The area around Braemar and Ballater is known as Royal Deeside, since Queen Victoria and the Royal Family have spent their holidays at Balmoral Castle. The river Dee has an important role for the nature in the area, because much of the semi-natural pinewoods in Scotland are within the river catchment. The whole area is famous for the rare pinewoods, birchwoods and heather moors and presents a associated wildlife.
The Ballater Railway Station was the terminus of the Royal Deeside Line from Aberdeen. It was opened by the Great North of Scotland Railway and was then closed in 1966. The old station was containing Queen Victoria’s waiting room. Nowadays, it is a visitor centre with a replica royal carriage.
Crathes Castle is a 16th century castle near Banchory in Aberdeenshire and served as the ancestral seat of the Burnetts of Leys until gifted to the National Trust for Scotland (1951). In the year 1323, the land was given as a gift to the Burnett of Leys family by King Robert the Bruce. The construction of the current tower house was begun in 1553 and finished 1596 by Alexander Burnett of Leys.
Balmoral Castle is located near the village of Crathie, 10 kilometres west of Ballater and 11 kilometres east of Braemar. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria.