22 November 2013

Places To Visit In Scotland, Part One: Ballater, Aberdeenshire | Lifestyle

Hi guys! I thought it would be fun for me to introduce some Lifestyle/Travel posts to the blog. Today I am going to tell you about a beautiful place in Aberdeenshire, Scotland; Ballater.

(Ballater in Winter)

(The River Dee)

Ballater is a picturesque village in the heart of Royal Deeside and is situated in the Cairngorms National Park.
My first memories of Ballater were visiting my Grandad's grave which is situated close to Ballater in a lovely graveyard which is right next to a field of horses, the beautiful River Dee and lots of scenic countryside. When we get the chance to visit, we always take my Granny there, bring a picnic and go for a walk in the beautiful surroundings. I also remember visiting Ballater on on school trip when I was about 10 years old!

(Me, my mum & sisters visiting Grandad's grave in Summer, 2008. Yes, I was blonde and didn't have glasses back then!)

In January, 2009, Dean and I took a bus from Aberdeen up to Ballater on our first ever holiday together. Ballater is truly beautiful that time of year; we had lots of lovely snow and stayed in a self-catering lodge at Invercauld Lodges. I think we stayed around 3 nights. Unfortunately, we lost all the digital copies of our photographs taken on that trip and only have a few copies in a photo album, but I don't have a scanner to upload them on here for you. So, I'll share one of myself that I salvaged from Facebook:

And here is where we stayed:

(Birkhall Lodge)

Our lodge was the most isolated and private one as it faced away from all the other lodges. We even received a little welcome pack which included a miniature bottle of whiskey! We saw a variety of wildlife from our lodge, including squirrels and different birds. We spent most of our time in Ballater taking walks and looking round the village shops. We'd love to go back there again!

Things To Do & See In Ballater:

Walking: There are lots of walks and hiking to be done, including Craigendarroch; a small hill which is accessible straight from the village. I vaguely remember climbing this hill on my school trip and having to learn about different types of trees...

Balmoral Castle: The holiday residence of The Royal Family. You can take a guided tour and/or audio tour around the castle. You can also visit the grounds and there is also a coffee shop and three gift shops to check out.
 Shopping: There are a variety of shops in Ballater including Dee Valley Confectioners, clothing shops, antiques shops, convenience stores, jewellery shops, book shops and more.
Cycling: There are a couple of places you can hire bikes from and there are a number of cycle trails you can choose from.
Food & Drink: There a number of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and a fish & chips take-away to choose from!

The AA Box 472: Situated 4.5 miles east of Ballater is this famous AA box; a popular landmark for tourists and travellers for over 60 years, having survived all types of extreme weather and having close connections to The Royal Family. One of only 8-10 AA boxes that still exist in the UK. You can read all about it on the website.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed the first installment of the Places to visit in Scotland! Check back soon for the next place!
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