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Balmoral Castle

Eight miles west of Ballater is the area's main attraction, Balmoral Castle. You can visit the gardens and some of the castle between April and July during the year...

The 16th-century tower house, formerly owned by the local Gordon family, was bought for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852 and converted into today's baronial mansion. It has been the royal family's summer retreat ever since. Only the ballroom and the grounds are open to the likes of you and me, and only for three months of the year.

Pony trekking and pony cart rides are available around the estate grounds and are favourite ways of enjoying the wonderful scenery. Opposite the castle gates is Crathie Church, which is used by the family when they're in residence. There's a small souvenir shop next to the main gates and a visitor centre which gives a lot of information on the castle and its owners. Also at Crathie is the Inver, an 18th-century inn which serves good, honest food (best to book, Tel. 01339-742345). Mid-Apr to end Jul, daily 1000-1700 (closed on Sun in Apr-May). Tel. 742334. Buses to Braemar from Aberdeen stop by the gates.

Opening Times

In 2012 the grounds, gardens and exhibitions will be open on a daily basis from Sunday 1st April until Tuesday 31st July.

Opening times are from 10.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m., however please note that the last recommended admission is at 4.00 p.m. approximately.

We recommend that you set aside at least one and a half hours for your visit to Balmoral. This will give you time to visit the grounds, gardens, exhibitions, gift shop and the coffee shop.

Admission charges during 2012 will be as follows:-

Adults - £9.00
Seniors / Students - £8.00
Children (5 to 16 years) - £5.00
Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) - £25.00

Admission charges include access to the formal and vegetable gardens, the wildlife, Balmoral and audio visual exhibitions together with the largest room in the Castle, the Ballroom. The admission charges includes the audio handset tour, which is available in English, French, German and Italian. The audio tour is only available for admissions before 4.00 p.m.

Please note that all other rooms within the Castle are not available to the public as these are Her Majesty The Queen's private rooms.

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Travel Directions to Balmoral Castle

Travel Directions

Balmoral is situated in a secluded location on the south bank of the River Dee, mid way between Ballater and Braemar. Crathie Church is situated nearby and parking is available in the Regional Car Parks by the Tourist Information Centre.

The nearest railway station and airport are located in Aberdeen, which is approximately 50 miles east of Balmoral.

A bus service operates between Aberdeen and Braemar. For further details please visit

Directions from Aberdeen:

Travel straight out the A93 towards Braemar and approximately nine miles west of Ballater you will come to Crathie.

On your right hand side is Crathie Church and on your left hand side is the regional car park and the tourist information centre.

Directions from Edinburgh or Glasgow:

Take a route to Perth. Then take the A93 over the Spittal of Glenshee to Braemar.

Approximately ten miles east of Braemar you will come to Crathie. You will see the regional car park and tourist information on the right hand side.

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