Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, standing at the point where the road leaves the Dee valley to climb over Cairnwell into Glenshee. It’s in the eastern part of Cairngorms National Park and surrounded by mountains, which may be scenic or louring depending on the weather. In 2011 the population was 808.
Get in edit
A93 runs north from Perth via Blairgowrie, and east from Aberdeen via Ballater.
Getting here by public transport means first reaching Aberdeen, which has UK and European flights, trains from England, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow, and long distance coaches.
Stagecoach North Scotland Bus 201 runs from Aberdeen Union Square via Crathes Castle, Banchory, Ballater, and Crathie (for Balmoral) to Braemar. It runs every hour or two M-Sat and every two hours on Sunday, taking 2 hr 20 min. You may have to change buses at Banchory but it’s a through service.
Get around edit
You need your own car to reach the ski slopes or the upper Dee valley, which are the two main reasons to come here. There’s no car hire here, and the nearest taxi service is 17 miles away, Ballater Taxis +44 13397 55548.
- 1 Braemar Castle, Braemar AB35 5XR. Apr-Oct W-Su 10:00-17:00. Built in 1628 as a hunting lodge but ruined after the Jacobite uprisings, then re-built, and embellished to entertain the next door neighbour Queen Victoria. It’s a five storey L-shaped tower within a star-shaped curtain wall. Adult £8.
- Kindrochit Castle in the village was the predecessor to Braemar Castle. It's now just a few masonry stumps.
- For Balmoral Castle see Ballater.
- The River Dee rises high on the Cairngorm plateau and cascades down into the valley above Braemar. At Linn of Dee it passes through a scenic 300 yard rocky gorge.
- Golf: Braemar GC is south side of the village. Yellow tees 6916 yards, par 72, visitor round £40.
- Highland games: Braemar Highland Gathering is on the first Saturday in September, with the next on Sa 2 Sept 2023. There are junior games[dead link] for ages 5-18 in July, with the next on Sa 22 July 2023.
- 1 Glenshee Ski Centre, Cairnwell, Braemar AB35 5XU (on A93 ten miles south of Braemar), ☏ . Daily 08:30-17:00. Small ski area best suited to wobbly beginners and cautious intermediates. The chairlifts also run in summer for hikers and mountain bikers. Day pass adult £35, child £26.
- Braemar Highland Experience[dead link] do wildlife-spotting tours.
- Lochnagar is usually climbed from Glen Muick above Ballater. There’s a longer route starting just south of Braemar. Park at Crathie church and follow the track up Glen Gelder. From there ascend to the corrie, then join the standard route at Meikle Pap to the summit at 1155 m. There’s an even longer trail further south following Feindallacher Burn and over Carn an t-Sagairt Mor (1047 m), Carn an t-Sagairt Beag (1044 m) and Carn A' Choire Bhaidheach (1110 m) and so to Lochnagar.
- Lairig Ghru is a tough 20 mile hike through the mountain pass between Coylumbridge near Aviemore and the Linn of Dee above Braemar. It’s usually done in that direction, going east to have the wind and sun behind you, and you need to have transport set up at each end. The trail is obvious but it’s rugged terrain, the weather can be harsh any time of year, and it’s a bleak place with no shelter, amenities or bail-out options.
- Co-op Food in village centre is open daily 07:00-22:00. Braes o'Mar Gift Shop is opposite.
- Braemar Pharmacy further up Mar Rd is open M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 09:00-16:00.
Braemar doesn’t have a stand-alone pub, try the hotels or bistro.
- Braemar Youth Hostel, Corrie Ferragie Lodge, 21 Glenshee Rd AB35 5YQ (south edge of the village), ☏ . Friendly (and dog-friendly) hostel in former shooting lodge open Feb-Sept, reception 08:00-10:00 and 17:00-21:00. Bunk £24 ppn, private room sleeps six £130, breakfast £6.
- Rucksacks Hostel, 15 Mar Rd AB35 5YL. This has dorms in the Cottage and the Cabin, £13 ppn, plus two private rooms, and an Alpine hut if you’re hardcore.
- Braemar Caravan Park, Glenshee Rd AB35 5YQ (south edge of town), ☏ . They’re open year-round and take tents, touring and camper caravans, and have glamping pods. Pitch £23.
- Braemar Lodge was gutted by a gas explosion and fire in March 2022. Probably the shell will have to be demolished.
- Moorfield House, Chapel Brae AB35 5YT, ☏ . Tranquil B&B above Games field west side of village. It's B&B only as they no longer have an on-site restaurant or bar, this has moved to Cairn Grill. B&B double £90.
- Lots of other self-catering and small B&Bs in the village.
- Splurge at 1 Fife Arms, Mar Rd, Braemar AB35 5YN, ☏ . If only the Victorians had had pizazzy designers they’d have made places like this. Reopened in 2019, Fife Arms is now an upscale stylish place with an excellent restaurant. Most rooms are dog-friendly. B&B double from £350.
- Invercauld Arms, Glenshee Rd. This has been bought by the Fife Arms and closed for refurbishment. It might re-open in spring 2022.
As of Aug 2021, Braemar has 4G coverage by Vodafone, but no signal from EE, O2 or Three. 5G has not reached this area.
Go next edit
- South to Perth or east to Aberdeen are the obvious choices.
- You need your own car to reach the western part of Cairngorms National Park centred around Aviemore. Either go south and cut across from Bridge of Cally to Pitlochry and Drumochter Pass, or wind northeast via Tomintoul towards Grantown on Spey. These roads are often blocked in winter.
|Routes through Braemar|
|Perth ← Blairgowrie & Rattray ←||S E||→ Ballater → Aberdeen|