Why not start off your day exploring the regions royal connections with a trip to Balmoral Castle? This has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1848. The royal residence was built by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria who affectionately referred to it as her ‘dear paradise in the Highlands’.
Continue your royal experience in Ballater, where you can visit the shops which proudly display Royal Warrants, indicating their positions as suppliers to The Queen. Visit the beautifully restored Old Royal Station - the last train departed in the 1960s but you can still see the Royal Waiting Room, created especially for Queen Victoria. A few miles past the town is Crathie Kirk, a lovely granite church where Queen Victoria used to worship and where the Royal Family attend services when in residence nearby.
Soak up the regions beauty with a stop at the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve where you will uncover a mosaic of woodland, heath, bogs and open water. It is an ideal location for a family picnic. Here you will find one of Scotland’ most beautiful Pictish crosses and a crannog, an ancient loch dwelling. Don't forget to stop off at the reserves most spectacular geological feature the Burn O’ Vat. This massive glacial pothole was once the lair of a 17th century outlaw, Gilderoy McGregor.
Finish your day with a trip to one of the regions fine castles. Drum Castle combines a unique late 13th-century tower with a fine Jacobean mansion house and Crathes Castle is a classic ‘fairy-tale’ castle with sheer walls topped by outcrops of turrets, crow-stepped gables and conical roofs. Both castles are set in superb grounds with a range of woodland trails on offer to help you and the kids unwind.