This afternoon, I have decided to focus on Balmoral Castle which is located in the Highlands of Scotland, close to the banks of the River Dee and near to the village of Braemar.

In course of my private, guided tours of Scotland, I visit Balmoral a few times each year. On balance this is a worthwhile experience.

The castle is owned in a private capacity by the British Royal family. The grounds and one room of the Castle (the Ballroom) are open to the public during the summer months. Obviously, most visitors are motivated by the Royal connection but behind that a visit to the Castle is a pleasant enough experience (provided the weather is clement) with grounds and gardens to explore and admire. There is a magnificent avenue of trees, under half a mile in length, after the main entrance gates. Many of these trees were probably planted at the time of Prince Albert in the 19th century. Species include Noble Silver Fir and Grand Silver Fir.

Queen Victoria was inspired to purchase the property in 1848 and wrote to her uncle Leopold “… the scenery all around is the finest almost I have seen anywhere…we are certainly in the finest part of the Highlands and quite in the heart of them, and the soil and climate are the driest I almost saw anywhere. You can walk for ever…and then the wilderness, the solitariness of everything is so delightful, so refreshing, the people are so good and so simple…” The property has been in Royal ownership ever since.

Video no 1 below shows the sunken rose garden which, like the other gardens, is designed to be in flower when the Royal Family are in residence. There is a path which leads down to the River Dee and a beautiful riverside walk.

At the Castle there are also rest rooms, refreshment facilities and a shop. A visit will typically last about two hours.

Video no 2 below shows being led across the front of the castle.

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