Royal Deeside has been Scotland’s crowning glory ever since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first visited, and fell in love with the Balmoral Estate in 1848.
Since then, successive generations of the Royal family have adopted the area as their tranquil retreat.
The Victorian Heritage Trail pinpoints many of the historic places that make the picturesque Dee and Don valleys, in the north east of Scotland, a truly majestic place.
Follow the brown signposted official trail and look out for the other additional points of interest marked on the map with red crown to find even more places steeped in Victorian Heritage.
Information about the points of interest on the Victoria Heritage Trail are shown below. Click Here to our Home page to see our interactive Victorian Heritage Trail google map in the top right corner or view the online Victorian Heritage Leaflet
This magnificent memorial arch across the main street was erected in 1864 and commemorates Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s visit in 1861.
Victorian artist Joseph Farquharson, “The Painting Laird” famed for his oil paintings of sheep in the snow, is one of 16 generations of the Farquharson family who have lived here for over 400 years.
Originally erected in the 13th century, the building was greatly expanded during Victorian times. The unique merger of architectural character from the 19th century and Jacobean era makes this a fascinating marriage of styles.
Royal Deeside Railway
The track served generations of the Royal Family and crowned heads of Europe including Queen Victoria and the Tsar of Russia before closure in 1966. A one-mile stretch has been restored allowing trains to run once more.
An iconic fairy tale castle, its stunning four-acre garden features plants and trees brought back from the Victorian Laird’s plant gathering trips to North America, including a 40m tall giant sequoia.
This viewpoint just outside Tarland earned its name as Queen Victoria’s favourite vista taking in Lochnagar, Morven and Mount Keen.
Victoria and Albert frequently rested in picturesque Aboyne en route from Aberdeen to Balmoral with their horse drawn retinue, in the days before the train. The spectacle of the Aboyne Highland Games, established in 1867, takes place on the first Saturday in August.
Glen Tanar Estate
Victorian merchant banker Sir Cunliffe Brooks was responsible for creating the distinct architecture of this Highland hunting estate from the Victorian Ballroom to the Tower of Ess, game larders and workers’ cottages. Visitor centre and estates open all year round.
Held annually on the fourth Saturday in August in Strathdon, and marked with the colourful parade of the Lonach Highlanders, this Highland Games event reached prominence during Queen Victoria’s reign. The men of Lonach twice marched to the Braemar Gathering where Victoria presented them with colours.
Cambus O’ May Bridge
One of the finest examples of intricate white ironwork Victorian bridges across the River Dee.
The town which has more By Royal Appointment warrants – a mark of excellence first used in Tudor times but popularised by Queen Victoria to certify high quality – than any other comparable place in the world. Home to Victoria Week held annually in August.
Ballater Old Royal Station
A visitor centre that commemorates Queen Victoria’s visits with the unique Royal waiting room and a replica of the Royal train carriage used by Victoria in 1869.
Royal Lochnagar Distillery
In 1848 canny owner John Begg invited Prince Albert, who was known &qout; to make himself acquainted with all things mechanical&qout;, to visit. Queen Victoria, Albert and their three eldest children visited and bestowed a By Royal Appointment warrant.
In 1893 Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for the present Crathie Kirk and it remains a place of worship for the Royal Family today. Built by public donations, a gift of £2,000 was made by two of Victoria’s daughters from a bazaar held in Balmoral Castle grounds.
Crathie Kirk Graveyard
The burial ground of many members of the Balmoral household, most notably Queen Victoria’s servant John Brown. Several headstones have personal epitaphs from Queen Victoria.
The original castle was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1852 and promptly demolished! Albert helped with the design of the present Balmoral which was completed in 1856. Victoria called it “my dear paradise in the Highlands”.
Grounds, gardens and exhibitions open daily April to July only.
Eminent Victorian writer Robert Louis Stevenson holidayed in Braemar in 1871 – and wrote Treasure Island to amuse his step son. It’s home to the world famous Braemar Gathering held annually on the first Saturday in September.
Just 9 miles from Balmoral, Queen Victoria hosted the Braemar Gathering at the Castle, after becoming patron of the games in 1848, before the Gathering moved to The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.
Linn of Dee
The bridge, opened by Queen Victoria in 1857, crosses the River Dee where the normally wide river passes through a narrow, rocky gorge.
Mar Lodge and Estate
Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for this hunting lodge in 1895. Queen Victoria’s tearoom, a small estate building at the Linn of Quoich, is so named as it was used for Royal Family picnics.
This picturesque loch is on the boundary of the Balmoral Estate and the bothy Glas-allt-Shiel, built by Victoria and mentioned frequently in her diaries, sits on its banks.