Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Balmoral Castle, Scotland

Balmoral Castle is in Aberdeenshire – and is usually known as The Queen’s private residence in Scotland  – while the rest of the family enjoy the estate with their grandparents. 
Balmoral Castle in 1854 painted
by Queen Victoria during its

Queen Victoria had, in 1848, found the house “small but pretty”, and recorded in her diary that: All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils”.

Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort, bought it in 1852 and in the following years had it rebuilt in white granite as a castellated mansion in Scottish baronial style. 

The grounds were laid out by Prince Albert in the 1850s and planted out as parterre gardens with rare conifers, while plantations were established around the house. 

South front of Balmoral Castle
The couple took a great interest in their staff setting up a lending library; while they also encouraged new ideas ... developed a model dairy, which was completed by the Queen after her husband’s death in 1861.

Near the Castle the Queen created her cottage garden around a private house, known as the Garden Cottage, while later in the 1920s Queen Mary, George V’s wife, altered it to include a sunken garden. 

Edward VII relaxing at Balmoral
photographed by his wife, Alexandra
In our present Queen’s reign (1952 - ....) the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband, has improved the gardens – redesigning the herbaceous borders, planting up a shrubbery around the river and adding a water garden near Victoria’s Garden Cottage.

North-West corner of Balmoral Castle

Today it is a working estate – deer stalking, grouse shoots, forestry and farming are the main land uses, while there are tours to be booked, and cottages to rent.  

The Castle, gardens and exhibitions (especially in this Diamond Jubilee Year) are open to the public from April to July.

Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901) in her journals described Balmoral as “my dear paradise in the Highlands” ...

That is B for Balmoral Castle ... a Scottish baronial castellated mansion built for Queen Victoria in the 1850s; now managed by the Balmoral Estates  ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles

By the way I meant to add yesterday - that Bob Scotney is also doing Castles - his A was for Amberley - should you wish to visit ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Denise Covey said...

Hello Hilary. Hey I'm first. Doesn't happen very often. Are you going to visit Balmoral while it's open?



I have been to a few castles but not Balmorl. You have made this castle make you want to get up and go now,
Wonderful post. Look forward to the next post.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise .. well done - not sure what time you were up or sleepwalking to be first!! I doubt it - though I will go one day .. in fact these posts have opened my eyes to the renovations reinventions that Castles have gone through in recent decades - and now I know more .. viewing will make more sense. Balmoral is miles from here - and for now I'll stay in this part of the world with my mother.

Cheers Hilary

MorningAJ said...

Small? Small! I should own such a "small" place in the country!

Where are we going next? I'm enjoying this castle tour.

Old Kitty said...

Love how Queen Vic and Prince Albert made this castle a proper home to live in for everyone including those who worked there!

Take care

Blond Duck said...

I've always wanted to go to Scotland.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yvonne .. I haven't been to Balmoral and one day I'm sure I will - I've never been that far north in Britain and think I should correct that! It sounds a fascinating castle to visit ..

@ Anne - I know small! Next is down south ... I think!

@ Old Kitty - yes I liked their touches - I wonder what would have happened had he lived to a good old age - I think they would have done wonders - Lucky estate workers, I reckon ...

@ Blond Duck - ah ah - start saving and come and visit?!

Cheers to you all .. Hilary

Bob Scotney said...

Hilary, it looks to me that we are going to be writing about castles we have yet to visit ourselves.
I haven't been to Balmoral either.

Thanks for the link, I'll return the favour.

Unknown said...

I just watched The King's Speech...again. And I think in that movie they visited Balmoral and the future queen lamented because Wallis was cutting down trees. I could be wrong...

Tonja said...

Castles are awesome.

Jo said...

Now that's a much more interesting castle. Never knew Queen Victoria painted. Interesting post. I will look forward to the rest of your castles with great anticipation.


Grammy said...

Never had the pleasure of going to Britain, but certainly have had many years of pleasure reading about it both in fact and fiction.
Thank you so much.

Lynn said...

I'd love to see that castle in person. It's lovely.

So you found a castle for every single letter of the alphabet?

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Castles are beautiful. And I'd like my lawn to have what there's is having. :)


Miranda Hardy said...

So beautiful and I'd love to visit it one day. Lol

Great theme.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary,
How telling that Victoria thought it small. Most of us live our lives in much smaller places. I will have to stop by more often. I love castles. Are you going to describe rooms and what they are called?

Unknown said...

This is such a great theme, Hilary. Who doesn't love castles? Balmoral looks wonderful. It's on my (long) list of places I must visit.

Li said...

GREAT series! I'm a huge fan of Prince Albert and the Victorian era, as well as castles in general :-)

beccabooklover said...

What a beautiful castle. Just looks like a fairy tale castle out of stories!

Rosaria Williams said...

This is so much fun!

Mimi said...

Thanks for including Queen Victoria's watercolor. Very sweet.

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary. Thank you for sharing this interesting post on Balmoral castle. The challenge has been so much fun, so far. Have a wonderful day!


hyperCRYPTICal said...

I am really enjoying this tour and hoping that somewhere in this alphabet I will be able to state "I've been there!"

Anna :o]

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob .. yes I don't think I've really been to any of my selection of castles - so I will have to rectify that .. so much change to them over the last 40 years or so ..

@ Clarissa .. very possibly, but I never got the King's Speech too much going on in my life - a film I must watch sometime soon ...... interesting about Wallis cutting down the trees - 'strange woman' ..

@ Tonia - thanks for visiting ..

@ Jo - glad I pleased you with this one - yes Queen Victoria painted and drew rather well .. the Tate's Water Colour exhibition had her paint materials and satchel etc .. as does Prince Philip ..

@ Ruby - hope you enjoy the tour of Britain with some of its castles ..

@ Lynn - I think I might be making a trip north sometime .. re everyletter of the alphabet - no .. xyz will be an index, glosssary et al - creativity comes in!

@ Teresa - first I'd like the castle, then the lawn ... Scottish weather, I expect!!

@ Miranda - great to see you - the more visitors the merrier!

@ Nancy .. yes isn't it - Victoria saying lovely small little house, and where we live is another matter!

Actually just castles - but with different emphasis depending on the castle .. possibly in the index/glossary at the end ..

@ Li - good to meet you and hope you enjoy the rest of the series .. Victoria and Albert were very entrepreneurial in their own rights - as you mention ..

@ Becca - it does .. exactly as you say a fairy tale castle ..

@ Rosaria - excellent news!

@ MimiTabby - you'd have loved the Tate Water Colour Exhibition they had 18m ago .. where Victoria's paints and brushes were displayed ..

Thanks everyone lovely to see you - cheers Hilary

farawayeyes said...

Hi Hillary, nice to meet you. Castles - how cool!

Think Positive, Be Positive said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! Lovely post...I'm part Scottish so I'm sure it struck a cord...;0)

Good luck with the challenge!

Donna Martin

Glynis Peters said...

One of the only ones I haven't visited, Hilary. Great B choice!

Golden Eagle said...

I remember watching a documentary about this place! At least, I believe it was Balmoral Castle--from what I recall they interviewed the Duke of Edinburgh about the gardens. :) It looked beautiful!

The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Faraway eyes .. thanks for coming over - hope you enjoy the rest ..

@ Donna - pleasure - and if you're part Scot - this should draw you in .. enjoy the rest of the Challenge ..

@ Glynis - have you really visited that many .. Bob and I are doing I would guess 40 .. I'm not going XYZ - as I've decided to do Castle Addenda .. for those posts ..

Thanks everyone .. cheers Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

There are so many places in the UK that I've never visited. I keep telling Mr A that we shouldn't go abroad again until we've seen all the lovely places here and Balmoral would be one of them.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I'm enjoying all the travel posts.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful castle, Hilary! I just want to frame it as it is today and have it in front of me -- beauty within the confines of my four small walls. Such great history there is in England. Would love to see it all one day, and especially see YOU! And I'm so glad you're enjoying my A to Z movies!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Anonymous said...

p.s. I just visited Bob Scotney. This is just awesome that you're both doing castles. I'm going to follow him also through the A to Z!
Cheers. Ann

Chuck said...

I think it would be a fantastic tour to see this old place and hear about all that has taken place over the years. Plus I would love to photograph it. This is going to be a fun month.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary. I do like castles, although I've never been in one. One of these days we will take that big European vacation and visit a few castles. Hope they're not haunted.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Golden .. now you mention it I remember Prince Philip being interviewed for his work as the Queen's husband - ie looking after their properties etc and his visionary stance re husbandry of land for future generations - I hope they let us see it again ..

@ Ros many of us miss so much that's here to see in these little islands - Balmoral .. seems definitely worth a visit, as others ..

@ Stacy - good to meet you - and hope you enjoy the rest of my selection ..

@ Ann - the photos are picture perfect aren't they .. well, it'd be a pleasure to show you round one day .. and at the end of the day we could put our feet up and watch one of your movies!

Bob does have some great Castle stories going on doesn't he -glad you joined him ..

@ Chuck - glad you're enjoying the trip .. beautiful scenery up there ..

@ Stephen - one day you'll be over with the kids and we'll have some touring round .. some are haunted!!

Cheers everyone .. thanks for visiting - Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Castles are intriguing places full of labryinths and secret passages. They each contain doors to other dimensions and worlds and if you are open and receptive, you always discover what you are ready for.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Shirley .. Blogger took you off to Spam - rescued this morning!

There's so much more history of Castles accessible to us .. Balmoral does look wonderful doesn't it ..

@ Liara - some castles are amazingly intricate in their build - and we can as you say look to find ourselves by opening those passageways, doors and windows .. too true ..

Thanks Shirley and Liara - good to see you .. cheers Hilary

A Lady's Life said...

Lovely. I love Queen Elizabeth. She is a very good Queen.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ A Lady's Life .. our Queen is pretty amazing - 60 years as our Queen now .. the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will be special ..

Good to see you - Hiilary

Patricia said...

am so enjoying this series Thank you Thank you

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

She found it small. That's so cute. But I suppose she was used to not seeing others unless they were required. Thanks for sharing this, Hilary. Every about the British rulers is fascinating. If there's anything on TV, I make certain to watch. But of course, I still dream about visiting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patricia .. great news - thank you

@ Joylene - well I suppose she'd been used to living in Castles and Palaces .. the original house was small.

There are some amazing tv programmes now - giving us insights inside palaces and castles etc .. but we'd love to see you here!!

Cheers to you both - Hilary

Sara said...

Now, this is a castle I'd like to visit. I appreciate all the information about it. I especially loved the picture painted by Queen Victoria. She was a good artist!!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. me too - I think the estate looks wonderful and I'd like to see the changes they've made to the gardens in recent years - I imagine Prince Philip has a very good eye and knowledge base for long-term/sustained gardens ..

Great to see you - and yes - she was a good artist ... cheers Hilary said...

Goodness I had not realised how fairytale it looked.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Madeleine .. it does doesn't it - and I imagine with the plantations of trees around .. seeing bits of walls and towers through the branches - would make it more fairy like - til darkness fell!

Thanks for calling in - cheers Hilary