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 CastleBecause 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.