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King Charles' home prepares for visitors as exciting change announced

The King is opening the grounds, gardens, and exhibitions of his Scottish home

King Charles III wearing a kilt and getting out of the car at Crathie Church, Balmoral on September 3, 2023
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
2 March 2024
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As the UK's most senior royal, King Charles is the proprietor of a number of majestic homes steeped in history. One of which is Balmoral Castle in Scotland which as of 23 March will be open to the public, as per an exciting announcement.

Every year the doors to the Aberdeenshire-based castle are opened for the public to enjoy. The official Balmoral Castle X (formerly known as Twitter) account announced on 1 March: "This year the grounds, gardens, exhibitions, Mews Gift Shop and Cafe will be open to the Public daily 10:00 until 17:00 from Saturday 23rd March until Sunday 11th August."

A black-and-white photograph the Queen and Prince Philip with a corgi and a young Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and King Charles© Getty
Balmoral was the Queen's happy place

The historic grounds were open last year from 1 April through to July meaning those planning a visit this year will have many more days to choose from.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh with their sons Prince Edward and Prince Andrew (in red) at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, on their Silver Wedding anniversary year, September 1972.  (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)© Getty
The royals would spend their summer at the Scottish residence

King Charles acquired ownership of the castle in 2022 upon the death of his mother the late Queen Elizabeth who had inherited the estate from her father. The estate is now managed day-to-day by trustees under Deeds of Nomination and Appointment.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles pictured at Balmoral in 1981© Getty
Princess Diana and Prince Charles were pictured at Balmoral in 1981

The castle was first purchased in 1852 by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria after having first leased it in 1848. The royal couple had never been inside the property before they moved in but it became one of their most treasured residences, as it was for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. 

Balmoral castle © Alamy
Balmoral is surrounded by leafy parkland

After having bought the land, Prince Albert decided to build a new castle as he deemed the original structure too small for the royal family. The new commission was completed in 1856 and the old building was then demolished. 

Balmoral castle© Alamy
Balmoral is open to the public

Queen Elizabeth had visited Balmoral since childhood and it has been widely reported that she felt most at home in nature there, something made easy in its 500,000 acres of leafy land.

26th September 1976: Queen Elizabeth II with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Balmoral © Hulton Archive
Queen Elizabeth II with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Balmoral in 1976

Balmoral was also where the late Duke of Edinburgh proposed to his bride and where they spent their honeymoon in 1947. Once Elizabeth became queen in 1952, the royal family travelled to Balmoral and stayed there from July to October every year.

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence on their wedding day, 1992© Raw/Nre/Shutterstock
Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence wed at Balmoral in 1992

The Scottish haven became the site of the annual Ghillies Ball that allowed a chance for those working at the castle to let their hair down. The tradition dates back to the Victorian era where the monarch decided to throw a party to thank the staff for their hard work over the summer named after the Gaelic word for groundskeepers.

Prince Charles and Princess Anne being pushed on a swing by their father, the Duke of Edinburgh, with their mother Queen Elizabeth II looking on, in the grounds of Balmoral. © PA Images
Prince Charles enjoyed summers at Balmoral as a child

In 1991, a documentary crew was allowed into the ball and the late Queen was caught on film dancing the night away with the then Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Princess Diana, and the Queen Mother.

Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles and Princess Anne in the grounds of Balmoral Castle© Getty
Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles and Princess Anne in the grounds of Balmoral Castle

The monarch was seen wearing a traditional tartan sash and the beautiful Girls of Great Britain & Ireland tiara. 

Balmoral is the monarch's private property © Getty
Balmoral is the monarch's private property

A touching photo was shared of the late Queen and her husband before his passing in 2021 where they were seen embracing in the pastures of the Coyles of Muick. It was fitting then that the Queen spent her final days there.

One of the final images of the late Queen with Liz Truss© Getty
The Queen met the last prime minister of her lifetime Liz Truss at Balmoral

She signed off her final prime minister from her Scottish abode following Boris Johnson's resignation and it was where she passed on 8 September 2022. In the same year, it was reported that King Charles was considering turning the estate into a museum in his late mother's memory.

Inchnabobart lodge surrounded by trees and mountains© Alamy
Inchnabobart is a secluded lodge on the grounds

Now, the Balmoral grounds are only open to the public on certain months through the winter, allowing members of the public to enjoy a relaxed walk in the grounds, view the exterior of the castle, and visit the Mews gift shop and cafe.

DISCOVER: Princess Anne misses Scotland's rugby match to step in for King Charles on important trip 

Once the site opens up for spring/summer, visitors can pay for a Landrover tour of the parkland surrounding the castle. The land is also home to several cottages which can be rented by the public for week-long stays.


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