When the Queen decides to visit Balmoral Castle, only a select number of people ever know. It is usually at the start of summer and she stays on the estate for only a few days. In The majority of cases, she won’t even stay in the main building but in Craigowan Lodge; a small (well small for the Queen) seven bedroom house a mile away from the main building. Visit on a summer weekend and you’ll usually find tourists having a snoop around to see if she’s about.
But what about the main building? With so many rooms to spend time in, it is crazy to think that people don’t get a chance to see them. The house really is a treasure trove of lovely features and fittings that the average visitor will never get to see.
Described as the ‘highlight’ of the castle, the ballroom is the only room ever open to the public. Visit and you’ll be able to see famous works of art, silver statues in the corners and even a fully restored Victorian cot. Some of the portraits on show date back to the 17th century and if you’re a dog lover you’ll be able to see paintings of greyhounds and pugs. Most of these portraits are of animals the royal family used to own, so there’s a good chance you’ll get to see a corgi portrait too.
The Queen spends most of her time at Balmoral just in one room that looks quite similar, if not much larger in scale, to what a typical granny’s living room would be like. There are old photos dotted around the room, tea is served on old china cups and plates, there is a pile of newspapers to delve in to and old arm chairs that anyone could sink in to. You can see a photo of her meeting David Cameron in this room on The Telegraph website here.
The bathrooms are all decorated in a very reserved, by chic manner. They have marble tiled floors, large tubs, traditional cast iron radiators to hang towels over, and large basin sinks. Some people believe that a ghost called John Brown haunts the castle and can be seen walking around the corridors at night, which makes him the only soul (living or dead) to have access to any room whenever he likes.
Another great feature of this beautiful castle, is its fantastic location in the Highlands. Only 2 and a half hours drive from both the capital city Edinburgh, and the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow, a day trip is a great way to see not only the castle and its grounds, but also the stunning Scottish Highlands as you drive north. Even if you are staying in a hotel in the centre of Glasgow, you can be in the heart of the Highlands in under 2 hours! There are some definite perks to Scotland being a small country!