Let’s all go to Braemar! Bra-marrr (in my best Scottish accent). Braemar is the home of the Highland Games, surrounded by stunning nature and close to Balmoral. If it’s good enough for the Queen, then it’s good enough for me. Visiting Braemar Scotland in winter was a wonderful experience, let me take you through the best parts.
The Main Sites when visiting Braemar Scotland
Braemar Town is quite upmarket. It’s got a mountain village vibe as its one of Scotland’s highest towns, so there are lots of hikers pottering around. There are a few restaurants and bars that are all friendly, reasonably priced and serve substantial food. The fanciest in town is, The Fife Arms, which has a number of different wonderfully curated areas that you can eat and drink and a few tables outside. I’d recommend taking one of the outdoor spaces so you can watch all of the luxurious sports cars pulling in.
Be sure to visit the beautiful chocolate shop on the high street, but watch out for the fairly limited opening hours. They shut the shop regularly to replenish their stocks. I’d also highly recommend the butchers shop on the High Street, the ice-cream they sell is outrageously creamy and the meat fresh and plentiful. Rumour has it that they supply Her Majesty’s house.
Balmoral Pyramids – a fascinating site
Balmoral is just down the road (about 20 mins) from Braemar. If you have a car and you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend a visit to Scotland’s very own Pyramids! Start in Balmoral, where you can grab a coffee just outside the main house. Then take the meandering track, along the way you’ll see the Balmoral golf course (we can only dream to play it!)
Allegedly, the Cairns (Pyramids) were built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in dedication to the marriages of their children. There is a fascinating history attached to these structures which you can learn about as you explore.
It’s quite a steep climb and can get muddy, so hiking boots or wellies are a must. The full loop is around 6 miles, but you could shorten this if you’re low on time and return once you’ve seen the Prince Albert Pyramid (which is the main event). this is one of the more unusual sites when visiting Braemar, Scotland
Action Packed Adventuring when visiting Braemar Scotland
In the area surrounding Braemar, there’s lots to do if you enjoy an active adventure. My favourites are below:
Golf at Braemar Golf Course
This is a small golf course, but it’s wicked fun to play. There are some choppy water obstacles and some very satisfying shots to make as a result. It’s also quick to get around as it’s a quiet course.
There are lots of options in and around Braemar. It’s near the Cairngorns, but you don’t have to go that far to enjoy a good hike.
I’d recommend the Linn of Dee circuit, which is around 4-5km and relatively flat. It’s around a 10 min drive from Braemar, worth it for the waterfalls and stunning riverside scenery you’ll find on this walk. Look out for the Bothy’s on route too!
My second favourite hike is to climb Morrone. This is a 650m ascent that starts in the town, just behind the Highland Games arena. It’s a fairly easy path to climb, clearly waymarked and will take you to the peak which affords marvellous views back over the Cairngorns and of Braemar town. It will take around half a day and make sure you dress for the weather, it can set in at anytime! An important mention when visiting Braemar, Scotland.
Finally, you could walk around Loch Callater. A short drive away from Braemar (around 5 miles) will take you to the Loch. Walking around the Loch is an absolute treat, if you go early in the morning you might see mist rising over the water. The waterfalls peaking out of the hills around the loch are also a delight. This is not an easy walk, it’s rocky in places and takes around 3 hours.
Brace yourself. Whilst on the Linn of Dee walk you’ll notice that there is a winding and invitingly clear river running through. It’s not for the faint hearted, but a quick dip will get the blood pumping! Ice ice baby.
Have you had the chance to visit Braemar, Scotland let us know in the comments below.