Activities for Children
Wherever you are in Deeside there are lots
of things to do that children of all ages will love - and good
fun for adults too! Picnics, walks, bike rides on quiet roads,
paddling or swimming, forests and castles, to name but a few!
Here is a selection of some of the many places you can go.
Cambus O'May Forest - a great place to spot wildlife
amongst the trees. Look out for red squirrels, crossbills and
woodpeckers, and of course don't forget the mini beasts - ant's
nests are hard to spot but once you've found one you'll see them
Burn O'Vat - a brilliant place for exploring hidden caves.
There's an easy scramble at the end of a short walk through a beautiful
gorge, which leads into the hidden 'Vat'. Good for splashing and
getting your wellies wet! The Visitor Centre is just right for kids
too, with lots of hand-on activities.
The Linn of Dee and Quoich (please note these are two separate
areas) - ideal picnic and paddling spots beside the River Dee, with
wonderful short walks through beautiful native pinewoods.
Ballater and Braemar cycle routes - a great way to explore
the area at a leisurely pace and to keep children interested. There
are a number of specially designed circular cycle routes starting
from Ballater and Braemar which follow quiet country roads and tracks.
You can hire bikes in both these centres.
Glen Tanar - ideal for picnics on the many attractive grassy
areas that lie close to the road, as well as for paddling in the
river shallows. The Visitor Centre has information about the walks
and cycle routes through the forest, as well as the best spots for
Balmoral Castle - You can ride up to the castle in a pony
and trap along the beautiful wooded estate drive. Horse riding is
also available around the estate, on sturdy Highland ponies.
Glen Muick, Glen Clunie - are good places to spot deer from
the road, especially in the evening and during winter.
The Lecht ski area - ride on the chairlift to the top -
it's exciting and the views are great. You can also try the go-carts,
quad bikes and giant tubes.
Playgrounds - There's an excellent playground for children
of all ages on Aboyne Green. There are picnic benches and the whole
area is fenced off so you wont have to worry about dogs or escaping
children. A bit further afield at Crathes Castle near Banchory,
the National Trust for Scotland have an excellent facility in the
woods, with an assault course for over eights and a smaller, less
daunting area with a sandpit and slide for younger children. There
are also playgrounds in Ballater, Braemar and Banchory and a small
amusement arcade in Banchory.
Ranger events - Several Deeside destinations have a Ranger
Service who organise events throughout the year for children and
adults. These include guided walks, fungal forays and environmental
art days. You can find out more from the ranger services, or ask
at the local Tourist Information Centre.
What to do on a rainy day:
Go swimming - Exchange one wet activity for another and
come swimming at the Aboyne community centre pool.
Escape to the east coast - when bad weather sets in from
the west, the east coast of Aberdeenshire and Moray is often fine
and sunny. Visit Forvie National Nature Reserve, with its massive
sand dunes next to the Ythan Estuary. It's a great place for bird
watching, as well catching sight of the occasional seal.
You could also try the Stonehaven
outdoor pool. If the sea's not too rough, you can take a boat
trip out to the spectacular seabird colony on the cliffs of Fowlsheugh.
Tours run in the summer from Stonehaven harbour. Contact the RSPB
(tel. 01224 624 824) for more information. There is also a superb
water adventure play park, on the seafront at Montrose (about an
hour's drive from Deeside).
Aberdeen - Aberdeen Beach, Satrosphere
(hands-on discovery centre), cinemas and museums.
Hide in a forest - It may be wild and wet out in the open,
but the forests in the glens are often sheltered, and just as fun
in the wet as they are in the dry!
Visit a castle - Deeside is jam-packed with castles and
your children will love imagining that they're mediaeval knights
as they tour the castle battlements.
Read a book - there are libraries at Aboyne and Ballater,
and storytelling at Banchory library.
For more ideas and a list of local events throughout the year visit:
Grampian Tourist Board.