Nestled in the heart of northeastern Scotland, Banffshire exuds a unique rustic charm blended with picturesque landscapes. This historic county on the Moray Firth coastline is home to a variety of distinctive qualities including magnificent castles, sprawling beaches and well-preserved Georgian architecture.

Our area guide aims to delve into the nature of this Scottish gem, offering insight into its rich history, notable landmarks, and practical information for new residents, such as information on the top schools, transport, and property prices. Exploring the beauty of Banffshire will reveal the perfect blend of Scottish country living with the amenities of modern life, easing the transition for those looking to make it their home.

History of Banffshire

The history of Banffshire dates back to prehistoric times, but it gathered prominence during the reign of William the Lion in the 12th century. The Banff Castle, seat of the Comyn family, played significant roles in the region's historical chronicles. Banffshire evolved as a core fishing and sea trading location over centuries, with the Port of Banff bearing witness to a lucrative herring industry. Characterized by a rich blend of history and culture, the area's Georgian architecture and historic sites testify to its age-old charm. The county's history resonates even today, making Banffshire a region deeply embedded in Scotland's historical narrative.

Landmarks of Banffshire

Banffshire is laden with several significant landmarks. The Banff Castle, now replaced by Banff Castle House, is a monumental fortification that played pivotal roles in many historical events. The Duff House is an iconic Georgian mansion designed by famed architect William Adam providing visitors a glimpse into 18th-century Scottish living. Lastly, the Bridge of Alvah, a magnificent stone structure spanning the River Deveron, is a remarkable civil engineering feat of the early 19th century.

Landmarks we love

  • Cairngorms National Park: Located at the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Cairngorms National Park offers stunning views of mountains, forests, lochs and wildlife. Perfect for outdoor adventures.
  • Macduff Marine Aquarium: A family-friendly attraction showcasing the marine life of the Moray Firth, enhancing understanding of the local environment.
  • Speyside Cooperage: Home to the ancient craft of coopering since 1947. The cooperage offers visitors a unique experience of barrel-making.
  • Spey Bay Golf Club: Set against the stunning backdrop of the Moray Firth, this scenic golf course provides an exciting experience for golf lovers.
  • Glenglassaugh Distillery: A historic whisky distillery displaying the traditional Scotch-making process, along with tasting tours.

Top 10 things to do in Banffshire

  • Visit the Macduff Marine Aquarium: Enjoy interactive exhibits and fascinating explorations of sea life.
  • Explore Duff House: Appreciate fine arts and historical furnishings in this Georgian mansion.
  • Ramble in Cairngorms National Park: Experience nature in its purest form, ideal for hiking and camping.
  • Walk across the River Deveron via the Bridge of Alvah: The bridge is a delight for photography and enjoys tranquillity.
  • Visit the Glenglassaugh Distillery: Learn about Scotch production and taste their famous whiskies.
  • Golfing at Spey Bay Golf Club: Enjoy a round of golf with a water-side view.
  • Visit Speyside Cooperage: Relive heritage by learning about barrel-making.
  • Explore Portsoy Marina: Visit the historic harbour, ideal for sailing and boating enthusiasts.
  • Kayaking at Moray Firth: Indulge in some adrenaline-pumping water sports.
  • Picnic at Banff Links: Perfect place for a family picnic with a play area for kids and beautiful beach.

Our recommended areas to live in Banffshire

  • Banff: Rich in history, Banff offers a beautiful setting with sea-facing villas, spacious gardens, and centuries-old architecture. Life here is leisurely, unhurried, and packed with amenities and attractions such as Duff House and the Macduff Aquarium, making it an ideal place for families.
  • Macduff: Situated along the Moray Firth coast, Macduff boasts great seafood, panoramic sea views, and good educational facilities. The area has a warm and welcoming community spirit, perfect for nature lovers and families alike.
  • Buckie: A vibrant harbour town, Buckie provides a charming blend of history and modern comforts. The location is perfect for those drawn to seaside living and offers plenty of recreational activities.
  • Keith: Keith has a bustling community life and is home to several distilleries. Its location offers easy access to beautiful coastlines, forests, and highlands.
  • Portsoy: Known for its historic harbour and annual boat festival, Portsoy offers a peaceful coastal lifestyle, rich in community spirit and maritime heritage.

Best schools in Banffshire

Banffshire takes pride in its educational facilities, providing excellent academic opportunities for residents. Banff Academy, with its dedicated staff and advanced facilities, ensures flexible and engaging learning experiences for its students. Macduff Primary School stands out owing to its technology-oriented curriculum and support programs. Schools like Findochty Primary, Millbank Primary, Ordiquhill Primary with their bespoke programs aim to develop students academically and personally. Portsoy Primary School, known for its friendly environment and excellent resources, nurtures young minds towards their full potential. Add to this a number of well-equipped nurseries and kindergartens, and the region is well-rounded in its approach to education.

Transport links in Banffshire

The region of Banffshire is well-connected with reliable transport options. Local bus services function extensively, ensuring ease of commute within the county and to neighbouring regions. The nearby railway station in Huntly provides wider connectivity to cities like Aberdeen and Inverness. Aberdeen Airport, about an hour's drive from Banff, facilitates domestic as well as international travel. The areas of Banff, Portsoy, and Buckie also provide marinas for personal and commercial use. The well-maintained network of roads make driving a pleasure, connecting residents to nearby cities and the stunning Scottish highlands.

In sum, Banffshire is a fusion of historical charm, natural beauty and an amiable community spirit. With its fascinating landmarks, variety of recreational activities, excellent education facilities and reliable transport links, it offers an idyllic setting for a pleasant and relaxed lifestyle. Sea views, stunning landscapes, world-renowned Scotch, and the warm community make Banffshire not just a place to live, but a place to call home.

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