The River Dee rises in the Cairngorms and flows down through the surrounding hills, eastwards to the sea at Aberdeen. The valley of the Dee is known as Deeside, or rather Royal Deeside, for its connections with the royal family, who have holidayed here, at Balmoral, since Queen Victoria first arrived in 1848. Originally, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were looking for an estate further west, but were advised that the Deeside climate would be better for Albert's delicate constitution. The queen fell in love with this area and its people, and following Albert's death she sought out the company of straight-talking northerners, preferring their down-to-earth honesty to the two-faced toadies she endured at court.
Today, Deeside's royal associations have made it the tourist honeypot of the northeast, but the royal presence has also saved it from mass development. There's an air of understated affluence and refinement in the villages strung out along the A93 that runs along the north bank of the Dee and, as well as the obvious attraction of Balmoral, there are many other fine examples of baronial castles.
Deeside has a spectacular and exciting landscape that is well suited for walking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits including fishing, mountain biking or skiing. There are many interesting things to do in Deeside. Set out on a Victorian Heritage Trail to follow the royal footsteps and to explore the towns, landmarks and attractions that are closely connected with Queen Victoria. Balmoral Castle, summer home of the Royal Family that is nestled in Lochnagar, known as the jewel of all mountains in another must see destination here. Grounds, gardens and exhibitions in Balmoral Castle are open to the public. The Ranger Service offers a series of easy guided walks including easy hikes, family outings and mountain walks up Lochnagar. Tel: +44(0)13397 42534
The pretty towns and villages that along the Royal Deeside stand out for their uniqueness. Do not miss out the unique Highland Games and festivals, which draws even Hollywood celebrities to Deeside! There are many historic sites too in Deeside that will you more about the rich culture , tradition and folk lores of this interesting destination. No matter whether you are here on a weekend ramble or a longer holiday, unlimited fun and excitement is guaranteed while you are in this post card pretty destination.
Getting around Royal Deeside
All the main tourist attractions on Deeside can be reached by bus from Aberdeen. Bluebird Northern service No 201, Tel. 01224-212266, runs every 30 mins (Mon-Sat) to Banchory, via Cults and Crathes, and every hour to Braemar, via Aboyne, Dinnet, Ballater and Crathie (for Balmoral).
On Sundays, the bus runs every hour and 2 hrs respectively. If you wish to explore Deeside along a less popular route (though even in the summer, crowds are never great) take the B976 along the south bank of the River Dee.
For details of the Castle Trail, Victorian Heritage Trail and Deeside Tourist Route, contact the TIC inAberdeen, or in any of the towns along the way.