If you’ve ever been lucky enough to come into the possession of a 1987 £100 Scottish banknote, then you may have noticed a towering, grey stone building printed on the back. This is Balmoral Castle, functioning as a Scottish retreat and holiday home for the royal family since 1852.
The castle was initially constructed as an estate house in the 1390s, but has since undergone huge changes, having been knocked down by Prince Albert in 1852 and rebuilt as the striking building which stands today. Queen Victoria described the 50,000-acre estate in her journals as a “paradise in the Highlands”, tucked away within the depths of Aberdeenshire and the Cairngorms National Park.
The history of the castle is extensive, hiding an array of anecdotal tales to uncover. It was here, for example, that Prince Philip secretly proposed to Queen Elizabeth II in 1946. These grounds and gardens are open for public exploration during the spring.
Even if history doesn’t excite you, the castle organises a vast array of other activities throughout the summer months. Run Balmoral is a perfect weekend for sports lovers. For the less active, Balmoral’s Luxury Safari Tours are an ideal way to explore the grounds without having to leave the comfort of the car. These three-hour excursions also encompass an additional trip up into the picturesque Lochnagar, one of Scotland’s most famous mountains. Furthermore, the castle has a choice of holiday homes available for rent; after a long day of exhibitions and activities, you can sleep close to royalty!