This pretty village in Scotland is probably best known for the legendary Braemar Gathering which took place last week.
A favourite event on the Royal Family’s holiday calendar, Queen Elizabeth was often pictured laughing at the antics. The event typically features competitions in field, track, bagpipe music, hammer throwing and tug of war.
Last weekend also saw the unveiling of a new gallery and visitor centre by King Charles on the Braemar Gathering’s site. The late Queen’s beloved residence, Balmoral Castle, is a few miles up the road and you can visit it when the Royals aren’t in residence and King Charles is regularly seen around the area.
But it’s the unrivalled mountain scenery and enormous glens that attracts visitors to this spectacular landscape. Braemer is a delightful spot all year round, sitting on the lap of the rugged, Cairngorms National Park.
Originally it existed as two villages on each side of the water, with the Gaelic title of Braigh Mharr referring to the whole area.
It was an important crossing on the Elsick Mounth and an ancient pathway used by Picts and Romans. The population of this charming village brimming with Victorian architecture sits around 500.
Braemer became a popular holiday destination during the Victorian era and is still favoured by Royalty. Now art aficionados come to stay at the B-listed Fife Arms designed by architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie and which has been dramatically transformed into a five-star destination richly decorated with antiques and artworks by world-renowned artists including Picasso and there’s even a drawing by Queen Victoria.
The village is home to the 17th castle Braemar Castle, currently under restoration, in which the King has taken a close interest in including the colour of the paint chosen to paint the castle. It is still impressive from the outside. The 14th Century Kindrochit Castle, though now largely destroyed because of plague, is worth a visit to see some of the walls and sunken floors clearly showing the castle’s layout. The area is an absolute haven for walkers.
A popular hike is the Lion’s Face and the Cromlins which takes around three hours and you’ll likely spot red squirrels along the way. Many come to tackle the 24 Munros (mountains over 3,000ft). There are 65 miles worth of trails and cycle routes of different lengths and difficulty.
Take in some of the area’s incredible wildlife with Wild Discovery heading into the Cairngorms National Park as well as surrounding areas such as Upper Deeside and the Aberdeenshire coast.
The coast is just as impressive as the mountains and you can get upclose to the seabirds who next on the craggy coastline on a guided tour.