Continue your journey down the A93 on the short but beautiful drive to Balmoral Estate. Purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848, the Balmoral Estate has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family ever since. Often called the ‘heart of Royal Deeside’ the Balmoral Estate covers 50,000 acres of heather-clad hills, ancient woodland and stunning gardens. The castle sits proudly amidst the Scots pines, a firm favourite with visitors and royalty alike.
Queen Victoria described Balmoral as ‘my dear paradise in the Highlands’ and the castle has remained a firm favourite through many generations of the Royal Family. Balmoral Castle has remained a favourite residence for Her Majesty the Queen and her family who are in residence during the summer period of August and September. The grounds, gardens and castle ballroom are open to the public when the Royal Family are not in residence and the stunning scenery and magnificent architecture make for a wonderful way to spend a morning.
Take a stroll by the peaceful Loch Muick, situated on the border of the Balmoral Estate and the surrounding forest. A wide variety of bird and animal life can be found around the loch, including red squirrel, red deer and oyster catchers. Follow the path down the Lochside to the spectacular royal bothy of Glas-allt-Shiel, which was built for Queen Victoria and became her much loved respite. Now the bothy is a popular retreat for Prince Charles.
Head down the road to pay a visit to another place which was dear to the heart of Queen Victoria, the Royal Lochnagar Distillery. In 1848 the owner of Lochnagar Distillery invited Prince Albert, who was an enthusiast of mechanics to visit and inspect the premises. Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their three eldest children attended and were so impressed they bestowed a ‘By Royal Appointment’ warrant on the distillery. Now the Royal Lochnagar Distillery is open to visitors throughout the year, offering guided tours of the traditional distillation process and, of course, a dram of the award-winning Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old Single Highland Malt.
Finish the day with a short drive to the village of Braemar and was a popular relaxation spot for Queen Victoria who visited the village regularly. Have a drink in one of the traditional pubs of Braemar or enjoy delectable local cuisine at a wide variety of traditional Scottish restaurants.