For royal watchers and history buffs no trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to Balmoral Castle. The 14th century estate is nestled between the villages of Ballater and Braemar and was famously the late Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite royal residence.
Here’s all the best accommodation choices to maximise your unforgettable visit to Balmoral Castle.
Stay in one of the Balmoral cottages
Yes, you read that right, you can actually stay on the grounds of Balmoral in the cottages on the estate. In 2022, Queen Elizabeth opened up the cottages around the estate to allow members of the public to holiday like royalty.
There are at least eight cottages scattered around Balmoral that are available to stay in. Whilst this is easily the best way to enjoy the castle, competition for these cottages is stiff. Similarly, the cottages are only available outside of royal visits and can cost anywhere from $1200 to $5000 for a week-long stay.
Hilton Grand Vacations Club Craigendarroch Suites
The next closest accommodation to Balmoral Castle is the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Craigendarroch Suites. With a charming 19th century exterior, the four star hotel overlooks the Dee Valley and is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Scottish wilderness.
Just 11 kilometres from Balmoral, Darroch Learg is another four star accommodation that should be considered when planning your trip. The hotel has a handsome 19th century charm both inside and out. It’s also a much more intimate option than the Hilton with only ten rooms on site.
Also on site is a conservatory dining room with 360 degree views of the Scottish woodlands, serving delectable meals to feast on.
Located in the historic Victorian village of Ballater, the Balmoral Arms is a luxurious five star inn. Decked with a modern and cosy interior, a restaurant and a day spa – this inn is truly an all-round opulent experience fit for royalty.
What can you do when visiting Balmoral Castle?
Balmoral is a castle steeped in rich Scottish and royal history. The estate dates back to 1390, it then was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1852. Since then, the grounds have been a beloved annual holiday destination for the royal family. It was also where Queen Elizabeth spent her remaining weeks before passing away in September, 2022.
As a visitor, you can’t actually tour inside Balmoral Castle. However, you can stroll the grounds and admire the exterior of the castle. There are also a number of walks you can embark on, an onsite cafe and gift shop to peruse too.
What else can you do when visiting Balmoral?
Whether you’re staying on the grounds of Balmoral or in a nearby town, the castle is just one of many great things to do while you’re in the area.
For the history buffs, there are a number of historic churches and other castles within an hour drive of Balmoral. Or, for the avid outdoorsman, there’s plenty of skiing, hikes and walks in the surrounding areas to keep yourself occupied with.
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