Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland is the private residence of The Queen. Beloved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Balmoral Castle has remained a favourite residence for The Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September. The Castle is located on the large Balmoral Estate, a working estate which aims to protect the environment while contributing to the local economy.

The Estate grounds, gardens and the Castle Ballroom are open to visitors from the beginning of April to the end of July each year, under the management of the Balmoral Estate Office.

Set amongst the magnificent scenery of Royal Deeside, in the shadows of Lochnagar is the Balmoral Estate.

Purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848, the Estate has been the Scottish Home of the British Royal Family ever since.

The Estate covers about 20,000 hectares (just over 50,000 acres) acres of heather clad hills, ancient Caledonian woodland, policies and of course the beautiful River Dee is nearby.

Over the past 150 years careful stewardship by the owners, The Royal Family, has preserved the wildlife, scenery and architecture which is available for all generations to enjoy.

In her journals Queen Victoria described Balmoral as "my dear paradise in the Highlands" - we hope you will feel the same way about Balmoral once you have visited this most special place.

The grounds, gardens and exhibitions at Balmoral are closed to the Public during August, September and early October as the Royal Family are in residence.

However the grounds, gardens and exhibitions will be open on a daily basis from Friday 1st April until Sunday 31st July during 2011.

Balmoral Castle

2011 Admission ChargesBalmoral Castle

In 2011 the grounds, gardens and exhibitions will be open on a daily basis from Friday 1st April until Sunday 31st July. Opening times are from 10.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m., however please note that the last recommended admission is at 4.00 p.m. approximately.

We recommend that you set aside at least one and a half hours for your visit to Balmoral. This will give you time to visit the grounds, gardens, exhibitions, gift shop and the coffee shop.

Admission charges during 2011 will be as follows:-

Adults - £8.70
Seniors / Students - £7.70
Children (5 to 16 years) - £4.60
Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) - £23.00

Admission charges include access to the formal and vegetable gardens, the wildlife, Balmoral and audio visual exhibitions together with the largest room in the Castle, the Ballroom. The admission charges includes the audio handset tour, which is available in English, French, German and Italian. The audio tour is only available for admissions before 4.00 p.m.

Please note that all other rooms within the Castle are not available to the public as these are Her Majesty The Queen's private rooms.

Balmoral lies within the boundaries of The Cairngorms National Park. The Cairngorms was made a National Park in September 2003 because it is a unique and special place that needs to be cared for - both for the wildlife and countryside it contains and for the people that live in it, manage it and visit it. It is Britain's largest national Park.

The Cairngorms National Park has the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the UK at its heart, with diverse communities around it. It is home to 17,000 people and 25% of Britain's threatened birds, animals, and plants. It includes moorlands, forests, rivers, lochs and glens.

Grounds and GardensBalmoral Castle

The gardens which were started under the supervision of Prince Albert, have been expanded and improved by successive members of the Royal Family.

Between 1923 and 1925 Queen Mary devised the charming garden, with a semi circular wall of rocks surrounding a fountain. The gates to this garden bear the monograms GR and MR.

The Duke of Edinburgh has extended the gardens to incorporate a large kitchen garden. The vegetable garden is harvested between August and October during the Royal Family's summer holiday.

The formal gardens, covering some three acres, also contain a range of Victorian glasshouses and the conservatory, which displays flowering pot plants throughout the year.

A water garden has been formed to the West of the main garden in the trees between Garden Cottage and the West Drive.

On the impressive front lawn, at a point opposite the tower and about 100 yards from the path, a stone marks the position of the front door of the earlier house, demolished in 1856.

In the guide book you will also find information on the different species of trees on the Estate.

Balmoral Castle

Carriage Hall ExhibitionBalmoral Castle

In addition to the Ballroom Exhibition there are further exhibitions in the Carriage Hall Courtyard. The exhibition in the Carriage Hall describes the history and natural environment of Balmoral and looks at the work of the different Estate Departments.

You can also view a display of Christmas cards from Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, which date from 1950 to current day.

Also on display is the uniform worn by a Balmoral Highlander and the uniform of The Queen's Piper. The tartan worn by The Queen's Piper is the Balmoral tartan, which was designed by Prince Albert.

You will also find a display detailing the history of the Royal Warrant Holders Association and a collection of commemorative china together with a model of the grounds, gardens and castle.

Nearby you can view a display of wildlife native to Balmoral, which depicts the birds and animals in their natural habitat and you can also experiment with the new sound box which has recordings of some of the native wildlife.

Opposite the Carriage Hall you can enjoy a brief audio visual presentation all about the Estate. This eight and a half minute DVD show illustrates the work of those who live on the estate throughout the year.

Balmoral Castle