Braemar in Scotland is a beautiful town on the edge of Aberdeenshire. Its proximity to the Cairngorm Mountains, Aberdeen City, and fascinating attractions in the region make there many things to do in Braemar for a holiday!
The village is in the heart of Royal Deeside, a place well known for its Royal history and luscious country woodlands. Her Majesty Queen Victoria even attended the Braemar Highland Games at Invercauld in 1844, and she’s been credited as being the patron of the villages here ever since.
Braemar is also extremely close to the Cairngorms National Park, making it easy to set out and summit a mountain on an early Saturday morning! And whether it’s luxury accommodation or self-catering, you’ll find all the amenities, restaurants, and activities you want in Braemar.
In This Post
Things to do in Braemar
From golf courses, beautiful trail walking, historical sites, and much more, Braemar is certainly one place where your list of things to do will keep growing and growing.
Braemar is famous not only for being a lively and friendly village but also for where a history buff can really sink their teeth into the past. Braemar Castle, St Margeret’s Church, and the Balmoral Cairns are truly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to historical landmarks.
It can be tricky picking what exactly you should be doing while in Braemar. See our guide for the top things to do in Braemar!
The tranquil and stunning Linn O’Dee is a spot that has royal favours, being one of Queen Victoria’s favourite spots in nature.
If you happen to be in Braemar during September, then Linn O’Dee should be on the top of your list! It’s the perfect place for a calm walk, so come appreciate this spectacular hiking spot’s Autumn oranges and reds.
Celebrating Scottish history and heritage, the volunteer-run Braemar Castle is one of the highlights of any visit to Braemar.
The Castle is dedicated to preserving the fascinating stories of the castle for future generations. Their “Raising the Standard” initiative is working on renovating Braemar Castle to be even more exciting to see!
Built by the Earl of Mar, this stunning castle was an essential location during the Jacobite Uprising – so any history buffs would love a visit to Braemar Castle!
The Famous Braemar Gathering
If you happen to be in Braemar during the first Saturday of September, then the Braemar Gathering is one of the most exciting times to partake in!
This gathering is attended by the Royal Family during some of its years and it’s not uncommon to even see the Queen Mother attend these fantastic events. You can witness exemplary Highland games like tug-o-war, pipe bands, and traditional village dancing – all with an unbeatable atmosphere!
Mar Lodge Estate
See Britain’s most prominent nature reserve in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.
If you’re into outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, take some time to hike amongst the gorgeous Scottish woodlands. The Caledonian Pines of the Mar Lodge Estate are extraordinary, so don’t miss out on these woods in Aberdeenshire.
Glenshee Ski Centre
Skiing and snowboarding are the names of the game at Glenshee Ski Centre, and this spectacular winter destination is one of the best to come to and see while in Braemar.
It’s the UK’s premier skiing centre and the perfect trip to take your family when you’re next in Braemar. There are snow sports galore, with even more to explore upon the steeps, glades, open bowls, and narrow gullies.
Spend the night within the hunting lodge and spend the day skiing to your heart’s content.
Wellington Air Memorial
The striking Wellington Air Memorial is exceptionally poignant and commemorates the eight airmen who lost their lives in the 1940s.
The memorial is of unusual design and invokes a welcoming atmosphere around it. It’s a curious attraction with a fascinating history, so it’s well worth checking out the Wellington Air Memorial while you’re in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
Take a trip down the south side of Braemar, and you’ll find the ruins of Kindrochit Castle, where you can explore a castle from the 1300s.
There’s a lot to discover here, and you can walk and climb aboard the rocks and ruins of the castle. Kindrochit Castle is also home to several unique historical events, including Sir Malcolm Drummond’s kidnapping and Isabella’s forced marriage.
Out of the castles of Braemar, Kindrochit Castle is one of the most unique, even in its ruinous state.
St Margaret’s Church
Check out St Margaret’s Church in Braemar, an excellent place that hosts performance, arts, and heritage events.
Make sure to check out their website for more information, and you’ll find that there are varied events that the Church orchestrates throughout the year. Make some time to enjoy their concerts, exhibitions, talks, and farmer’s markets!
Among the pinewoods is Creag Choinnich, a beautiful hill east of Braemar.
Creag Choinnich is the oldest recorded hill race, which dates back to 1064. The Queen regularly visits this distinct location when she comes to attend and see the Braemar Highland Games.
The expansive River Dee is the lifeblood of Braemar, making it the perfect accompaniment for families visiting Braemar.
It’s a great place to enjoy some morning day walking or have a picnic alongside the rushing waters. It’s also a great spot to have a bout of fishing, with local anglers more than happy to show you the ropes on catching the fish of the River Dee.
Royal Lochnagar Distillery
A mere mile from Balmoral Castle sites, Royal Lochnagar Distillery, is home to single malt whisky fed by crystal clear water from the Scarnock Springs.
It was graced with a royal visit and was renamed to reflect this monumental event. You can book a guided tour that will take you through the Distillery’s ample processes and machinery and end the day off with a tasting session that will take you through the breadth and width of whiskies here.
Scotland Railway Building
The iconic Scotland Railway Building in Braemar is a location you should consider visiting while in town.
Interestingly, the Railway Building never had any trains come to its station, but the railway lines were laid down. In its stead, bus services were offered but eventually closed in 1966 along with the Building. Today, the blue colours of this Building make it a distinct attraction to see in Braemar.
Did you know there’s a pyramid in Scotland? The Balmoral Cairns sit on the Balmoral Castle estate and are magnificent pieces of stonework dedicated to deceased Royals.
The nearby Balmoral Castle is also absolutely stunning, even inspiring Robert Louis Stevenson to conceive the idea of Treasure Island when he came to see Braemar.
The most famous of these is the Prince Albert Cairn, which resembles a pyramid-like structure that towers amongst the nearby forests. It’s truly a stunning monument to behold, and no trip to the Balmoral estate would be complete without it.
Come and enjoy the spectacular walk past the 11 Balmoral Cairns when you visit.
Enjoy a Dram at Fife Arms
While Braemar, stop by the Fife Arms for a stunning selection of Scottish food and drink.
The Fife Arms Hotel is not only an excellent choice for accommodation but has the premier restaurant, bar, and dining for you to indulge in after a long day of travel. The Flying Stag is one of its most famous, where you can try the hearty breakfast cuisine of Scotland.
The Clunie Dining Room is for more comfortable dining, with gorgeous views over the Clunie Water that runs through the middle of the city. And make sure to stop by Bertie’s Bar Room for a lively and atmospheric night cap!
Enjoy Braemar Church
With grand stained glass windows and beautiful pulpits, Braemar Church is one attraction you don’t want to miss out on while you’re in this region.
You can find Braemar Church situated in the heart of town, easily spotted by its high bell tower and distinct stonework. Here, you’re more than welcome to explore and take pictures or just pop by to chat with locals and plan your morning’s outing!
Balmoral Castle is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions that visitors often put high on their to-do list.
The Castle is the Royal Family home and has been for generations ever since Prince Albert bought the property in 1852. Today, from April until September, you can search through the beautiful grounds of this world-famous landmark and be treated to the grandiose sight of Balmoral Castle.