The villages of Ballater and Braemar both have a range of amenities including a good selection of shops. Crathie has a tourist information point with a small shop. Braemar, Ballater, Aboyne, Banchory and Aberdeen are well served by local buses that pass through nearby Crathie.
In Ballater the station has been re-built (without a train service, unfortunately) and now houses a restaurant, small museum and information centre. There is a supermarket and a varied selection of locally-owned shops and galleries in the village as well as several, cafes and restaurants. Ballater also has two bike sales/hire shops.
Braemar has a supermarket, several other local shops, a gallery, hotels and restaurants. There are several marked walking routes around the local area. The famous Braemar Gathering is held here on the first Saturday of September every year and the Highland Games Centre with a restaurant and museum opened here recently.
Historical sites to visit include Balmoral Castle which is within walking distance. Braemar Castle and Knock Castle with it’s gruesome history are a few miles away. Within an hour by car are the castles of Craigievar, Fraser, Crathes, Drum and Corgarff. Crathie Kirk is a few minutes walk away.
There are lots of opportunities for walking or cycling in the hills, mountains and forests to suit all levels of ability. The Deeside Way runs east from Ballater through Dinnet and Aboyne providing a safe, easy walking and cycling route along the old railway line. The eastern Cairngorms are close by for those seeking more of a challenge, including Lochnagar (1155m high and our nearest Munro) which can be approached directly from the cottage.
There are many golf courses open to the public including those at Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar. Several companies offer guided walks or runs, bike rides and pony trekking. Other places of interest in the area include the Linn of Dee, Glen Tanar, Glen Muick, Burn o’ Vat and Muir of Dinnet NNR, the historic bridges at Gairnshiel and Invercauld, and Cambus o’ May with its white suspension bridge that was damaged in the flood a few years ago. Slightly further afield are Strathdon, the Cairngorms, Grantown, Aviemore and the NE coast with its interesting fishing villages.
Visitors often see red deer and roe deer. The area is also one of the few areas in Britain where red squirrels can be seen. They are fairly frequent visitors to the trees in the area. You may also be lucky and see an eagle or an osprey.