In the centre of Royal Deeside, and at the heart of the SnowRoads, is Ballater. As the largest village on the eastern side of the Cairngorms National Park, this thriving community makes for an ideal place to stop over with a range of accommodation options.
Queen Victoria fell in love with the area and built Balmoral Castle just outside the village. Today, the royal connection remains strong. Many of the shop fronts proudly display the Royal Warrant and so you can try some local produce fit for the queen, including a local tipple at Royal Lochnagar Distillery. In 2018, Prince Charles is set to open a new visitor centre and restaurant in the Old Royal Station as part of a regeneration effort after a severe fire and flooding in 2015 and 2016.
The locals are also known for their gusto in organising events with Victoria Week, The Ballater Games, the Royal Deeside Walking Week and The Ballater Duck Festival firm family favourites.
Surrounded by ancient pine forest and natural beauty spots, such as Loch Muick, Craigendarroch Hill and Lochnagar, there are a host of walking and cycling opportunities as well as myriad sporting pursuits including golf, tennis, 4x4 safaris, wildlife tours, fishing, gliding, climbing, shooting and stalking.