This pretty market town, lying on the River Don on the fertile Howe of Alford, has a narrow gauge railway that carries visitors from a Victorian station through beautiful forest scenery. All manner of vehicles are on display at the local Grampian Transport Museum. Nearby Craigievar Castle looks almost Disneyesque and is practically unaltered since being built by the Forbes family in the early 17th century.
In contrast, 14th century Kildrummy Castle - dismantled after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion - has been extensively restored. It has a splendid Alpine garden laid out by Japanese designers in 1904.