WHERE TO STAY
There's loads of towns and villages to choose from when planning a trip to the Scottish Highlands, but we loved the small town of Ballater. It's got everything you need within walking distance (restaurants, little shops and boutiques and a small supermarket), but it doesn't feel overly touristic or overrun.
WHAT TO DO
There are lots of things to do in and around Ballater!
Explore The Queens home away from home at Balmoral
Head to Linn O' Dee to check out the waterfalls
Whiskey tasting at Royal Lochnagar Distilleries
Pick out a tartan scarf whilst shopping in Braemar
Hunt out Highland cows in the countryside
Go and look for fairies at Fairy Lochan on the Glen Tanar estate
If you're looking for a day trip from Ballater head to Loch Ness (to go Nessie hunting!) and visit Urquhart Castle whilst you're there.
WHERE TO EAT
There are some great restaurants to choose from in Ballater! As always, book tables for larger groups at least at couple of days in advance during peak season.
Lochnagar Indian Brasserie
The Keiller Brasserie (order a steak)
For an authentic whiskey tasting experience, book onto a short tour at Royal Lochnagar Distilleries (it's on The Queen's Balmoral estate)
We rented an apartment at The Hilton Grand Vacations Resort which meant we were also able to cater some big group meals for ourselves.
There's nothing better than having drinks around the fire and a big hearty home cooked meal, before all collapsing after dinner into cosy armchairs to play cards.