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How to visit Balmoral Castle: Transport and tickets to royal Scottish home

Simon Calder’s Travel

Balmoral Castle in Ballater, Scotland, has long played host to the royal family’s annual summer break – visits that over the years have been filled with informal barbecues, picnic lunches and active pursuits on the 50,000-acre estate.

Where Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle have mastered accommodating trails of tourists within their walls, Balmoral has retained an air of privacy since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased the property for £32,000 in 1852.

Now, as part of plans for improved accessibility to the royal residences the Aberdeenshire castle, the late Queen’s favourite residence, will be open to the public for the first time since the castle was completed in 1855.

With the month-long summer trial comes a spotlight on Aberdeen and the Scottish sanctuary beloved by the royals. Here’s how to make travel plans to visit the regal retreat for yourself while the drawbridge is down.

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How to get tickets

This summer, Balmoral Castle will be open to the public daily from 10am to 5pm on 4 May, with tickets available to book online.

Tickets are booking up fast, but general admission (£17.50 per adult and £9 per child aged over five) are still available.

Internal guided tours will take place between 1 July and 4 August, and the 40 tickets a day available at a price of £100 for the exclusive 10-person tour groups quickly sold out.

Also fully booked is the Balmoral Expedition Tour, for groups of up to six people and priced at £350 for a two-hour Land Rover tour of the famed Scottish estate and old Caledonian Pine Forest.

What you can see at the castle 

The Balmoral Castle estate spans around 50,000 acres

(Getty Images)

The grounds, gardens, exhibitions and ballroom are all included in general admission audio tours. Guests will also be able to visit the Mews Gift Shop for bespoke Balmoral merchandise including tweed and whisky.

On tours of the castle interior, experienced guides will take visitors around several royal rooms “used today by their Majesty’s The King and Queen.” The public will now be able to access rooms including the King’s watercolour collection and outfits worn by King Charles, Queen Camilla and the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The green drawing room, family dining room, library and pages’ lobby are also highlights of the new ‘behind the scenes’ tour.

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