Balmoral Castle Will Open to the Public

For the first time since the British royal family became its owners two centuries ago, Balmoral Castle will be open to the public.

Per Balmoral Castle’s website, “For the first time since the castle was completed in 1855, we have been granted permission to take you on a private tour with our experienced guides. They will take you on a historical journey through several of the beautiful rooms within Balmoral Castle.”

charles william harry balmoral

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Charles with his sons at Balmoral Castle in summer 1997

In 1852, Prince Albert purchased Balmoral as a gift for his wife, Queen Victoria. The original building was deemed too small, so the royals built a new castle (the one that exists today) and tore down the original.

Visitors who go on the tour, Balmoral’s official website says, “will learn about the origins of the castle and how it has been loved by generations of the royal family. Travel through time from the purchase of the Balmoral by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, through to present day, where you can see how rooms within the castle are used today by their majesties the King and Queen and other members of the royal family. You will see why Balmoral is such a special place—the much loved and celebrated Highland home of the royal family.”

On the tour, visitors will also enjoy access to the grounds, gardens, and exhibitions, and get to see King Charles’s watercolors, which show scenes at Balmoral, Highgrove, and Sandringham.

queen elizabeth receives outgoing and incoming pms at balmoral

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Queen Elizabeth appointed a new prime minister just two days before she passed away.

Balmoral was reportedly Queen Elizabeth’s favorite residence, and it was where she passed away on September 8, 2022. “I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” Princess Eugenie said of her grandmother in the 2016 documentary Our Queen At Ninety.

In his memoir, Spare, Prince Harry wrote of Balmoral: “Closing my eyes, I can see the main entrance, the paneled front windows, the wide portico and three gray-black speckled granite steps leading up to the massive front door of whisky-colored oak, often propped open by a heavy curling stone and often manned by one red-coated footman … .” He also recalls the many rooms inside, “each with a specific purpose, like sitting or reading, TV or tea, and one special room for the pages, many of whom I loved like dotty uncles.”

Tickets are £100, or £150 if you want to also get afternoon tea, and must be purchased in advance at balmoralcastle.com.

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Emily Burack (she/her) is the Senior News Editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma, a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram.