Banchory is a small town in Aberdeenshire. It's in the scenic Dee valley 18 miles west of Aberdeen, and its main visitor attraction is Crathes Castle. It's also a good base for visiting Balmoral Castle and Cairngorms National Park.
See Aberdeen for air, rail and road options. An hourly Stagecoach Bus 201 runs up the Dee valley from Aberdeen (Union Square) to Crathes Castle, Banchory, Ballater, Balmoral Castle and Braemar.
The bus serves the valley, along A93, but you really need a car to explore the area.
- 1 Crathes Castle, Crathes Estate, Banchory AB31 5QJ (3 miles east of Banchory, on bus route 201/2/3), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. April-Oct daily 10:30-17:00, Nov-Mar Sa Su 11:00-16:00. Attractive 16th C castle with turretted tower, thick walls and ivy growing up the cream walls. Extensive garden with carved yew hedges and colourful borders. You can also hike pre-marked trails in the large estate. Adult £13, concs £9.50, NTS/NT free.
- 2 Drum Castle, Drumoak AB31 5EY (2 miles west of Peterculter, midway between Banchory and Aberdeen). June-Aug daily, April-May & Sept-Oct Th-M, Nov-March Sa Su, all 11:00-16:00. 13th-century tower with 17th & 19th C additions (yes, you can see the join) and gardens. adult £13, conc £9.50, NTS/NT free.
- 3 Banchory Museum, Bridge Street, Banchory AB31 5SX. M F Sa 11:00-15:00. Will teach you more about Banchory’s history.
- 4 Craigievar Castle, near Alford, AB33 8JF (Car only: Take A944 west out of Aberdeen, then after passing Alford take A980 - castle is about 26 miles (42km) west of city), ☏ . April–June and September: F-Tu 11AM-5:30PM; July-Aug: daily 11AM-5:30PM. This fairy-tale pink castle has the sort of turrets you thought only existed at Disneyland. Fitting elegantly into the rolling landscape, it was completed in 1626. It has the original carved plaster ceilings and original Jacobean woodwork. You are shown round by a guide. There is a small but lovely garden. Adult £11.50, children/seniors/students £8.50, family £28.
Outdoor pursuits available in this area include kayaking, horse riding, walking, golfing and gliding.
- 1 Royal Deeside Railway, Milton of Crathes AB31 5QH. This operates along a mile of standard-gauge line, a fragment of the Aberdeen-Ballater line that perished in the Beeching cuts. Trains run April-Sept on Sat, Sun and some Weds, mostly diesel-hauled but with steam Sundays in summer (also steam "Santa Specials" near Christmas). They run hourly 11:00-16:00 from Milton of Crathes west along the riverside to Birkenbaud then return; the railway society hopes to extend the line to West Lodge. Adult £7.50.
- 2 Belwade Farm (World Horse Welfare), Aboyne AB34 5BJ (6 miles west of Banchory). W-Su 11:00-16:00. Rescue & re-homing centre for neglected & mistreated horses - they also run centres in Somerset, Lancashire and Norfolk. Donations welcome.
- Deeside Gliding Club is based at Aboyne Airfield, Dinnet AB34 5LB, 12 miles west of Banchory.
- Banchory River Festival (incorporating St Ternan’s Fair) was held in mid-June to 2017. It was cancelled in 2018 and its future is uncertain.
The Farmers Market is held here 3rd Saturday of the month 09:00-13:00 at Bellfield Park.
There's also one on the 4th Saturday of the month 10:00-14:00 at Church Green, Ballater, and another every Wednesday 10:00-14:00 at Platform 22, Torphins.
A variety of restaurants are on offer along with tea-rooms. Famous for its local produce, you will not be disappointed.
- 1 Douglas Arms Hotel, 22 High St. Does good meals and is nice for coffee or afternoon tea.
- 2 Burnett Arms Hotel, 25 High St, ☏ . Isn't what it was, but they still do a traditional High Tea. 18 bedroom hotel and coach house restaurant. mains from £10.
- Banchory Lodge Hotel. Offers full dining in the dining room, or bar lunches in the lounge. Surroundings are quintessentially Scottish and food is usually pretty good.
- Miltons Brasserie, Crathes,, Banchory AB31 5QH (3 miles east of Banchory). M-Su 9:30-5PM. high-class dining. sandwiches £6, mains £14.
- 3 Raemoir House Hotel, Raemoir (Further afield to the north). Tu-Sa noon-2PM, 6:30-9PM. Very nice, and even more quintessential! Also has 18 bedrooms. bar meal mains around £15, dining room mains around £20.
- 4 Garden Restaurant & Raemoir Cafe. Garden centre with cafe and foodhall.
- 5 Banchory West Church. F 10AM-noon. If you find yourself in Banchory on a Friday morning, nip round the corner at the church in the High Street and go in through the hole in the wall to find a down-to-earth authentic Scottish church coffee morning, complete with tray-bakes and chat, with procceeds going to charity.
Hotels and guest houses are available in the town.
- Aberdeen — to the east
- Westhill — to the north east
- Stonehaven — to the south east
- Cairngorms National Park — to the west, Balmoral Castle is within the bounds of this National Park between Ballater and Braemar