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Banff is a small fishing port in Aberdeenshire in northeast Scotland. It stands on the west bank of the mouth of the River Deveron, with the village of Macduff on the east bank; together their population (as of 2016) is 4100. The main reason to visit is the scenic coastline, dotted with little coves and harbours, and for Duff House which is nowadays a branch of the National Galleries of Scotland.

Sir George Steven (1829-1921), founder president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, was born in Dufftown in Aberdeenshire, and named Banff, Alberta and Banff National Park after this Scottish town. The name "Banff" originally meant a stream, or a holy woman, or a piglet . . . they've no idea frankly.

Get in[edit]

Duff House

Stagecoach Bus 35 runs from Aberdeen to Macduff and Banff, taking two hours, and continuing to west to Portsoy and Elgin. Since March 2020 this only runs every two hours.

Bus 273 runs every two hours between Banff, Macduff and Gardenstown. It usually continues to Fraserburgh but this has been curtailed since March 2020.

Banff lost its railway in 1964. The nearest stations are Huntly and Keith but these lack onward public transport; Elgin is a better option. These three stations are all on the line between Aberdeen and Inverness, with trains each way every two hours.

By road the usual approach from the south is via Aberdeen, reached by M90 / A90. The direct route is then A947 cross-country. A scenic coastal route is to stay on A90 to Fraserburgh then take A98 west to Banff.

You can also approach via Inverness: follow A96 Aberdeen road to Fochabers roundabout then A98 east to Banff.

Get around[edit]

Map of Banff (Scotland)

Buses 35 and 273 link Banff and Macduff.

See[edit]

  • Banff town centre has many attractive 18th / 19th century buildings.
  • 1 Duff House. Apr-Oct daily 11:00-17:00, Nov-Mar Th-Su 11:00-16:00. A magnificent house designed by William Adam in 1735, and now housing an exhibition by the National Galleries of Scotland. Adult £7. Duff House (Q1263962) on Wikidata Duff House on Wikipedia
  • 2 Macduff Marine Aquarium, 11 High Shore, Macduff AB44 1SL. Apr-Oct M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa Su 11:00-17:00; Nov-Mar Sa-W 11:00-16:00. Adult £6.65.
  • 3 Museum of Banff. Museum founded in 1828, housed in the library which was built in 1902. Exhibits include the burgh cross dating from the 1400s and a claymore (sword) from the early 1300s.
  • 4 Whitehills is another small fishing village 3 miles west of Banff. The old harbour and centre is attractive, pity about the modern sprawl around it.

Do[edit]

  • 1 Banff Castle. A mansion house designed by architect John Adam, built in 1750, now used as a community arts venue. Its 12th century predecessor was demolished and only a few scraps remain. Banff Castle (Q4854865) on Wikidata Banff Castle on Wikipedia
  • Beaches: the sandy beach is Inverboyndie a mile west of Banff. East from Macduff is a series of little rocky coves and groynes.
  • Golf: Duff House Royal GC is in the grounds of Duff House; white tees 6043 yards, par 68. Royal Tarlair GC is east side of Macduff, white tees 5897 yards, par 71.
  • Cornhill Highland Games are held in May / June on Cornhill playing fields, 8 miles southwest of Banff. The next are on Sat 4 June 2022.

Buy[edit]

Banff market cross
  • 1 Co-op Food, Bridge Rd, Banff AB45 1HE. Daily 07:00-22:00. Near the river bridge so it's also reasonably handy for Macduff.
  • 2 Tesco Metro, Carmelite St, Banff AB45 1AF. M-Sa 07:00-22:00, Su 10:00-18:00. Small supermarket.
  • There's also a Scotmid on Duff St (B9026) at the south edge of Macduff, open daily 07:00-21:00.
  • The Farmers Market is held last Saturday of the month 09:00-12:30 in the Fishmarket, Macduff.

Eat[edit]

  • Macduff has a cluster of fish & chips shops, and Knowes Hotel restaurant.
  • Banff has more choice, including Lemon Grass, Indian Garden, and Ali's Kitchen.
  • Kelpie Cafe is a fun place on Castle St in Banff, open Tu-F 10:00-16:00.

Drink[edit]

  • In Banff are Ship Inn, Castle Bar, Aul Fife, Market Arms, Central Bar and Railway Inn.
  • In Macduff is The Old Moray.
  • Macduff Distillery produces malt whisky. No tours.

Sleep[edit]

Banff Castle
  • 1 Banff Links Caravan Park, Inverboyndie, Banff AB45 2JJ, +44 1261 812228. Clean peaceful site on beach, open Apr-Dec. Tent £14, Tourer pitch £27.
  • County Hotel, 32 High St, Banff AB45 1AE, +44 1261 815353. Georgian townhouse showing its age but a pleasant stay. B&B double £95.
  • Carmelite House is a friendly B&B at 30 Low St.
  • Trinity Manse is a B&B at 21 Castle St, B&B double £70.
  • 2 Banff Springs Hotel, Golden Knowes Road, Banff AB45 2JE, +44 1261 812881. Slick comfy modern hotel with 36 rooms and restaurant. B&B double £80.
  • 3 Fife Lodge Hotel, Sandyhill Rd, Banff AB45 1BE, +44 1261 812436. Comfy friendly place, good value for money. B&B double £100.
  • 4 Knowes Hotel, 43 Market St, Macduff AB44 1LL, +44 1261 458000. Bright place with good restaurant in an 1870s schoolhouse. B&B double £95.

Connect[edit]

As of Dec 2020, Banff has 4G from Vodafone and Three, but you'll be lucky to manage a call with EE or O2. 5G has not yet reached this area.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Banff
CairngormsKeith (junction UK road A96.svg) ←  SW UK road A95.svg NE  ENDS AT UK road A98.svg BETWEEN PORTSOY AND BANFF



This city travel guide to Banff is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.