It’s no secret that the Royal Family have had a long lasting love affair with Scotland. Follow in the footsteps of royalty as you explore the Scottish film locations featured in Season 4 of the Netflix smash hit series, The Crown, launching on 15 November. Discover the landscapes that provided the backdrop for the popular series as well as the real locations and magnificent settings in Scotland which burst with royal connections.
A baronial estate and beaches across the Highlands set the scene in The Crown, bringing the royal story of the 1980s to life. Be inspired by what you see and read on to find out how you can discover these locations and plenty more real-life royal connections and experiences across Scotland.
Ardverikie Estate (aka: Balmoral Castle)
No stranger to the big screen, the beautiful Ardverikie House in Kinloch Laggan plays the part of Balmoral Castle in The Crown. The impressive, turreted 19th century house and estate has doubled up as Balmoral since season one, and several other buildings across the estate were also used in the filming. Enjoy beautiful Highland scenery in a range of self-catering accommodation and indulge in a fantastic choice of activities, from walking and rock climbing to fishing, bird and wildlife watching and photography.
Braemar Games (or Braemar Gathering – Rothiemurchus Estate)
The calendar of Highland Games across Scotland is one of the highlights of the summer, and the Braemar Gathering is a particular favourite of the Royal Family. Filmed on the sprawling Rothiemurchus Estate in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, the traditional games include everything from heavy events, to Highland dancing, tug o’war and more. Discover a fantastic range activities across the Rothiemurchus Highland estate.
South Georgia, River Hofsa in Iceland and Classiebawn Castle and Mullaghmore in Ireland (Lybster Harbour, Dunbeath Estate, Reiss Beach and Keiss Harbour)
Caithness was the focal point of filming when Lybster Harbour was transformed into Port Leith, part of Britain’s overseas territory of South Georgia. Meanwhile a variety of beach and Scottish road settings were filmed at the sandy beach at Sinclair Bay, known locally as Reiss Beach. The area, along the route of the North Coast 500, also saw Dunbeath Estate become the River Hofsa in Iceland. The gardens are open by appointment year round. Keiss Harbour was also used to depict Classiebawn Castle in Ireland.
Whistle stop tour of Royal Scotland
So we’ve had a flavour of the locations that doubled up as royal connections in The Crown, now it’s time to explore a handful of the real-life royal experiences in Scotland. The country has played host to many kings and queens over the centuries, and this lasting legacy can still be enjoyed by visitors today – think castles, ships, palaces, parks and more.
The Real Balmoral, Royal Deeside
It’s been in the royal family since 1852 and was described by Queen Victoria as her ‘dear paradise’ and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire remains the current Queen’s favourite holiday spot. Enjoy a guided tour and the exhibitions in the Ballroom before exploring the stunning grounds. For more royal connections in the area, head to the award-winning Aberdeen Art Gallery to view portraits of Victoria and Prince Albert and watch our Tour Guide Tales video.
The Castle & Gardens of Mey, Caithness
Nestled on the far north east coast of Scotland, The Castle & Gardens of Mey was the Queen Mother’s favourite summer residence, where she spent more than 50 years. Admire the beautiful rooms and picturesque gardens, and on a clear day if you’re lucky, enjoy views across to Orkney’s Old Man of Hoy.
Scone Palace, Perthshire
The crowning place of many royal kings, Scone Palace is bursting with royal history from the Jacobite era to Mary Queen of Scots. Robert the Bruce, Charles II and even Macbeth were crowned here. A visit ensures a fascinating glimpse into Scotland’s royal history, including the State Rooms where Queen Victoria stayed in 1842 and the desk where the ill-fated Marie Antoinette wrote letters.
Queen’s View, Perthshire
Whether it’s named after Queen Victoria, following her visit in 1866, or more likely Isabella, Robert the Bruce’s first wife, there’s no denying the majesty of the Queen’s View. Overlooking Loch Tummel, visitors can also enjoy a range of forest walks and find out more about the area in the visitor centre.
Palace of Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
The Queen’s official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse can be found at the bottom of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and, like all royal palaces and castles is steeped in history. Visitors can explore 14 beautiful State Apartments, regularly used for official entertaining, as well as the romantic ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey and a range of exhibitions in the Queen’s Gallery. Why not enjoy the picturesque royal gardens and the sprawling, surrounding Holyrood Park too?
Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh
The Royal Family’s floating residence for more than for 40 years, the iconic Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed in Leith in Edinburgh. Learn the fascinating story of the royal yachts, visit the royal apartments and bedrooms, crew quarters and engine room and treat yourself at the Royal Deck Tea Room. The audio tour is available in 30 languages.
Towering high above the capital and visible for miles around Edinburgh Castle truly is an ancient wonder. It sits atop a volcanic plug (a piece of rock), which it’s been claimed is around 350 million years old and is home to the Crown Jewels (or Honours of Scotland) and the Stone of Destiny.
This is just a small snapshot of royal attractions across Scotland, but why not find out more by following the Victorian Heritage Trail itinerary across Aberdeenshire, discover the In the Footsteps of Kings AI app in Fife, live like a king or queen for the day, and share your experiences across our social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.