Head into the majestic Scottish Highlands today via the “Deeside Tourist Route”, an enchanting drive through the towering splendour of Cairngorms National Park. On the way is Drum Castle, which evolved over the centuries from its original 13th-century square tower to a Jacobean mansion house with additions in the Victorian Era. The 16th-century Crathes Castle is also worth a visit, though not occupied by modern monarchs.
Further along is the Royal Lochnagar whisky distillery. Here you can follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the first guests to ever tour the distillery in 1848. Continuing on the royal theme, you may also wish to visit Balmoral Castle (open April - July), the Scottish Home of the Royal Family in the Highlands, purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
Another worthwhile stop on your journey is Grantown-on-Spey, a popular salmon fishing area. If time allows, pay a visit to the Battlefield of Culloden Moor. This is where the last battle on British soil occurred in 1746 — an event considered “the beginning of the end for the Highlands”. Nearby you can also visit Clava Cairns, a series of tombs and standing stones that are older than Stonehenge. Then continue to Inverness, the city nicknamed "Capital of the Highlands."
Spend the night in the Inverness area.
Driving distance: 124 miles / 200 km