Queen Victoria in Scotland
From the early days of her long reign (1837-1901 ) Queen Victoria developed a strong passion for Scotland. She acquired a Scottish Castle and landed estate (Balmoral) and visited the country frequently. This interest filtered down through the social structure of the day and acted as a catalyst for the emerging Scottish tourism industry.
Places associated with Queen Victoria can be categorized into three geographic areas: Edinburgh and environs; Central Scotland; and the Highlands. The latter being focused in an area between Braemar and Aberdeen which has become known as Royal Deeside.
River Dee near Balmoral Castle
→Edinburgh & Environs
- Edinburgh Castle was visited by Queen Victoria between 1842 and 1886. She prompted various structural alterations and changes.
- Rosslyn Chapel was a near ruin at the time of the Queen’s visit in 1842. At Victoria’s prompting the chapel was restored and brought back into use as a place of worship. Rosslyn chapel is now one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions as a consequence of featuring in the Da Vinci Code.
- Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. Queen Victoria reintroduced the custom of using the Palace as a Royal residence.
- Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were guests of Lord Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle in September, 1842. The Royal couple passed by again in 1866. Located near Kenmore at northern end of Loch Tay. This site is not a visitor attraction but can be viewed from a minor road.
- Blair Castle was visited on occasions from 1844 onwards. This castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. During the 1844 visit the Queen awarded the local military unit, the Atholl Highlanders, the right to bear arms, a right which is still exercised today.
Atholl Highlanders at Blair Castle
- Queen’s View. A panoramic view of Loch Tummel which was visited by Queen Victoria in 1866. This vista is probably named after the 14th century, Queen Isabella. Near Pitlochry.
- Falls of Bruar. Near Blair Castle. Visited by Queen Victoria in 1844. Warning: These waters contain strong undercurrents. Drownings have occurred.
- Ardoch Roman Fort which had a long period of intermittent military occupation starting from the first century AD. There is a wall plaque recording Victoria and Albert’s visit in 1842. Located at Braco.
- Loch Maree Hotel, Gairloch, Ross-shire. This is on the North Coast 500 route. Queen Victoria stayed here in 1877. It is possible to book the same room as that used by the former monarch.
- Balmoral Castle was purchased by Victoria and Albert in 1848 and remains in the ownership of the Royal Family today. Access for the public is restricted to gardens, grounds and Castle ballroom.
- The small town of Braemar (near Balmoral) was first visited by Victoria in 1848 when she attended a local Gathering and Highland Games.
- Braemar Castle was visited by the Queen in 1849 as guest of the Farquharson family.
- Royal Lochnagar Distillery. Situated close to Balmoral. The Royal Family visited the distillery in 1848, one of the first ever distillery tours!
- Crathie Kirk. Queen Victoria worshipped here from 1848, a tradition continued by the current Royal Family.
- Grave of Royal servant, John Brown, at Crathie burial ground. John Brown was born near Crathie in 1826 and died 1883.
- Sites on Royal Deeside include: Royal Deeside Railway, Crathes Castle, Aboyne, Finzean Estate, Fettercairn, Cambus O’May Bridge, Ballater, Ballater Old Royal Station, Glen Muick, Linn o' Dee and Mar Lodge and Estate.
Linn o' Dee landscape, west of Braemar.