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“Ok But not Great”
Review of Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle
Ranked #3 of 20 things to do in Ballater
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Balmoral is the Scottish home of the British Royal Family. The Castle Ballroom, gardens and exhibitions are open from the 29th March until the 31st July. Visitors are able to view the Castle Ballroom, the largest room in the Castle, used for a number of formal occasions when Her Majesty is in residence. This is a rare opportunity to see many original pieces of fine art and treasures which normally reside within the private rooms of the Castle. An audio tour is included in the admission price and guides visitors around the formal and production gardens as well as a number of other exhibitions located within the stable block. In 2013 visitors area able to enjoy an exhibition of photographs of the Royal Family by Cecil Beaton. The exhibition is organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum London and contains over forty fascinating images. Other displays include a native wildlife exhibition, a look at the Royal Yacht Britannia, a year in the life of Balmoral and our Balmoral audio visual presentation. We have a spacious self service cafe and gift shop selling a wide range of Balmoral souvenirs. Walks and trails are waymarked on the estate so visitors can enjoy a leisurely riverside walk or more strenuous exploration of the many commemorative cairns located within the grounds.Please note that Balmoral closes to visitors on the 31st July. The room open to visitors in the Castle is the Ballroom. Other rooms in the Castle form part of Her Majesty's private residence and as such are not open to the public.
Reviewed 13 June 2014

Free car park is adjacent to the main road with a short walk across a bridge to the ticket office. Charge is £11 for adults. This includes a free shuttle ride to the castle, a hand held audio tour guide (additional £5 returnable deposit), access to the ballroom and grounds/gardens. You can also elect to do a number of marked walks in the hills within the grounds.
First impressions of the castle - it is really a lodge - are excellent. It is in a lovely setting surrounded by beautiful scenery.
The biggest disappointment is that you only get access to the ballroom and no other part of the castle. The ballroom contains a number of presentation cases plus a video running on a loop of an interview with the Queen - can't recall how old the video is but it is anything but current.
There is a walled garden which is worth a look as it is well set out and contains nice flowers, etc. It is a 'working' garden so don't expect spectacular displays, flower beds, etc.
Adjacent to the castle there are further displays housed in what I think are the old stables. Again, these are fairly average and not of the standard you would expect in a premier attraction.
We did one of the colour coded walks in the grounds which take you above the castle. These are of varying distances but the one we did took over an hour. This was one of the highlights of our visit as it took you to some old cairns dedicated to some of the earlier Royal Family. It also gave us great views of the surrounding countryside plus lovely views looking down on the castle. The route we took was a little steep in places but fairly easy walking - but would recommend sturdy shoes or walking shoes.
Staff - very helpful, friendly and an asset to the castle.

2  Thank Wilton2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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669 - 673 of 1,028 reviews

Reviewed 8 June 2014

The area was lovely the ballroom not as big as i thought would be. the restaurant was very good we only had a coffee and soup but very good and good price.

Thank sonia l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2014

Disappointing reviews astound me. You are advised at the start if you care to read the signs, this is a working estate, what do you want, servants running around with cucumber sandwiches and cups of tea. Ignorant people should not post reviews. Stunning, more than I expected. The gardens and out buildings are what I expected from a working estate. No frills. No wonder Her Majesty loves coming here to wind down. Touring the ballroom was a highlight. Must not miss. God Save the Queen.

2  Thank Gladesville22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 June 2014

We went in May as it was on my fiancé's to do list and we weren't disappointed it's has stunning gardens and an impressive building you can tell why the royal family love being up there.

Thank Bella1230
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

I looked forward to this visit, but my anticipation of an interesting visit was rather dashed. We parked near the main road and were ferried up the drive in a trailer. First impressions of the functional buildings to the rear of the castle were unimpressive. Like other visitors we used the audio guide. This alternates between, what sounds like an actor giving the general commentary and members of staff filling in a little detail. It was a little variable.

The tour commences with various A/V presentations and displays which I found to be dated and not very informative. The walk around the grounds was a little more illuminating. If you like high Victorian architecture then this is something of a treasure trove; I don't.

The ballroom, and largest room in the castle, is the only one open to the public. Whilst it is quite a light room by the standards of the time, I found it, like so much else, to be disappointing.

Thank geoffrey_carver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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