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Balmoral Castle in Scotland - The Queen's Private Vacation Home

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A Victorian Fantasy in the Scottish Highlands
Balmoral

Balmoral Castle, in Deeside, Aberdeenshire, near the village of Crathie. Purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1852, it remains privately owned by the Queen.

Mieneke Andeweg-van Rijn/Moments/Getty Images
It may look like a fantasy medieval castle but Balmoral Castle in Scotland was actually built for Queen Victoria and completed in 1856. Prince Albert supervised construction and contributed to the design.

Since then, it has been passed down, by family inheritance. Unlike Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle is one of the Queen's private family estates. Traditionally, she spends August, September and part of October there.

The castle is surrounded by a 50,000 acre working estate that is integrated with the local community. The estate is privately owned and funded by The Queen, and managed by an official known as a Resident Factor.

 

Conservation and public access to Balmoral Castle

Because much of the land is unsuitable for farming, most is maintained for conservation and ecological experiments. The estate includes the Ballochbuie Forest, saved from timber cutters by Queen Victoria, The Loch Muick and Lochnagar Wildlife Reserve, and land maintained for deer, grouse and salmon.

About 85,000 people visit Balmoral Castle in Scotland every year, several hundred thousand more walk the estate's open countryside, highland paths and fells. A full time ranger service has been employed for the public, at the estate's expense, for 30 years. Rangers guide public tours to parts of the estate that are of special interest during the summer.

Plan A Visit to Balmoral Castle
Stay on the Balmoral Estate
Walk the Balmoral Estate

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