Banchory is a thriving town at the foot of Scolty Hill, where the salmon leap at the Falls of Feugh. Nearby are Crathes Castle and gardens, and the Milton of Crathes steam train rides. Banchory Show is held on the last Saturday of July and the Pipe Band competition on the second Sunday in May. The town is surrounded by trails and is a great place to start the Deeside Way. There are two golf courses and the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, complete with a floodlit driving range.
Aboyne holds a large Highland Games every year, and an art festival in the summer. There are excellent walking, cycling and horseback trails in beautiful Glen Tanar and a spur off the Deeside Way called the Tarland Way. Aboyne has a lovely golf course right next to Aboyne Loch.
Ballater is a pretty Victorian town, once a favourite of Queen Victoria, sitting at the foot of Craigendarroch hill inside the Cairngorms National Park. The very popular walking regions around Loch Muick and Lochnagar are nearby, and Balmoral Castle and the famous Lochnagar Distillery are just up the road. Ballater holds a Victoria Week and a Highland Games in August.
Braemar is close to the Linn of Dee, where the River Dee begins, and Glenshee Ski Centre. Visit community-run Braemar Castle, and attend the Braemar Gathering in September along with the Royal Family. During the summer there are highland dancing displays and pipe bands playing in the centre of the village. See the medieval ruins of Kindrochit Castle in the village centre carpark
Balmoral is an impressive castle located within the British Royal Family’s private estate. Since the time of Queen Victoria, Balmoral has been home to the Royals from August to early October when they enjoy a break from their ceremonial duties and relax in the magnificent surroundings within the Cairngorms National Park. You may be able to glimpse the Queen when she attends the picturesque Crathie Church on Sunday mornings or see the Royal party fly fishing for salmon on the River Dee.