Balmoral Is Officially Open To The Public For The First Time In 170 Years

By Olivia Emily

3 weeks ago

Fancy visiting the late Queen Elizabeth’s favourite castle? Now’s your chance


This Scottish castle held a special place in the late Queen Elizabeth II’s heart, but lay people have never been able to visit to find out why. But all of that is about to change: Balmoral Castle has officially opened its doors to the public, welcoming visitors to explore the stories rooms and halls for the first time in more than 170 years (before 2024, only the Ballroom was open to visitors). Want to visit Balmoral for yourself? Here’s everything you need to know.

Channel Your Inner Traitor In These Beautiful Scottish Castles

Balmoral Castle with ivy

(c) Stuart Yeates via Wikimedia Commons

Can I Visit Balmoral Castle?

Yes, visitors are now welcome to visit the grounds, gardens and exhibitions of Balmoral Castle from now (1 July) until Sunday 11 August. Visitors can explore the gardens, tuck into afternoon tea, enjoy the exhibitions and take an expedition tour across the grounds. The limited opening period takes place before the King and Queen retire to Balmoral for their summer break – so royal spottings are unlikely, unfortunately.

Afternoon tea and guided tours are also happening, taking in a number of rooms such as the entrance hall, red corridor, main and family dining rooms, page’s lobby, library and drawing room. However, tickets (priced at £100 or £150 with afternoon tea) are already sold out for both, with only 40 people allowed to tour Balmoral Castle’s interior each day from 1 July–4 August.

Some of the rooms of Balmoral have had a refresh since King Charles became monarch, so you could be one of the first to see the Hunting Stewart tartan in the drawing room – restoring the original style chosen by Queen Victoria. The walls are hung with paintings by Victorian artist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer selected by the King, who was also a favourite of Queen Victoria. During Victoria’s reign, Landseer was invited to Balmoral every summer to teach Victoria and Albert to paint. While the Victorian monarchs used to eat breakfast and lunch in Balmoral’s library, today the space is used as the King’s study. Other items on display include the chauffeur’s whistle and the dinner gong.

If you missed out on afternoon tea tickets, visitors can still visit the onsite cafe.

How Much Are Tickets?

General tickets include admission to Balmoral Castle’s grounds, gardens and exhibitions, and prices start at £9 for children aged 5–16 and £17.50 for adults. Children under five years of age are welcomed free of charge. Family tickets (for two adults and up to three children aged 5–16 years) are priced at £38.

When you book ahead online, an audio handset tour is provided free of charge. If you purchase your tickets upon arrival, the audio tour is an extra £5 per person.

Tickets can be booked at balmoralcastle.com

Where?

Visitors can find Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire. The address is: Balmoral, Ballater Aberdeenshire, AB35 5TB.

When?

Balmoral Castle is open to the public from 1 July–11 August 2024. The grounds, gardens and gift shop are open everyday from 9.30am–6.30pm, while the exhibitions and restaurant are open from 10am–5pm, with last orders at 4.30pm.