Every now and then, you stumble across an unexpected delight. The Boat Inn, overlooking the Dee at Aboyne is one of these special places. The family-owned 18th century coaching inn started as a watering spot for drovers in need of rest and sustenance. You’ll feel welcome even if you turn up with muddy boots and a damp dog!

It’s been featured in the Michelin Guide and Scotland the Best, for the past few years, but remains welcoming and unstuffy. A recent refurbishment means there are eight characterful bedrooms and a new outdoor seating area. Inside, you’ll find real ale, real wood fires, live music and real food – hearty portions made fresh using the best local produce. The menus are imaginative, fun and, above all, tasty with great gluten-free, veggie and kids options. Summer sees Ransacked’s pop-up wood fired pizzas and flatbreads available most weekends too.

It is the Boat Inn’s blend of cosy traditionalism, excellent service, superb food and striking interiors that makes you feel instantly at home. No wonder it’s also become popular for special occasions including weddings for up to sixty people and regularly hosts local charity events.

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