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King Charles Breaks Tradition by Opening Balmoral Castle to the Public

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King Charles Breaks Tradition by Opening Balmoral Castle to the Public

The legendary Scotland estate is set to undergo a significant transformation.

Balmoral Castle is poised to be viewed in an entirely new light.

For the first time, King Charles III is allowing public access to the renowned Scotland estate, offering tours inside the expansive residence that has traditionally been a favorite holiday location for the royal family.

Visitors will have the chance to view numerous rooms within the castle—including those currently used by Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla—accompanied by “seasoned” professional guides, as stated on Balmoral Castle’s official website.

This groundbreaking move to open Balmoral to visitors marks the first instance of interior tours since the castle’s construction in 1855.

Promoted as a “historic excursion,” this initiative allows guests to “discover the beginnings” of the castle, starting from when it was acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The inside tour aims to “navigate through history,” revealing to the public how Balmoral “has been cherished by multiple generations of the Royal family.”

Additionally, visitors can reserve an afternoon tea session, enhancing their experience by dining in the castle’s newly updated restaurant. Here, they can “enjoy a variety of exquisite sandwiches, scones, and cakes,” along with options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

However, these unique experiences come with a cost. The interior tour, which is already fully booked, costs just over $125 per person, with an afternoon tea session available for about $190.

King Charles Opens Balmoral Castle for Exclusive Tours

This summer, King Charles III is unveiling Balmoral Castle, allowing unprecedented personal tours of the British royal family’s cherished private Scottish residence.

The tours, occurring daily from July 4 to August 11, saw all tickets—priced at £100 ($126)—sell out within a day due to overwhelming demand.

Located along the Dee river in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, Balmoral has been the Scottish home for the royal family since 1852, bought by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria.

The initial residence was too small for the royal family, prompting the construction of a larger castle nearby. Since then, the 50,000-acre estate has offered solace and privacy to the Windsors, especially during challenging times.

For the first time since its completion in 1856, parts of the castle previously closed to the public will now be accessible.

This openness is part of King Charles’s broader strategy to make royal residences more approachable. This summer, the East Wing of Buckingham Palace and other royal properties will also welcome the public.

One notable highlight of the Balmoral tour will be the castle’s ballroom, where the late Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest before her journey to Edinburgh in September 2022.

An exhibit in the ballroom will feature a collection of watercolor paintings by the King himself, capturing scenes from Balmoral and other royal estates, along with attire worn by Charles, his late mother, his grandmother, and Queen Camilla.

During the hour-long tour, limited to 10 people, participants will embark on a “historic journey” from the estate’s acquisition in the 1850s to the present, as described on the estate’s website.

Guests can also enjoy traditional afternoon tea at the onsite restaurant for an additional £50—around $63.

The estate remains a retreat for the royals, offering private moments away from public scrutiny. It is where Princes William and Harry learned of their mother Diana’s death, and where Queen Elizabeth II spent her final days.

Princess Eugenie expressed in 2016, “It’s a lovely base for granny and grandpa, where we can visit them.”

Despite Balmoral’s privacy, previous public tours were restricted to the estate’s grounds and gardens, with limited access to the castle itself.

Interestingly, the estate houses five cottages that can be rented, providing rare encounters with royalty, as recounted by former CNN employee Jill O’Brien in 2013 after meeting Queen Elizabeth II during a walk.

Charles and Camilla usually visit Balmoral in August for a late-summer holiday, a much-needed break particularly this year following the King’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

At the conclusion of the tour, visitors have the opportunity to purchase homemade preserves, Balmoral whisky, or perhaps some durable tweed from the Mews Gift Shop.

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