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Granite walls, legendary castles and mysterious standing stones tell a long history of settlement in Royal Deeside.
It’s a matter of record that Queen Victoria fell deeply in love with what would become known as Royal Deeside (and the place where the current Queen is said to be at her happiest): “All seemed to breathe freedom and peace …” she wrote. It’s a sentiment that echoes through the years and still rings true today. Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of the Royal Family, is open to the public to explore important parts of the majestic castle as well as the great estate.
The nearby Royal Lochnagar Distillery’s canny owner, John Begg invited Prince Albert to visit the distillery in 1848. Queen Victoria, Albert and their three eldest children visited and following the visit bestowed a By Royal Appointment warrant. It remains one of the finest distilleries in Aberdeenshire.
The Braemar Gathering, held annually in the heart of Royal Deeside, is probably the most famous highland games in Scotland thanks to its Royal guests - the Queen! The Lonach Gathering, marked with the colourful parade of the Lonach Highlanders, similarly reached prominence during Queen Victoria’s reign. The men of Lonach twice marched to the Braemar Gathering where Victoria presented them with colours.
And if you truly want to experience Royalty during your stay take a ride on the Royal Deeside Railway. This track once served generations of the Royal Family and crowned heads of Europe including Queen Victoria and the Tsar of Russia.
To really explore the land, follow the Victorian Heritage Trail which takes in many regal castles, estates and landmarks for those interested in Royal Deeside’s regal past, present and future.