Around the River Dee area.
There are numerous Castles in Aberdeenshire within easy reach of Woodend. There are the National Trust for Scotland properties: Crathes surrounded by stunning gardens, there is a café, and shop where plants are for sale, Drum with its Jacobite history, Castle Fraser an impressive tower house. Fyvie Castle 800 years old, a great example of Scottish Baronial architecture, with many stories of ghosts and legends some easy to believe as you wander up the famous wheel stone stair. All worth a visit if you would like to be transported back to another era.
Then there is of course Balmoral, open only from April - July, a beautiful place to walk in the grounds, see the gardens and take in the huge views. The only room open to the public in the Castle itself is the Ballroom, but the Stables have a comprehensive permanent exhibition about Balmoral, and its history There is a cafe, and shop. The local town of Ballater is interesting to visit, the newly restored and award winning Royal Railway Station is worth seeing.
Then to the southwest of here, there is the privately owned spectacular fortress ruin of Dunottar on the coast, near Stonehaven, A haunting and romantic place, loved by photographers, and historians, and often used for filming.
Historic Scotland look after a number of stone circles and other sights of archeological interest in the area if you are interested in travelling further back in time.
Most of the towns and villages in Royal Deeside have a golf course of some kind. A 9 hole short course in Lumphanan with an honesty box to the 18 hole parkland style courses at, Inchmarlo and Banchory and Aboyne.
Ballater and Braemar also have spectacular courses surrounded by the hills with the sound of Red Deer Stags roaring as the Rut starts towards the end of the year
Around Aberdeen there are challenging links courses at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links and the new Trump course.
Walking and Hiking.
Cairngorms national park - Great view picture here.
There are walks in this area to cater for every ability, Walk Highlands have comprehensive information on everything form easy riverside walks to expeditions into the Munros of the Cairngorm National Park.
The Scotland’s garden scheme website has details of the openings of fantastic private gardens throughout the season.
A visit to Scotland in August - September is not complete without hearing the pipe bands that play at the Highland Games. If you are lucky enough you might find your visit coincides with one of these events.
Aboyne Highland Games - First Saturday in August, the massed pipe bands are a stirring sight and sound. Highland Dancing competitions to tossing the caber all make for a spectacular day.
Ballater Highland Games - Second Thursday in August similar to Aboyne, with many competitions for heavy sports such as caber tossing and hammer throwing.
Lonach Gathering - Fourth Saturday in August. Held in the small, picturesque Aberdeenshire village of Bellabeg, the Lonach Highland Gathering features the unique march of the Lonach Highlanders. With around 220 men, the Lonach Highlanders are believed to be the largest body of non-military men to carry ceremonial weapons in Britain.
Braemar Gathering - First Saturday in September. Attended by HM the Queen and her family. A day of sport, Hill races, tug o’war, pipe bands, dancing.
The local agricultural shows are well worth a visit if you are here at the right time. Banchory Show held on Saturday 27th July 2019.
Echt Show 13th July 2019.
and the largest show in the northeast is the Turriff Show where the famous trotting horses race every year, held on 4th and 5th August 2019.
The Royal Lochnagar Distillery next to Balmoral - learn about the craft of Whisky distilling and take a tour of the historic distillery.
Fettercairn Distillery near the village of Fettercairn, over the spectacular Cairn O Mount road from here.
There are numerous distilleries from here up through Dufftown, Tomintoul and on to Speyside. There's a guide to the many distilleries in Speyside and Moray here.
Visit Scotland has an excellent site that will give you a lot of food for thought before and during your visit. They also have a number of Tourist Information Centres located in various towns and village in Deeside.
The area also has a number of important Archaeological sites, a guide to these can be found on the Aberdeenshire Council site.
Shopping for Food and for Gifts
If you are self-catering, you'll find the following places of interest.
Finzean Farm Shop, just over the hill from Woodend and well worth a visit.
Banchory, Aboyne and Ballater all have food (and gift) shops as well as market at various times of the month - market details can be found here.
Aberdeenshire has a wide variety of dining options from relaxed and casual venues to the more formal table, please ask us for suggestions!