Aberdeen and Grampian

Aberdeen is Scotland's third largest city. Its name means 'between the Don and the Dee' rivers, which flow down from the stunning Cairngorm mountains and empty into the North Sea. Aberdeen is known as the Granite City on account of its splendid examples of granite architecture. The city has prospered immensely since the 1970s with the extraction of North Sea oil, and given a massive boost to the local economy. The surrounding countryside includes a large section of the Cairngorms National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty with both historical and ecological significance. The area proved attractive to the young Queen Victoria who built Balmoral Castle in the area now known as Royal Deeside. She described the retreat as "my dear paradise in the Highlands", and it is still used by the royal family today.