Queen Victoria’s old picnic cottage could be saved from ruin – and opened up to visitors.
Hidden in the woodlands at Mar Lodge Estate, the 19th century lodge is believed to have been a favourite spot for the monarch.
It was constructed as a serene place where she could bring guests and enjoy the picturesque scenery in comfort while staying at Balmoral Castle.
But over the centuries, the rustic cottage – which is currently on the buildings at risk register – fell into disrepair and was locked up.
Mar Lodge Estate now has plans to restore it and bring it back into use for Deeside day trippers to enjoy – just like Queen Victoria once did.
Where is the picnic lodge?
The dilapidated cottage is in woodlands near Linn of Quoich on the Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve.
Conveniently for all visitors, it is also close to the Quoich carpark with a number of scenic paths leading to the picnic spot.
Those looking for a day out in the estate are also able to stop by Linn o’ Dee and Braemar, which are nearby as well.
Why is Queen Victoria’s Picnic Lodge so special?
Beyond its historic connections to the monarch, it is praised for the rare use of larch shingles to its roof, and characterful timber detailing to the three primary dormers.
It is a rare example of a traditional summer house in the Braemar area.
More importantly, the cottage is believed to be one of Queen Victoria’s most beloved spot in Deeside.
She enjoyed “frequent” walks in the hills and picnics in the area after her first visit in 1848.
What needs to be repaired?
The category C-listed building is said to be in a “very poor” condition and would require a lot of work to be brought back to its former glory.
Some repairs to the roof were carried out in 2002.
The trust says these are still holding up well, however, there are deep cracks in the centuries-old walls that need to be looked at.
They also plan to rebuild the central entrance porch – the remains of which are said to be in “poor condition”.
All of the windows will be re-installed and equipped with timber panelled shutters to keep vandals away and secure the building at night.
You can read more about the plans here.