Balmoral Castle will open to the public for the first time – here's how you can visit

round trip through scotland
Balmoral Castle will open to the publiconeworld picture - Getty Images

Any fan of the royal family – or perhaps, anyone looking for some particularly regal design inspiration – should make a date in their diary to visit Balmoral Castle, the Scottish seat of King Charles, which is now open to the public in a historic move.

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
King Charles with his sons at Balmoral Castle in summer 1997Tim Graham - Getty Images
mandatory credit photo by shutterstock 541725b queen elizabeth ii and prince philip dr edward fenech adami, maltese president, visiting balmoral castle, scotland, britain 16 aug 2005
The late Queen and Prince Philip at Balmoral in 2005Shutterstock

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 watercolours, which show scenes at Balmoral, Highgrove, and Sandringham.

queen elizabeth receives outgoing and incoming pms at balmoral
Queen Elizabeth in the drawing room at Balmoral, shortly before her deathWPA Pool - Getty Images
balmoral, united kingdom august 19 prince charles, prince of wales and diana, princess of wales, wearing a suit designed by bill pashley, pose for a photo on the banks of the river dee in the grounds of balmoral castle during their honeymoon on august 19, 1981 in balmoral, scotland photo by anwar husseingetty images
Prince Charles and Princess Diana on honeymoon at Balmoral in August, 1981Anwar Hussein - Getty Images

Balmoral was reportedly Queen Elizabeth’s favourite residence, and it was where she passed away on 8 September, 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 panelled front windows, the wide portico and three grey-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”.

The prince's recollections are certainly vivid – and visitors to Balmoral will soon be able to see the sights for themselves. We'd advise booking swiftly: this intimate insight into royal life is sure to be a sell-out...

Tickets are £100 (or £150 with afternoon tea) and must be purchased in advance at

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