I've noticed how un-fantastic my blog is and I think it's a lack of pictures. My pictures all tend to fall onto our facebook page and by the time I've uploaded the fifty or so pics onto it, I'm bored stiff and want to run away from the computer. Hence, not many pics here on the blog. I'm actually going to do my next place review today instead of Sunday because this weekend and next week are going to be a little hectic. We have the egg hunt tomorrow down at the school (hopefully outside if the weather is as beautiful as it was today). Sunday is Easter and there are events at church and at home etc. Monday is AWF book swap night at my house and Tuesday at five am we're leaving to tour the West coast, mostly to see Eilean Donan Castle--the castle I am most excited about in Scotland to see. Then we're heading to Loch Ness to see Castle Urquhart, which is what Adam really wants to see. We're spending the night in Inverness and visiting Inverness Castle, Ballindalloch Castle, Balvenie Castle, and Auchindoun Castle with a little luck the next day on the way home. Plus, I have to finish my first ever illustration set for a children's book. I am very excited to be doing a version of The Gingerbread Man for an online company. Hooray!'s my place review:


Photo by Rachel Nigh

What To Look For At The Site And Who It's Suited For:
Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside is a very special castle. It is the Scottish home of the royal family since 1848 (we were there once just after the prince had left a week before). Therefore, although it is quite a sight and the grounds are spectacular, you can only pay to go into the ballroom. The rest of the house is not available to see. Queen Victoria called it, "my dear paradise in the highlands" and we can see why. I won't go into all the particulars of things you can do and see at this site as there are numerous reasons to visit, but I will mention a few that differentiate it from other castles. There is a wildness and feeling of space here. The castle is right next to the River Dee and you can wander down pathways through the woods and by the stream on some very enjoyable walks. The castle, besides a guided tour, also offers headsets where you can listen to the history as you stroll the grounds. This is a lovely place with kids. The grounds are vast and beautiful, there are some lovely flower gardens, and, if you park at the bottom of the hill, you can take a covered trolley truck up to the castle. It is a little more expensive than even the privately owned castles but well worth at least one trip during your stay here. I cannot explain the feeling of serenity and beauty this place lends itself to.

Gift Shop/Tea Room/Restaurant/Toilet Availability:
It would be funny if this place hadn't any of the above mentioned facilities but they, of course, have them all. There is a restaurant/gift shop with toilets that has some lovely china in the Queen's pattern as well as a snooker table.

Sites Affiliations And Costs:
This site is not linked to any preservation society as it is not only a privately owned castle but a royal site as well.
Adults £8.50, Students/Seniors £7.50, Children (5-16) £4.50, Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) £22.50
Admission charges include the audio handset tour, which is available in English, French, German, and Italian.

Opening Times:
April 1st - July31st from 10am-5pm with a last admission at 4pm

Location/Time It Takes To Get There:
Balmoral Castle can be found by taking the A93 and B976 eastwards (direct instructions on Google Maps). It takes an hour and a half to get there. You can usually drive through the gates all the way up and park next to the castle. If that is not allowed, you can park at the little shop below and either take a tour van up or walk through the woods.

For More Information (website)

Guided and marked walks, Safari Tours, Pony Trekking, Running holidays, and Salmon fishing are just some of the events that go on at this castle. For more information please visit the website listed above.

Places To Visit Nearby:
Balmoral Castle is far enough away from Aberdeen to cause us to look for whatever else is in the area that we can visit. Fortunately, Braemar Castle is a scant 22 minutes further down the A93. Braemar has many events throughout its open season and boasts the largest and best of the Highland games. The Queen herself visits this spectacular show.

If you are a parent wishing to inflict as little car-time pain on your children as possible, I would suggest going to Braemar first and wending your way back to Balmoral so that you are always heading towards home as you tour.

For more info on Braemar Castle please consider the website below:


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