Skip links
Published on:




With the much anticipated new series of The Crown hitting our
screens in 2019, discerning travellers escape to the Queen’s holiday
haven of Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire
words: janice hopper


Deeside offers an invigorating breath of fresh air for all the family; a range of outdoor activities, an exemplary larder and unique accommodation. Combining just the right mix of Scottish ruggedness and discreet luxury.

Traditional hunting, shooting and fishing can be arranged, such as salmon fishing on the Dee, trout fishing on the Don, or hunting for grouse and stag with all the family. For more animal friendly pursuits, try horse riding on the Glentanar estate or clay pigeon shooting, which is available all year round. Aberdeenshire has hundreds of castles, stately homes and ruins to explore, and the jewel in the crown is naturally Balmoral.

Time your stay to coincide with a colourful Highland Games to experience a lively slice of Scottish tradition. The famous Lonach Gathering is held on 24th August 2019 and the Braemar Highland Games, which the Queen has attended annually since 1952, falls on 7th September 2019. For regal dining book a table at the Rothesay Rooms or The Carriage in Ballater, both enterprises of The Prince’s Foundation. The Rothesay Rooms dish up seasonallyinspired, locally-sourced Scottish food.

The Fife Arms - Drawing Room. Ancient Quartz by Zhang Enli. Photo credit - Sim Canetty-Clarke
The Rothesay Rooms-min
Raemoir House Front Lobby Outdoorwear
The Carriage bistro and tearoom, Ballater, by James McNaught 3
The Fife Arms - The India Suite. Photo credit - Sim Canetty-Clarke

Meanwhile, The Carriage is located in the restored railway station built especially for Queen Victoria in 1866. Atmospheric private dining is available in its teak-panelled ‘Royal Waiting Room’.

After dining, return to sumptuous accommodation. Raemoir House in Banchory is an exclusive-use Georgian house set in fourteen acres of secluded parkland. It’s fully staffed, so guests can liaise with the chef to create bespoke menus, bring a pheasant home and have it prepared for dinner that evening, and organise a vast array of activities on site – from archery, falconry displays and treasure hunts for the kids, to private shopping and whisky or gin tasting for adults.

For a unique hotel experience, the Fife Arms in Braemar is unmissable. The work of interior designer Russell Sage and renowned gallerists Hauser & Wirth, it’s a showcase for antiques, contemporary art and lashings of Scottish Victoriana. The Clunie Dining Room was painted by artist Guillermo Kuitca, the Drawing Room ceiling features mesmerising work by Zhang Enli, and pieces by Picasso, Lucien Freud and John Bellany adorn the walls. Children are very welcome and can spend hours chilling in the playful Family Room. But if you find a childfree moment then head to Elsa’s bijou bar, which honours the fashion designer (and regular Braemar visitor) Elsa Schiaparelli.
Indulgence aside, whenever the monarchy leave the warm confines of Balmoral, many of their preferred activities cost very little and simply take them back to nature: hiking undisturbed in the wilderness, painting the windswept landscape, picnicking at the dramatic Linn of Dee. Royal Deeside has been a family retreat since the Victorian era, a sanctuary that brings peace and invigoration in equal measure.

Check your hunting seasons The Fife Arms Raemoir House