Aberdeen and the Northeast Sights

Balmoral Castle

  • A93 Map It
  • Ballater
  • Castle/Palace/Chateau

Published 05/04/2017

Fodor's Review

The enormous parking lot is indicative of the public's appreciation of Balmoral Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II's favorite family retreats. Only the formal gardens, the ballroom, and the carriage hall are on view, with their exhibitions of royal artifacts, commemorative china, and native wildlife. Thanks to Victoria and Albert, who built the house to Prince Albert's design, stags' heads abound, the bagpipes wailed incessantly, and the garish Stewart tartan was used for everything from carpets to chair covers. A more somber Duff tartan, black and green to blend with the environment, was later adopted.

Queen Elizabeth II follows her predecessors' routine in spending a holiday of about six weeks in Deeside, usually from mid-August to the end of September. During this time Balmoral is closed to visitors, including the grounds. You can take a guided tour in November and December; if the weather is crisp and bright, the estate is at its most dramatic and romantic. You're only allowed

a peek inside, but the Royal Cottage is where Queen Victoria spent much of her time. You can see the table where she took breakfast and wrote her correspondence.

Around and about Balmoral, which is 7 miles west of Ballater, are some notable spots—Cairn O'Mount, Cambus O'May, and the Cairngorms from the Linn of Dee—that are home to golden eagles, Harris hawks, red squirrels, red deer, black and red grouse, and snow bunting, some of which may be seen on the quintessentially queen-like Landrover Safari Tour. Tempted by the setting? Balmoral Castle has a number of cottages (some very large) for rent by the week at certain times. They are atmospheric but can be basic (which believe it or not, is how the royal family like their holidays to be).

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Sight Information


A93, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5TB, Scotland

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Sight Details:

  • £11

Published 05/04/2017


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