Area focus: Braemar

Finding Feathers, Hoarding Horns, Borrowing Bones is a solo exhibition by local fine artist Sylvia Sim that will be on display at St Margaret’s Braemar in the Aberdeenshire village from this Saturday [23 October].

Braemar in Autumn

The exhibition, held as part of the venue’s community connections series, will include oil paintings, sculptures and prints, all inspired by the surrounding Aberdeenshire landscape and connections with nature during lockdown.

Sylvia’s show will run until Monday, 1 November at the stunning Glenshee Road building, which hosts a regular programme of music and arts events, as well as workshops and talks.

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The church, which was designed by renowned Scottish architect Sir John Ninian Comper, is a fine example of the Victorian architecture to be found throughout the charming Deeside village.

Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Surrounded by unrivalled mountain scenery and vast glens, Braemar is nestled among some of Scotland’s most beautiful and dramatic landscapes.

Until the 16th Century, it existed as two separate villages on each side of the Clunie Water, with the Gaelic title of Bràigh Mhàrr applying to the wider area.

During the Victorian era, the village, situated at the heart of what is now known as the Cairngorms National Park, became a popular holiday destination favoured by royalty, nobles and leading 19th-Century figures.

The popularity of Braemar soared after Prince Albert bought the nearby Balmoral Estate for Queen Victoria in 1852, and the extension of the Aboyne and Braemar Railway to Ballater, 16 miles away, allowed easy access.

The village is perhaps best known as the home of the world-famous Braemar Gathering, which dates back 900 years and has run in its current format since 1832. Scotland’s best-attended Highland games event has attracted crowds annually ever since.

As the locale’s popularity grew as did the construction of large houses and hotels, including the B-listed Fife Arms Hotel, designed by architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie.

With such grand architecture, impressive scenery and a small population of just over 800, Braemar is an increasingly popular spot for homebuyers seeking all the benefits of rural life.

An average property there has a value of £292,922, according to Zoopla, which is an increase of nearly 2 per cent.

Broombank Terrace, west of the village centre, overlooks the Braemar Highland Games Centre and has a handful of well-presented detached Victorian villas, surrounded by generously proportioned gardens.

There are some more modern dwellings there also, the designs of which are evidently inspired by the traditional stone structures they neighbour. A property at this address will cost up to £412,000

Mar Road is another popular location, winding from the centre of Braemar westwards and home to the timber-gabled Village Hall. There are a few uniquely designed properties dotted around there, which of late have fetched on average £282,911.

To the east of the village lies Castleton Place, which leads to a number of stone terraces and cottages, as well as BraemarSchool, a primary with a roll of just 32 pupils.

Secondary education is provided by Aboyne Academy, a 40-minute drive away towards Aberdeen.

The village is ideally situated for those commuting as the Granite City is an hour and a half away by road, as are Dundee and Perth.

It also makes for a great day out, thanks in part to its distinctive handful of independent boutique retailers and cafés. There are other scenic villages to explore in the area, and more than a quarter of Scotland’s Munroes are close by.

Braemar is the quintessential location for anyone searching for a easily commutable rural home that is surrounded by unspoilt Scottish countryside or a bucolic bolthole.

Average market value of a property in the area (Source: Zoopla)

Detached £306,213

Semi-detached £140,489

Terrace £139,120

Flat £75,741