King Charles breaks royal tradition at Balmoral Castle

King Charles will break with royal tradition when Balmoral Castle opens to the public this summer.

For the first time, visitors will be able to visit the once private grounds of a historic home in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Tickets were on sale from July 1 to August 4 and sold out as soon as they went on sale, with standard tickets priced at £100 ($126) and the more expensive afternoon tea package priced at £150 ($189.51).

"For the first time since the castle was completed in 1855, we are allowed to take you on a private tour with an experienced guide," the official Balmoral website says. "You'll learn about the castle's origins and how it has been influenced by generations. Royal love."

So far, tours of Balmoral Castle have been limited to the castle grounds, the surrounding estate gardens, and the ballroom, which displays a collection of King Charles' watercolors.

Balmoral Castle History

The castle was purchased in 1852 by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. He bought the castle for £32,000 ($40,500), equivalent to £3.7 million ($4.7 million) today, according to the Bank of England.

The 167-room castle, worth an estimated £80 million ($101 million) as of 2023, is located on the 50,000-acre Balmoral estate, which has 150 buildings including King Craigovan Hotel (King's Craigowan Lodge).

Balmoral Castle. AFP Writer/AFP/Getty Images

The castle and surrounding estates are a secluded spot for the royal family, as it is a traditional summer retreat for the reigning monarch. Balmoral Castle is also home to several royal landmarks. For example, in September 2022, Queen Elizabeth II died at the castle at the age of 96, 70 years after ascending the throne.

Balmoral isn't the only royal residence welcoming more visitors this summer. After five years of refurbishment, the East Wing of Buckingham Palace will also be open to guided tours for the first time throughout July and August.