Balmoral Castle – A Favourite Summer Retreat of the Queen

Balmoral Castle is a Scottish Castle on the Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire:

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Balmoral Castle - BK 59/cc-by-2.0

One of the Queen’s favourite summertime retreats is Balmoral Castle. Set amongst the magnificent scenery of Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire, Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the British Royal Family for over 150 years.

Balmoral Estate

Balmoral Estate is one of the properties that is owned and funded by the Royal Family. It was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848 but due to protracted negotiations the purchase did not complete till June 1852.  As the existing building was not large enough for the Royal Family, Prince Albert had a new Castle built, construction of which completed in 1856. The Estate is set on the banks of the River Dee and covers over 50,000 acres of heather-clad hills, forests and pastures.

Visiting Balmoral

After purchasing your ticket from the Gate Shop, you can walk up the tree-lined main drive to the “Ballroom Exhibition” or hop on the tractor trailer. An audio handset guides you around the exhibitions at the Castle, the grounds and gardens and provides interesting stories of Balmoral and the workings of the Estate.

The Ballroom

The Ballroom is the only room in Balmoral Castle that is open to the public. It is the largest room in the Castle and houses a collection of fine art, silver figurines, porcelain and other artefacts belonging to kings and queens throughout history.

The Ballroom is used by the Royal Family during the Queen’s stay at Balmoral. Two major dances, known as the Ghillies Ball, are held here when the Queen is in residence – a tradition that has taken place every year since Queen Victoria’s time. There is a short film that tells about the Royal Family at Balmoral.

After the Exhibition, wander through the kitchen garden, visit the conservatory and enjoy views of the Estate.  Another attraction on Balmoral Estate is the Garden Cottage where Queen Victoria used to sometimes have her breakfast and deal State correspondence.

Opening Times:

The grounds, gardens and exhibitions of Balmoral Estate are open to the public from April 1 to July 30 (Opening times are from 10am to 5pm). You are not likely to see the Queen during this time as she usually takes residence here in August and September. However if you rent one of the lovely cottages on the Estate you could get lucky and spot her out and about.

How to Get to Balmoral:

From Aberdeen –

By rail or Air – Aberdeen railway station and airport are approximately 50 miles east of Balmoral and are the closest.

By Bus – Stagecoach Bus operates a service between Aberdeen and Braemar. For timetable and fares see their website

By Car – Travel straight out the A93 towards Braemar and approximately nine miles west of Ballater you will come to Crathie.  The Crathie Church is on your right hand side and on your left is the regional car park and the tourist information centre.

From Edinburgh or Glasgow –

By Car – Take a route to Perth. Then take the A93 over the Spittal of Glenshee to Braemar. Approximately ten miles east of Braemar you will come to Crathie. You will see the regional car park and tourist information on the right hand side.

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Estates
Ballater, Aberdeenshire AB35 5TB

Map of Balmoral:

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