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Braemar: Highland Games

We plan on attending the Highland Games in Braemar next fall. Are there any activities going on the Friday before the Saturday Games? What about the Sunday afterwards?

We'll be staying in Braemar Friday and Saturday nights but don't know what time to arrive on Friday, we don't want to miss anything.



Posted by
581 posts

I was there several years ago, took a bus tour from Edinburgh, I think it's just a one day event (no other planned events before), but you can check their web site...... There may be some 'unofficial' things going on in town but I'm not sure how you would find out about them.

Posted by
186 posts

Nearby Mar Lodge Estate holds a Gathering Ceilidh on the Friday before the games and you might want to keep an eye on their website and Facebook page nearer the time to get updated information. This year tickets were £20 each and this included stovies and there was a licensed cash bar.

Mar Lodge is about four miles away from Braemar so you would need to drive there from the village, or contact Mar Lodge to see if any transport is on offer. There might be a shuttle bus, but you'll have to reserach that. We have very strict drink/drive laws in Scotland now and it is not worth running the risk. There's no public transport link to Mar Lodge.

On the Sunday after the gathering you could drive up to Crathie Kirk to attend the service with any members of the Royal Family who will be there. Or just stand outside and watch the comings and goings. If you attend the service the building has been designed in such a way that the royal pews are not really visible from the main body of the kirk. You might see someone's hat depending on where you are, but that will be as much as you get.

Other than that I'm not sure much happens in Braemar the day after the gathering because there are too many people nursing sore heads :-)

However there are plenty of walks to take and other things to do in the area, including a visit to the Royal Lochnagar Distillery if that appeals.

I'm not that far from Braemar myself and very close to Crathie Kirk, so if you have any further questions or if there's anything else you want to know, I'm happy to help. You can send me a private message if you wish.

Posted by
162 posts

Thank you for all the information about the games. I appreciate your thoughts and input. We're looking forward to the trip, less than a year away now.


Posted by
186 posts

You are welcome.

I was in Braemar a few days ago and called into the Tourist Information Centre to ask about what else might be happening on the Braemar Gathering weekend 2017. Sadly they were closed for lunch, but I'll try again another time and see what they have to say.

Posted by
186 posts

I was in Braemar again this afternoon and called into the TIC which was open this time.

At the moment there are no planned events for the Braemar Gathering weekend 2017 other than the Gathering Ceilidh at Mar Lodge which I have already told you about.

The advice was to keep an eye on social media and the official Braemar website nearer the time to see what might be happening that weekend. However the gathering is such a big event in this area I got the impression that apart from the pre-gathering ceilidh, nothing else would be taking place. Even Braemar Castle closes for the games day.

I don't know where you are travelling from, but if it is some distance then I would definitely sort out an evening meal before you get to the village if you think you might arrive after say 5pm. If you plan to dine in Braemar then I'd take advice from your hosts about where to eat and book in somewhere to be sure of finding somewhere to eat. If all else fails there is a fish & chip shop in Braemar which will sell you a takeaway meal if this appeals.

Posted by
5669 posts

One of my favorite galleries is quite near by and I would recommend a look see. It's the Knock Gallery.