Braemar Gathering and Highland Games. The games take place on the first Saturday of September and attract members of the Royal Family who come to see the pipe bands, Highland dancers and those taking part in the games.
Cruden Bay, another stunning village of Aberdeenshire, is 26 miles north of the city of Aberdeen and a popular spot for golfers. The village is also near the impressive ruins of New Slains Castle built between the 16th and 17th centuries. The castle is said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula – the Irish author visited the area in the late 19th century.
40 miles from the city of Aberdeen lies the shellfish port, Fraserburgh. The town, with a population of just 13,100, is the biggest shellfish port in Europe. The impressive north-east coastline is a great spot for visitors, with attractions including golfing, bird watching as well as shooting and even a range of water sports.