Aberdeen, Royal Deeside & The Whisky Trail
Scotland's North East corner offers the visitor a tremendous variety of things to see and do. Aberdeen has one of Scotlands most enchanting skylines, with its tall spires, harbour and granite buildings. If you choose to stay in Aberdeen, then you will have a fantastic range of 1st class shops, vibrant nightlife combined with a thriving cultural calendar. Aberdeen is Scotland's 3rd largest city, after Edinburgh and Glasgow. In the city there is loads to do for all the family: Storybook Glen, Duthie Park Winter gardens, Gordon Highlanders Museum and Codona's Beach Amusement Park.
Surrounding Aberdeen you'll be spoilt for choice. The Whisky Trail is less than one hour away by car, where you can take a guided tour of one of the 7 malt whisky distilleries - Glenlivet, Glenfiddich , Cardhu and Glenfarclas being the most popular ones. The Whisky trail stretches approximately 40 miles from Grantown on Spey to Elgin. No where else in the world is there so many whisky distilleries in such a small space.
The Castle Trail takes in 13 of Scotland's finest castles such as Crathes Castle, Craigievar Castle and Castle Fraser. To the north of Aberdeen, there is a magical coastal drive visiting many small and quaint villages and small towns, such as Banff, Portsoy and Pennan - with its famous telephone box from the highly acclaimed film "Local Hero". This is an area where there are many sign posted coastal & beach walks. Long distance footpaths and cross country routes, to sand dunes and cliff top trails. Walking in the Grampians, Royal Deeside and Moray Coast is easily combined with a visit to many castles, historic gardens and whisky distilleries. It is simply great walking country as there are many reasons to stop off along the way!
For the Garden lover, the Grampian area is well tended for. The temperate climate allows many exotic plants to thrive in the Grampian area. The main gardens in the Grampians are Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, Hazlehead Park, Leith hall, Kildrummy or Ballindalloch Castle . The 2 most popular gardens to visit are Pitmedden with its 17th century formal garden and the Biblical Garden in Cooper Park, Elgin.
South West of Abeerdeen along the fertile plains of the River Dee is the area of Royal Deeside. Made famous, of course, by Balmoral Castle, the Royal residence, the gardens and part of the castle is open to visitors. The Royal Family has been regularly visiting Royal Deeside since Queen Victoria's reign, and the development of Balmoral Castle by the Royal Family has over the last 150 years had a profound affect on the area. Banchory, Aboyne, Ballater, and Braemar have many Victorian buildings. The area inspired the recent film "Mrs Brown".
The area of Royal Deeside is relatively small, from Banchory near Aberdeen to Glenshee 50 miles further south. The Western end lies within the Cairngorm National Park.