Day out: Balmoral

12 Jun

As you drive the A93 along the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, you might stop to look across the river and see this small, unassuming view:


You’ve found Balmoral, royal vacation home and fairy tale castle.20140413_122641ed

Ride the tram up a hill, collect your audio guide, and have a wander through the grounds and the one room of the castle which is open to the public (no photos inside, however).20140413_123715ed

Or just sit on the grass, smell the daffodils, and sunbathe.IMG_2908ed

It’s not Versailles, but it’s not meant to be.IMG_2909ed

There, now you know what the Queen is seeing when she takes a walk in the Balmoral garden, or through the woods.IMG_2917ed

Oh, look, the Queen’s chicken coop!  This one looks far more functional than the two-thousand-dollar coops sold at the Prince of Wales’ garden shop at Highgrove.IMG_2921ed

The surprisingly modest conservatory blooms flowers for the castle.  IMG_2927ed

Another fairy-tale view.  Queen Victoria bought Balmoral and rebuilt and expanded it according to her own fantasy of a family getaway.  The audio guide and book both do a good job of describing the eccentricities of Queen Victoria — the story of John Brown is well covered here, of course — and we felt familiar with her particular brand of crazy after a day spent at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight a couple of years ago.  Sorry, is it rude to call Queen Victoria a bit crazy?  Because … yeah.IMG_2928ed

In case you forgot where you were … IMG_2933ed

After exploring Balmoral, you can take a walk along the Dee … IMG_2941ed

Enjoying those ‘Royal Deeside’ views that attracted a Queen.IMG_3197ed


Or take a walk down one of the exceedingly modest track roads which surround the estate — fields to either side will be filled with sheep, cows, or forest.IMG_3199ed



And along the road you might find an old water station (?) dedicated to the biggest neighbor in the neighborhood…IMG_3045ed

Or Crathie Kirk … IMG_3174ed

Or even a distillery.  Royal Lochnagar is a two minutes drive or 10 minute’s walk from Balmoral, and a wonderful place to wind up your day with an informative tour and a leisurely break with a sample dram or two.20140415_131010ed


2 Responses to “Day out: Balmoral”

  1. thebookgator June 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Love! Amazing access.

    • Monique June 18, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      😀 Open to the public April-July — though we mostly saw elderly visitors having a stroll and then tea in the tea room.

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