Balmoral Castle, Scotland
As a magnificent Scottish residency of the Royal Family, the Balmoral castle attracts about 85 000 visitors every year because of its fairytale-like appearance and wonderful surroundings. It is located in the Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, not far from the village of Crathie.
Balmoral Castle History
The area has been known as the royal property for many centuries since King Robert II of Scotland decided to built himself a hunting lodge in late 14th century. Various other building have been constructed throughout the centuries, but the Balmoral castle as it remains today was built for Queen Victoria from 1853 to 1855 since the original estate was simply too small. Prince Albert (who purchased an additional estate 90 meters from the old one – the location of the new castle) himself contributed to the construction of the castle not only as a supervisor but also partially as a designer of several elements of the building.
Balmoral Castle Architecture
Balmoral castle is a quite large granite building, consisting of two blocks as one block was for the main rooms and the other for the service wings. Topped with turrets, the clock tower of the castle has a slight reminiscence of a Castle Fraser. Although the architecture of the castle was considered as quite outdated for its time, it still had a significant role in raising the importance of the Highlands culture of the region.
Visiting Balmoral Castle
In her notes, Queen Victoria herself called Balmoral her “dear paradise in the highlands” as she spent lots of her time in the estate. The descendants of Queen Victoria would often complement the initial site – George V added a formal garden in the south of the estate and Prince Phillip added a water garden and herbaceous borders in the fifties. Balmoral has remained its status as a royal residency ever since and it is mostly visited by the Queen and her family members during the summer months. Unlike most of the royal estates, Balmoral is not owned by the Crown. It is a private property, inherited from one generation to the next one.
It has always been a great honor to be invited to Balmoral castle. Even the Russian emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra visited the site in 1896. Nowadays, it has been speculated that an invitation to Balmoral can indicate person’s future relationships with the royal family as several women have visited the estate shortly before becoming the wives of the princes and dukes – Lady Diana Spencer and Kate Middleton were among them.
The surroundings of Balmoral castle – mainly the wonderful gardens and forests - have been open to the visitors since 1931. The only place in the building that can be viewed by the public is the ballroom.Several activities are ordered in the area, including guided walks, land rover safaris, salmon fishing and others. Events like Run Balmoral and Bike Balmoral take place every year, thus visiting the site can give you both educational insight into the history royal lifestyle and the pleasure of outdoor activities in the magnificent surroundings of Balmoral.