The picturesque village of Ballater sits in the heart of Royal Deeside, are area that captivated Queen Victoria due to its stunning landscape of moody mountains and shimmering rivers. Surrounded by countryside, the village is known for its spring water and is the nearest community to Balmoral Castle, which explains the many ‘By Royal Appointment’ signs that can be seen on local independent shops. Take a stroll to admire the historic buildings, browse the Ballater Gallery, which showcases Scottish artists with international reputations, or discover the painstakingly-restored royal waiting room at the Royal Station, which re-opened in August 2018 after a devastating fire in 2015.
Located in Royal Deeside, the iconic Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family since 1852 when the estate was purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria after they became so enchanted by the area. Described by Queen Victoria as ‘my dear paradise in the Highlands’, Balmoral is one of two personal and private residences owned by the Royal Family.
During our visit we can explore the largest room in the castle, the Ballroom*, the exhibitions and gift shop, as well as the grounds and gardens, which have been improved by successive members of the Royal Family. There is lots to discover, from the formal gardens and the large kitchen garden, incorporated by the Duke of Edinburgh, to the water garden and vegetable garden, which is harvested between August and October during the Royal Family's summer holiday.
*Please note: all other areas within the castle are not available to the public as these are Her Majesty The Queen's private rooms.
Nestled in stunning countryside, Stonehaven is a picturesque harbour town on the North East coast of Scotland. The town is famous for its Hogmanay Fireballs Ceremony, where locals swing blazing above their heads to ward off evil spirits. During our visit you may like to discover the Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum, rich in history as a former courthouse and jail, enjoy the fresh sea air with a stroll along the sheltered harbour or simply sit back and relax in one of the lovely cafes or restaurants.
Known as the Granite City, the thriving sea port of Aberdeen has been described as "one of the most architecturally distinctive cities in Europe" thanks to its sparkling Granite buildings and monuments. There’s plenty to discover, from Old Aberdeen, with its cobbled streets and 15th-century cathedral, to the quirky fishing quarter of Footdee at the water’s edge. Look out for dolphins leaping at the harbour mouth and listen for the warming tones of ’Doric’, the local Scots dialect , or why not indulge in some retail therapy in the many shops dotted along the mile-long Union Street.
Edinburgh is the truly delightful capital city of Scotland, from the atmospheric cobbled streets of the old town and the Royal Mile to the beautiful Georgian avenues of the new town. Edinburgh is a city of contrasts from shopping on renowned Princes Street to its many historic attractions including the world-famous Edinburgh Castle.