Located in the Cairngorm National Park, Balmoral Castle is one of the Royal family’s private homes. Queen Elizabeth and her family often spend August to October living in the grand home. Unlike the Royal Palaces that are owned by the Crown, Balmoral is one of just two personal residences that is officially owned by the Royal Family.
A visit to Balmoral Castle makes for a great day out for all the family, and it provides an intriguing insight into the real life of the Royals.
The History Of Balmoral Castle
Back in 1847, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were on a visit to Ardverikie by Loch Laggan in the West Highlands. During the trip, they experienced awful weather of rain and wind but heard from letters that Balmoral was enjoying fine weather and blue skies. The news of nicer weather took Prince Albert’s interest, and it was soon decided that Balmoral Castle would be a better Scottish Residence for The Queen.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria quickly decided to acquire the 27-year lease on the property, and in 1852 they purchased the castle outright.
This original castle was constructed in the fifteenth century, and then partly demolished and rebuilt in 1830. In 1852 when Queen Victoria bought Balmoral Castle, she made plans to build a new castle just 100 yards north-west of the original building. In 1853 Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the new Balmoral Castle, and this stone can still be seen there today.
Visiting Balmoral Castle
It is essential that you plan your visit to Balmoral Castle before you arrive, as unlike other Royal residences, you cannot visit all year round. The castle is closed to visitors from August to October while the Queen is in residence.
When Balmoral Castle is open to the public, the areas that can be seen are limited. You can visit the Ballroom, which is the largest room and the only room open to the public. The exhibitions change in the Ballroom every year and include works of art, paintings and porcelains from the castle. Visitors can also enjoy the three-acre formal garden, the garden cottage and landrover safaris to the farther corners of the estate.