25 March 2024

Another 4-star visit awaits as Bennachie Visitor Centre regains coveted Visit Scotland tourism status


Visitors to the popular Bennachie Visitor Centre will enjoy another 4-star experience when it opens for the 2024 season on Good Friday (March 29).

Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme has been developed in partnership with the tourism sector and provides a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the quality of experience attractions offer.

During an assessment of the Visitor Centre back in August last year, the VS team looked at everything from pre-arrival to facilities, cleanliness and staff service. 

The centre serves as both an orientation point and interpretation centre for Bennachie, providing facilities for the public including a café, community room and toilets. 

There is pedestrian access to both car parks and trails, along with the main access areas of the hill and surrounding woodland.

It’s also visited regularly by schools and community groups, many of which undertake environmental education activities with the Aberdeenshire Council Garioch Area Countryside Ranger.

The centre also hosts a monthly programme of exhibitions and displays such as school project work, supporting other local environmental organisations, and depicting the social and natural history of the local area.

Run and managed by the Bennachie Centre Trust, a registered charity, with support from Aberdeenshire Council the attraction relies on donations to keep operating and to provide the best possible visitor experience possible. 

The Bennachie Visitor Centre has won awards for excellence of interpretation and has achieved 4-star status awards by Visit Scotland over many years. It won the Tourist Hotspot of the Year Award at the 2018 Pride of Inverurie Awards and has also been shortlisted for other Best Visitor Attraction /Best Day Out local awards.

Various improvements have been made at the Bennachie Visitor Centre over recent years including development of a new logo and branding, new staff uniforms and a host of new signage such as indoor orientation signs and interpretation panels.

There have also been improvements to the gift shop layout and introduction of new merchandise, toilet upgrades and new IT-based interactive interpretation.

Cllr Marion Ewenson, Chair of the council’s Garioch Area Committee, said: “We are so lucky to have the Bennachie Visitor Centre in the heart of Aberdeenshire. As well as being a gateway to the Bennachie hill range, it’s also a great spot for a coffee or ice cream and serves as a great venue for a variety of events and activities throughout the season.”

Bennachie Visitor Centre Warden and Trustee, Jan Lythgoe, added: “We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone when we open the doors for 2024 on Good Friday. As a small charity we are extremely grateful for the continued support from our visitors to help us develop and maintain the centre. From discovering nature workshops to art exhibitions, there’s something for everyone this year and whether you pop in for coffee or attend an event you’ll be supporting the Bennachie Centre Trust.” 

The Visitor Centre is open every day from 10am to 4.30pm and there’s lots planned in the coming weeks including:

  • Hill Skills Workshop 
  • An introduction to Bryophytes
  • Bird Songs and Calls
  • Wildlife Tracks and Signs
  • Finding Your Voice Spring creative writing session
  • Needle Felt Workshop
  • Mither Tap to Craigshannoch Walk

Details can be found on the website or the Centres Facebook page 

To find out more about the work of the Bennachie Centre Trust, visit 

In 1994 the Bennachie Centre Trust was formed, and along with Gordon District Council (now Aberdeenshire Council) managed the construction of the Bennachie Visitor Centre. Funding for the construction came from the Council, Scottish Natural Heritage (now NatureScot), Grampian Enterprise Ltd., the Bailies of Bennachie and the European Regional Development Fund (EC), with in-kind support from the Forestry Commission (now Forestry & Land Scotland).

The Visitor Centre has an unusual shape, which symbolises the Iron Age hill fort found around the Mither Tap - the most prominent and easily identifiable peak on Bennachie, but only the second highest. The building is wooden, so it fits well into the Scots pine woodland around the Centre.

The building sits on ground owned by and leased from Forestry & Land Scotland (FLS) on the south-eastern slope of the hill. FLS own and manage a large share of the land on Bennachie, much of which is forested, predominantly to produce timber. FLS also own and operate the carpark at, and areas surrounding the Visitor Centre, and maintain a series of paths and trails around the hill to allow recreational use.