Balmoral may be seen as her holiday home, but the Queen has a number of different residences dotted throughout the UK, each with their own unique little features. Here are a few of the most notable that aren’t Buckingham Palace.
The Queen’s home away from home (it is only a few miles out of central London), Windsor Castle is the longest occupied castle in all of Europe. This means that is has always had a ruling monarch in charge without being superseded. It sits closer to the River Thames and was originally used a defensive hub against the possibility of Normans trying to invade. Today it serves as the Queen’s weekend home and is a major tourist attraction, with a 4,000 acre park situated to the rear. You’ll see it on the news at weekends just as much as Buckingham Palace.
The official residence for the monarch in Scotland, Holyrood sits at the bottom of the famous Royal Mile as a sort of companion piece to Edinburgh Castle. The Queens will usually visit here before heading on to Balmoral Castle, as a sort of stop off on the long journey from London. Today is mostly used a state home for important visitors from other countries. People like the Pope, Presidents and Prime Ministers visiting Scotland would be expected to stay here and hold events in the castle.
As well as being the Queen’s home in Northern Ireland, the castle is also the official home for the Secretary of State of Northern Ireland. Even though it is called a castle, it doesn’t fit the criteria needed to actually be one. It is a country manor outside of Belfast that was given the after Ireland was split in to two countries and it was quickly realised that something had to become the monarch’s official residence in the newly formed Northern Ireland. Today it is mainly used as a location for important political talks to be carried out.
Usually occupied in the winter months around Christmas, this is the main private residence of the Queen. It is a Grade II listed building by the coast that sits within a 20,000 acre estate. It has been property of the Crown for over 350 years now and is the only private residence to have a museum on grounds open the public.