Balmoral Castle Guide

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Balmoral Castle - © Stuart Yeates

Balmoral Castle is located on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire Scotland and is a private residence of the Queen. The Castle was much loved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the residence remains a firm favourite of the Queen's and the Royal Family, it is the traditional holiday residence during the summer. The Castle is located in scenic surroundings in the Scottish Highlands and the surrounding estate provides visitors with inspiring views of the countryside. Visitors to the Castle are able to view some of the rooms along with the gardens and a number of exhibitions.


Balmoral Castle is located in Aberdeenshire Scotland and has long been a favourite residence for the Royal family. Located within the large Balmoral Estate, visitors to the Castle can see the Estate grounds, the Gardens and the Castle Ballroom which are open to the public from the start of April until the end of July each year.

The history of the Castle goes back to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, it was during a holiday in the Scottish Highlands region, the Queen and Prince became very fond of the local scenery and people and they decided to buy a private home in the area for holiday periods.

The original estate and the Castle were bought by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria back in 1852. There had been a Castle at the site from the 15th century but was deemed too small for Royal requirements thus a new castle was constructed on the site close by the original building. Prince Albert helped to plan the grounds and helped with the design of the new castle and it was completed in 1856.

The castle has subsequently been passed on through the descendants of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and has become well known as the traditional summer holiday home for the Queen and members of the Royal Family.

The Castle has seen a number of improvements made by successive generations of the Royal family. A recent example is the contribution of the Duke of Edinburgh who has overseen the enlargement of the flower and vegetable garden and helped to create the water garden.

The Balmoral Estate covers a large area of approx 50,000 acres, it is a working estate and plays an important local in the local community. Although the estate is privately owned by the Queen (as opposed to being owned by the sovereign), the estate is managed on her behalf.

The Ballroom Exhibition is open for the public to view and contains a range of paintings, china, silverware, porcelain, art works, porcelain, a Balmoral Tartan Collection and other interesting items from the Castle. Located in the Carriage Hall is an exhibition of Royal Heraldry, a range of commemorative china and a display of wildlife in their natural habitat. In the Stables are a display of carriages and Upper Deeside Art Society exhibition.

Guided Tours are available for visitors to learn more about the castle and its rich history alternatively visitors can follow marked walks taking them through the gardens. There are a range of activities available such as running/trekking, fishing, pony trekking and Land Rover safaris. The estate offers visitors the chance to rent holiday cottages at the estate too.

A trip to the Castle offers visitors the chance to explore a historic Royal residence and heritage site. The scenic location and tranquil environment make the Castle a pleasant place to visit and with a range of activities on offer at the estate, it is a place the whole family can enjoy a day out.

How to Get There

The Castle is accessible by car, the secluded location means there are no train stations close by & limited access via buses.

By Car:

If you are travelling from Aberdeen, take the A93 towards Braemar and approx nine miles to the west of Ballater you will reach Crathie. As you approach Crathie you will see Crathie Church on your right and the regional car park and tourist information centre on your left.

If you are travelling from Glasgow or Edinburgh, use the M90 to Perth and then take the A93 over the Spittal of Glenshee to Braemar. Approx ten miles to the east of Braemar you will reach Crathie and as you approach the regional car park and tourist information will be on your right.

For those using Satellite Navigation systems the postcode to use is AB35 5TB.

By Train:

The closest train station is located at Aberdeen some 50 miles to the east of Balmoral.

By Bus:

There is a bus service from Aberdeen and Braemar located approx 10 miles from the castle.

There are regular coaches from National Express from Victoria Coach station in central London to Northampton Bus Station.

Contact Details

The Estates Office
Balmoral Estates
AB35 5TB

Telephone: +44 (0)13397 42534

Fax: +44 (0)13397 42034


Website: Balmoral Castle

Facilities & Information

Opening Times:

For the Grounds, Gardens and Exhibitions:

From early April to end of July:

Mon to Sun: 10:00 to 17.00 (last admission at 16.00)

The recommended time for a tour of the attractions is 90 minutes.

The Castle may have times when it is closed or operates with alternative opening hours at short notice. The Castle is a working Royal residence thus it is recommended visitors check all opening and closing times and specific days visits are open when booking to get the latest information & avoid disappointment, as changes can occur.

Further Information:

Admission Prices:

Adult: £7 approx, Children: £3 approx, Concessions: £6 approx, Family Ticket: £15 approx

The admission charges include the audio handset tour, which are available in English and in French, German and Italian.


Visitor information

There is a Visitor Information that has gifts and souvenirs for visitors.

There is also a Coffee Shop that offers a range of drinks and snacks for visitors including fresh bread, baked potato with venison burger, a range of sandwiches and more. There is also ice cream and bakery foods such as cakes and pastries.

There are toilets and baby changing areas on site.


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Balmoral Castle Map

Tips & Other Considerations

There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and the attraction you wish to see. It is wise to double check before going to ensure the attraction you wish to see is open and avoid disappointment.

Remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times when travelling. Make sure your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the Castle ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. The castle is in a rural location away from major towns. Check the traffic news and weather updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking close to the Castle, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time.

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