Balmoral Castle © Stuart Yeates
No trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to one of its magnificent castles, and Balmoral Castle - set on the banks of the River Dee - is one of the best known and most prestigious. The castle, with its fairy-tale turrets, is set on 50,000 acres (20,234 ha) of spectacular grounds, and the Royal Family has preserved the surrounding wildlife, buildings and scenery since it was bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1852. A visit to Balmoral includes access to the gardens, some exhibitions, the ballroom (the largest room in the castle) and the grounds, but the Queen's Rooms are out of bounds. Many beautiful works of art and royal treasures are on display despite the limited access. The Balmoral Castle and its estate are set within the Cairngorms National Park and offer breath-taking vistas of the Highlands. An audio guide in English, German, French and Italian is included in the entrance fee. It is recommended that visitors allow at least one and a half hours for a visit to Balmoral, and are advised that entry will not be allowed after 4.30pm.
Address: Ballater, Aberdeenshire