5th May 2023
Scotland’s history of ancient clans and monarchs is immortalised to this day in the form of stunning castles, storied traditions, and breathtaking monuments. Even now, the UK’s Royal Family have strong ties to Scotland. You can experience Scotland’s royal history at any time of year, however, there is a specific week in late August when visitors can enjoy both the Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh and the Braemar Gathering in the Scottish Highlands. This is the perfect time for a royal week in Scotland.
Edinburgh is rich in royal history. It is Scotland’s capital city, and it is host to a plethora of palaces, castles, and places of historic significance.
On the first night of your stay, we highly recommend that you attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – an awe-inspiring spectacle that takes place within the walls of Edinburgh Castle. It is a sight to behold, and it starts your royal week in Scotland with a bang.
While you are in the capital, let us book you a private tour of the Palace of Holyrood House. This is, to this day, the monarch’s official residence in Edinburgh. It is not only the infamous scene of the murder of Mary Queen of Scots private secretary by her husband, Lord Darnley, but also where Bonnie Prince Charlie set up court in 1745 during the Jacobite Uprising.
While you are in Edinburgh, enjoy the same luxuries as Queen Elizabeth II did on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. The Royal Yacht Britannia sailed all over the globe on official visits as the royal family’s official residence while at sea. Now anchored in Edinburgh, it operates as a five-star attraction. Away from the Ordinary would be delighted to book you a private dinner on board, as well as an after-hours tour.
A royal week in Scotland would not be complete without a visit to Stirling Castle and The Wallace Monument.
Stirling Castle is a complex castle that has had parts added to it over the course of hundreds of years. It is the location of many iconic moments in Scottish history: The childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots and the backdrop to William Wallace’s battle of Stirling Bridge to name a few. Take in the opulence of the Renaissance-era royal court, before enjoying the grandeur of James VI’s Great Hall.
The Wallace Monument was erected to celebrate the life of William Wallace, a famous Scottish leader and warrior. Not only can you learn about the history of this time there, but you can enjoy views over the whole valley in every direction.
Heading up into Perthshire, you can visit beautiful Scone Palace, the location of the Stone of Destiny and the crowning place for many Scottish kings. The historical significance of Scone dates all the way back to the Picts. Scone is the ancient capital of the Pictish Kingdom, and it is said that the Romans discovered them here. They wrote about the ‘Painted Folk’, from which the name Pict originated.
The Stone of Destiny has been used for centuries in the coronations of Scottish kings and queens. It was taken to England after the joining of the Scottish and English monarchies. It is regarded as a sacred artefact, and it was officially returned to Scotland in the 1990s. The stone now sits in Edinburgh Castle and is only taken to Westminster for coronations.
Continuing your journey through central Scotland, we recommend visiting Glamis. Glamis Castle is an extremely grand Scottish castle that is famous for many reasons. Perhaps, most well-known as the birthplace of the Queen Mother, it boasts lavish interiors and stunning gardens. Its history goes back further, however, and was visited over the years by Mary Queen of Scots, Jacobite King James, and Sir Walter Scott to name a few.
Lovers of literature may know of Glamis from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. At the castle, there is even a Shakespeare trail with oak carvings of scenes from the lauded play. We recommend you explore the grounds of this stunning castle to find the beautiful Italian garden, created by Countess Cecilia, the Queen Grandmother.
Balmoral Castle has been the Royal Family’s holiday home since it was bought for Queen Victoria in 1852. She loved the house and the area so much that she wrote about it in her memoirs, boosting its popularity with people all over the country. To this day, it is where the royal family retreat to when taking a break from their royal duties. It was such a treasured place for Queen Victoria that she erected a cairn for her late husband, Prince Albert, nearby when he died. The pyramid cairn can be visited via a lovely trail that takes in the views of the valley.
In the nearby town of Ballater, you will find royal warrants adorning the shops that supply the castle. Among these is the Royal Lochnagar Distillery. The distillery gained its royal warrant from none other than Queen Victoria herself and adopted the name Royal Lochnagar shortly after. It is the perfect place to take a break and enjoy a tasting and tour. Away from the Ordinary can arrange a private tour of this royal distillery, where you can try its unique whisky and see how it is made for yourself.
Why not take a day trip to play on one of the most highly-regarded golf courses in the world while exploring the Highlands of Scotland? The Royal Dornoch is a classic and challenging course which offers breathtaking views of the east coast of Scotland. It was given its royal title in the early 1900s by King George the 6th who was a keen golfer and great admirer of the Dornoch course. It is a bucket-list destination for golfers across the globe and is sure not to disappoint.
Back in Braemar, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, lies The Fife Arms; an art-adorned, boutique hotel that is a favourite with our clients. It is the perfect place to stay to enjoy the end of your royal week in Scotland, as the Braemar Gatherings are about to start.
The Braemar Gathering is a Highland Games like no other, showcasing Scottish athleticism in its traditional form. Witness people in Highland dress toss the caber, Highland dance, throw the hammer, compete in the tug ‘o’ war, and experience the pipe band performing for the crowds. Amongst those in attendance is none other than the Royal Family, who love the occasion so much, they go every year.
Some of the events in this article sell out far in advance. To book your own royal week in Scotland, please get in touch today.
To read about more things in Scotland that require advance booking, you can read this previous blog post on the topic.
To read about the very best castles to stay in, read here: