Tea befitting royalty: Balmoral castle opens for private tours to the public

The Scottish royal vacation home that was a favorite of the late queen and restricted to the public, now opens up for private tours, with the option to enjoy a cup of expensive tea like a member of the royal family; Tickets sold out quickly

Inbal Hananel|
Starting Monday, Balmoral Castle – the Scottish holiday home of the British royal family since the 19th century and Queen Elizabeth’s most cherished retreat (where, coincidentally, she drew her last breath) – will welcome the general public for the first time. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to explore certain areas of the castle that have traditionally been reserved exclusively for the royal family and their private guests.
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טירת בלמורל
טירת בלמורל
Balmoral Castle
(Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tickets, priced at £100 (or £150 for those wishing to indulge in a very costly cup of tea), sold out within 24 hours when they went on sale last April. Those fortunate enough to have secured tickets, will be granted a rare glimpse into rooms used by the king and queen, two dining rooms, the guest room, the lobby, and more.
A guide will lead groups of up to 40 visitors at a time, taking them on a tour that includes a passage by a life-sized statue of Prince Albert, rumored to be able to turn. Insiders claim the staff rotated the statue so that the heartbroken Queen Victoria could view it even when she was on the upper floor of the castle.
“Since its completion in 1855, public access to the interior of Balmoral Castle has been restricted,” said the castle’s official spokesperson. “For the first time in history, we are thrilled to announce the opening of private tours in the castle. This experience will include learning about Balmoral’s history and heritage from our most experienced guides, and you will see for yourselves why Balmoral Castle is so special and beloved by the royal family.” According to reports, some of the king’s personal artworks will also be displayed.
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המלך צ'רלס הכתרה
המלך צ'רלס הכתרה
Charles and Camilla
(Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Tours will run from today until August 4 – prior to the arrival of King Charles and Queen Camilla for their annual summer vacation.
Balmoral Castle was built by Sir William Drummond in 1390 and was sold in 1662 to the Farquharson clan of Inverey. In 1848, Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert made their first visit to the estate, and the queen fell in love with it. “The house is small but beautiful,” she wrote in her diary. “It seems that everything here breathes, everything is free and full of peace, and it seems designed to make one forget the sad side of the world.”
Five years later, in 1852, the estate and castle were purchased by Prince Albert for £32,000 (equivalent to £3.7 million in 2021), and Queen Victoria hired architect William Smith of Aberdeen to redesign the place. Today, the castle spans an area of about 50,000 acres.
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טירת בלמורל
טירת בלמורל
During their younger years at the castle
(Photo: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Balmoral Castle was Queen Elizabeth’s favorite place, where she spent her final days before her death. When she passed away in 2022, her coffin was laid in the hall for three days. Elizabeth was the first member of the royal family to die at the castle.
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