Balmoral & Royal Deeside Tour One-day tour
Our partner: Grampian Escapes and Tours Ltd
Our partner: Grampian Escapes and Tours Ltd
Experience the beauty of the Royal Deeside with it's connections to the Monarchy. Starting from Aberdeen we follow the River Dee to Balmoral*. Walk in the footsteps of generations of Royals who have called this castle home. From there we take a short detour through the east Cairngorms and see some of the dramatic hills and mountains the Royal family love.
*The last visit to Balmoral this season will be the 16th of August 2023, we will be substituting the National Trust for Scotland's Crathes Castle in this tour.
We then make our way to the charming village of Ballater for lunch and a stroll through the Victorian town. On our way back to Aberdeen we will visit the iconic Cambus O'May suspension bridge, a popular outdoor destination for visitors. We will also be stopping to see the Tomnavarie Stone Circle and one of Queen Victoria's favourite views of Aberdeenshire.
WiFi on board
Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes suitable for the season in Scotland. Most of the tour at Balmoral is outside so bring wet weather gear if needed.
Treasured highland home
Deeside is most famous for Balmoral Castle and the long history with the Royal family who have loved this area for generations. There are stunning views of the hills and mountains as well as fields of heather with the scenic river Dee flowing through it.
Balmoral Castle & Estate was the late Queen Elizabeth's private country retreat in Scotland and a beloved home since Queen Victoria & Prince Albert purchased the castle in 1853. King Charles III, has his own private home on the estate and as his predecessors, has a great affection for the castle and grounds.
When visiting the estate, we highly recommend the audio tour! With the audio tour you will hear stories from people who lived and worked at Balmoral as they guide you around the estate. The tour brings to life such characters as Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the Tsar of Russia but also, to a lesser extent staff from the Estate and Royal Household.
The Ballroom is currently the only room that is open to visitors within the Castle as the other areas are private. The objects in the Ballroom are all brought from within the Castle for display, these are all objects that belong to the Royal Family and normally live on a wall or shelf or cupboard in one of the private rooms.
***Balmoral Castle & Estate will close at the 16th of July 2023. This tour stop will be changed to the National Trust for Scotland's Crathes Castle thereafter.
Crathes Castle was home to the Burnett family, who lived in the castle for over 350 years, and had roots in the area dating back to 1323 when Robert the Bruce granted them nearby land. Alexander Burnett built the castle in the 16th century, an intricate maze of turrets, towers, oak panels and painted ceilings, many of which survive beautifully to this day.
Inside you’ll find a labyrinth of cultural history, from family portraits to fine antique furniture. The walled garden is a wonderful jungle of history, split into eight sections that encompass every green delight imaginable a sculpted topiary, soft herbaceous colours and modern exotic blooms. The massive yew hedges are thought to have been planted as early as 1702.
Scotland is iconic for its beautiful rugged mountains, hills of heather and cool clear rivers running through the countryside. On this short scenic drive we detour through the fringes of the highland moors and heath lands of the east Cairngorm National Park. Stopping briefly to take in the countryside scene at Gairnshields bridge and the river Gairn. This historic single-arched rubble-built bridge, dates from 1751, originally formed part of the network of military roads in this region. The surrounding hills which are part of the Cairngorm National Park, form the largest National Park in the UK and stretch for 4,528 square kilometers!
Ballater is is a picturesque Victorian village in the heart of Royal Deeside. This planned agricultural town dates back over two hundred years and is set around a central village green and the impressive Glenmuick Kirk which held its first service in December 1800. A stroll around the town reveals an interesting range of many specialty shops and good selection of restaurants and cafes to enjoy some of the local food & drink. Notice the number of shops which display the Royal Warrants, a sure sign of quality and support of the Royal family who support them as you wander through the village.
A popular countryside stop
The Cambus O' May bridge spans the river Dee and was paid for by the estate of Alexander Gordon, who had grown up nearby. The bridge was built in 1905 and is a suspension footbridge 50 m long and 1.2 m wide. The Deeside Way, a trail following the former Deeside Railway, passes the north-eastern end of the bridge. Footpaths from the bridge lead to Torphantrick Wood and the Muir of Dinnet nature reserve and were popular spots for city visitors to step off the train and explore the countryside. The area still is very busy with woodland walks and wild swimming in the river.
Tomnaverie is a recumbent stone circle, a kind of monument found only in north-eastern Scotland. Their characteristic feature is a large stone on its side, flanked by two upright stones, usually on the south or south-west arc of the circle. The stone circle surrounds a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. The site appears to have seen use as late as the AD 1600s. It’s situated in a landscape littered with remains of stone circles and burial cairns.
One of the best views
Just outside the village of Tarland is the Queen's View. 'The Queens View' gained its name from Queen Victoria who quickly fell in love with the view of the lower valley
of the Dee which includes a view of the peak of Lochnagar. The view is particularly loved by the royals who find it an unspoiled beauty which has not altered greatly for hundreds of years making it even more remarkable and memorable, and a view which epitomises Aberdeenshire.