4 Best Sights in Braemar, Aberdeen and the Northeast

Braemar Castle

On the northern outskirts of town, Braemar Castle dates from the 17th century, although its defensive walls, in the shape of a pointed star, came later. At Braemar (the braes, or slopes, of the district of Mar), the standard, or rebel flag, was first raised at the start of the unsuccessful Jacobite rebellion of 1715. About 30 years later, during the last Jacobite rebellion, Braemar Castle was strengthened and garrisoned by government troops. From the early 1800s the castle was the clan seat of the Farquharsons, who hold their clan reunion here every summer.

Thanks to the commitment of local volunteers, a remarkable 2008 renovation restored Braemar to the home it would have been in the early 20th century, complete with all the necessary comforts and family memorabilia. Further renovation through summer 2023 is aimed at sprucing up the exterior. Inside, a dozen rooms are on view, including the laird's day room with a plush daybed and the kitchen.

Off A93, Braemar, AB35 5XR, Scotland
01339-741219
Sight Details
Rate Includes: £8, Closed Nov.–Easter and Mon. and Tues. in Apr.–June, Sept., and Oct

Braemar Highland Games Centre

This unabashedly royalist visitor attraction is devoted to the tartan heritage of the Braemar Royal Highland Society, the organizers of the original Highland Gathering. It also dedicates time to the British royal family's connection to the event and with Braemar from the days of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert through the 21st century.

Braemar Highland Gathering

The village of Braemar is associated with the Braemar Highland Gathering, held the first Saturday in September. Although there are many such gatherings celebrated throughout Scotland, this one is distinguished by the regular presence of members of the royal family. Competitions and events include hammer throwing, caber tossing, and bagpipe playing. If you plan to attend, book your accommodations months in advance and be sure to buy tickets---and, if necessary, your car parking ticket---about six months in advance, as they do sell out.

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Linn of Dee

Although the main A93 slinks off to the south from Braemar, a little unmarked road will take you farther west into the hilly heartland. The road offers views over the winding River Dee and the blue hills before passing through the tiny hamlet of Inverey and crossing a bridge at the Linn of Dee. Linn is a Scots word meaning "rocky narrows," and the river's gash here is deep and roaring. Park beyond the bridge and walk back to admire the sylvan setting.