Braemar has been the playground of kings and nobles since the dawn of Scottish history. Set in the heart of the Cairngorms, Queen Victoria chose Deeside as her holiday centre and successive generations of the Royal Family have followed suit for more than a hundred years.
The ruins of the castle of Kindrochit, ‘Head of the Bridge’, lie in the heart of the village; nearly a thousand years ago it commanded all the glens leading in and out of the area – Glenshee to the south, Aberdeen to the east, Lairig Ghru to the north and Glen Tilt and Glen Feshie to the west. It was around this strategic bridgehead that the little village grew.
Today Braemar is probably best known for its annual Highland Gathering, of which HM Queen Elizabeth is patron. The area around Braemar is a haven for wildlife; herds of red deer can be seen grazing in the woodlands and those with a really keen eye may even be lucky enough to spot a golden eagle on higher ground.
The bustling centre of Braemar offers a range of shops and the Highland Heritage Centre provides an insight into the town’s royal connections. Nearby is the Balmoral Estate, former home of Queen Victoria which is now the Scottish retreat of the Royal Family. Like Queen Victoria, Robert Louis Stevenson was also inspired by the scenery and wrote his classic novel ‘Treasure Island’ after visiting Braemar in 1881.
The surrounding area is also full of interest, with Highland towns and villages such as Blairgowrie, Pitlochry and Ballater within easy reach.
We use the Fife Arms Hotel, which was originally the Duke of Fife’s hunting lodge in a picturesque setting on the banks of Clunic Water.
Braemar offers a selection of shops with goods ranging from traditional Scottish woollens to gifts and souvenirs. There is also a good choice of dining options serving traditional and international dishes, as well as traditional pubs and tea rooms.