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The local area guide to living in Banff

Once known for its fishing industry, the small coastal town of Banff, Aberdeenshire, still celebrates its commercial history through its vibrant selection of seafood cafés, restaurants and wildlife visitor centres.

A picturesque arched bridge separates Banff, which is a former royal borough, from neighbouring town Macduff. The River Deveron flows underneath the bridge and on towards the Moray Firth; one of Scotland’s most important salmon fishing rivers. Banff’s own port has long since been remodelled and regenerated, often with small private fishing or leisure boats dotting its horizon.

A walk through Banff will mean spotting pretty town houses, a local museum that’s open to the public, a golf course, and Banff house, with its beautiful Georgian rooms. There’s also Banff castle, a former royal residence that’s now used as a community and arts space which offer everything from fortnightly movie nights, to cultural talks, yoga and mindfulness classes.

There’s lots to keep the outdoorsy kind entertained too – Suds Surf School runs local lessons in everything from paddle and body boarding to surfing. And if long walks and wildlife are more your thing, there are plenty of tours and trails in and around the locale. Popular 6-11km routes lie in Glenlivet and optionally encompass a tour of the local whisky distillery.

Information about the local residents

At its last count, Banff’s population reached 4,082. The people living in this historic town are predominately aged 45-64, with the second largest age group coming in at 25-44.

It’s common for residents to live in social or council housing, either on their own or as part of a married couple.

Many of the locals work within the manufacturing and construction industries, which are important to the local economy. Many of the local townspeople speak the local Doric dialect of the Scots language, although, it being the UK, the vast majority all speak English as well.

Nearby schools

Banff and its surrounding towns boast a huge choice of highly commended state schools. Choice of primary schools includes the local options of Banff Primary and Macduff School.

Along the coast a little lies Whitehills School and slightly more inland is King Edward School, both also primary schools. There are two secondary schools within the local area, the Banff Academy, which is directly within the village, and the Turiff academy, a short drive away. Turiff academy has over 600 pupils, taking children from the age of 12-18, while the Banff academy has around 900 students.

Getting around

Despite its being in a semi-remote northern region, Banff’s network of buses makes this Scottish locale and its neighbouring towns and villages highly accessible. Stagecoach and Deveron Coach services run from the town centre to Aberdeen, Macduff, Portsoy, Turiff, Elgin and many more places. There’s also a route that runs to the Banff Academy that is used by many of the local students.

The closest rail stations, found in Huntly and Keith, are almost 20 miles away, so the majority of locals do tend to use busses to-and-from their destinations.

Local shops

Take a stroll into the centre of Banff and you’ll quickly discover it has everything you need – from banks and several supermarkets, to small convenience and charity shops, a petrol station and more than one post office.

There are plenty of places to stop for snacks or a little lunch. Scott’s Coffee Shop on Castle Street is popular for its soup, cake and friendly staff. You could also try the ‘famous’ Spotty Bag Shop – an award-winning café that serves homemade Scottish fare and has its own, quite peculiar, gift shop.

The arts and crafts scene is also booming in Banff. On the last weekend of May Banff and Macduff hold the not-for-profit COAST festival of the arts. Music, workshops and events take place all over both towns, with the goal to get everyone involved and spread the community spirit far and wide.


Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.