Visiting the Queen’s Gallery in London

The Queen’s Gallery is an underrated sight in London. A lot of people don’t know it exists and miss out on visiting this fantastic sight.

The Queen’s Gallery is located right beside Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews (two other great sights to visit while in London)!

This post will help you plan your perfect trip to the Queen’s Gallery and help you decide whether it is a sight you want to see while in London.

What Exactly is The Queen’s Gallery?

The Queen’s Gallery is a public art gallery that hosts up to 450 pieces from the Queen’s private collection. The exhibition is changed three to four times a year, so you have the chance to see a variety of different artwork.

The exhibitions at the Queen’s Gallery are curated and displayed based on a specific theme. All the artwork in that specific exhibition revolves around that theme, so you get an in-depth understanding of it.

A lot of the themes appeal to a wide audience and some are more appealing to a specific niche. The website has a listing of the exhibitions for the year, so you can decide if you’re interested in it or not.

Some of the previous exhibitions included:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci (a collection of his drawings)
  • Kind Edward VIII (a collection of photographs from his explorations)
  • King George IV (a collection of artwork he collected)
  • Russia (a collection of royal artwork and photographs from Crimea)

All of the exhibits are nicely curated and span a number of rooms. It can get a bit crowded for popular exhibits like the Leonard Da Vinci one, but it is often pretty quiet. This is especially true if you visit on a weekday.

The Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace

Ticket Information

You can purchase tickets directly from the Royal Trust Collection website or purchase them on-site when you arrive at the Queen’s Gallery.

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: £13.50
  • Over 60: £12.20
  • Student: £10.80
  • Under 17/Living with a Disability: £6.70
  • Under 5: Free
  • Family (2 adults and 3 under 17): £33.50

There are also discounts for groups of 15 or more. Information for that can be found on the Royal Trust Collection website as well.

Combo Tickets

You also have the option of purchasing combo tickets. These tickets allow you into additional Buckingham Palace sights at a lower cost than purchasing each ticket separately.

The Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews

This combo ticket allows you entry to the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews. These two royal sights are open all year around, so you can visit whenever you’re in London.

Ticket prices for The Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews combo ticket are as follows:

  • Adult: £23.00
  • Over 60: £21.00
  • Student: £19.50
  • Under 17/Living with a Disability: £12.00
  • Under 5: Free
  • Family: £58.00

There are also reduced fares for groups of 15 or more.

The savings don’t come out to more than a few pounds per ticket, but a combo ticket still saves you a little bit of money.

Strangely enough, the price for the combo ticket is different whether you go to the webpage for The Queen’s Gallery or the Royal Mews. The Royal Mews shows the price as being a few pence higher than The Queen’s Gallery webpage.

I’m not sure if the price would get sorted at checkout or if it is a typo on the website. Just to be save, you should purchase your tickets through The Queen’s Gallery website rather than the Royal Mews website.

Royal Day Out

The Royal Day Out gives you access to The Queen’s Gallery, the Royal Mews, and Buckingham Palace.

It is a full-day ticket with entrance times for each sight and is perfect for any royal lover! You start the day off by visiting The Queen’s Gallery, then head to the Royal Mews, and finally end at Buckingham Palace.

Ticket prices for the Royal Day Out are as follows:

  • Adult: £49.00
  • Over 60: £44.50
  • Students: £42.00
  • Under 17/Living with a Disability: £26.50
  • Under 5: Free
  • Family: £142.50

Again, the savings aren’t huge with the Royal Day Out ticket, but it is worth it if you’re interested in all three sights.

What is Included with Your Ticket

Your ticket includes an audio guide that describes the artwork you’re viewing. It includes information on the artist, historical information, and information about the artwork itself.

It is very detailed, and there is the option to click through to a different recording to learn even more about various pieces. The audioguide is put together by the curator of the exhibit and often has experts explaining certain aspects as well.

Your ticket also includes free locker use and coat check if you don’t want to carry your coat or bag around. You may be asked to put your bag in a locker if it is on the bigger side so be prepared for that.

The Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace

Upgrading Your Ticket to a Year-Long Pass

This is one of the best features of visiting any Royal Trust Collection sight! You’re able to convert your single-day ticket to a year-long pass when you exit.

Simply visit an employee on your way out and ask to convert your ticket. They will stamp the back of your ticket with the date and have you sign it. Once you’ve done that, you’re able to visit The Queen’s Gallery anytime you want for the next year!

It is the perfect way to keep going back and visiting all the different exhibits the gallery hosts throughout the year for one low price.

Technically when you do this, you’re telling the Royal Trust Collection that they can treat the price of your ticket as a donation rather profitable income. It is a win-win for both you and the Royal Trust.

I highly recommend you convert your ticket to a year-long ticket when you leave even if you don’t have another trip to London planned.

You never know when you’ll be back, and you may be thankful you now have free entry into The Queen’s Gallery rather than having to pay all over again.

Getting to The Queen’s Gallery

How you get to The Queen’s Gallery will depend largely on where in London you’re staying. Most people will take the Underground but some neighbourhoods (like Victoria) are close enough for you to walk.

Underground

For people taking the Underground, the three closest stations are:

  • Victoria (Victoria, Circle, and District lines)
  • Green Park (Piccadilly line)
  • St. James’ Park (Circle and District lines)

Each of these three stations are within a ten minute walk of The Queen’s Gallery. St. James’ Park is probably the furtherest away and Victoria and Green Park are pretty similar.

Don’t forget to use your Oyster card if you’re using public transportation.

Buses

There are a number of bus routes that run right by Buckingham Palace. The bus is probably the best option for people who don’t want to walk very far after they alight public transportation to get to Buckingham Palace.

Be sure to check the bus routes before you leave to see what bus you want to catch and how often it runs. Don’t forget that the Brits drive on the opposite side of the street as North Americans so be sure you’re heading the right direction!

You’re able to use your Oyster card on buses as well. You only need to tap when you get on the bus and don’t need to tap when you get off.

How Long Should You Spend at The Queen’s Gallery?

This is a difficult question to answer and is highly dependant on how interested you are in the artwork being displayed.

The average person can easily spend an hour viewing the artwork and listening to the audioguide.

People who are very interested in the artwork can spend upwards of 90 minutes at The Queen’s Gallery and possibly even two hours.

The Royal Trust Collection website recommends budgeting 75 minutes at The Queen’s Gallery in order to see it all, so that is a pretty good guide to follow.

Purchasing Souvenirs at The Queen’s Gallery

There is a large gift shop in the entryway of The Queen’s Gallery. It has everything from fine china to keychains to guidebooks to jam. Nearly everything you want to purchase as a souvenir can be found at the gift shop.

The gift shop is a bit on the pricey side, but it is all branded to Buckingham Palace and the royal family, so you can find a number of unique items.

Be sure to have a budget for the gift shop and stick to it! It is easy to get carried away and purchase a bunch of stuff that looks cool that you really don’t need.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Conclusion

The Queen’s Gallery is a great addition to any London itinerary. It is central and easy to get to, allows you to see artwork you can’t see anywhere else, and is relatively inexpensive for a royal attraction.

The fact that you can convert your ticket to a year-long pass makes The Queen’s Gallery even more attractive. It is the ticket that keeps on giving throughout the year. The fact that you can go back an unlimited number of times is great for budget travellers.

Whether you end up going back to The Queen’s Gallery or not, it is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. It is truly fun for the whole family!

5 Things to Know Before Your Buckingham Palace Tour

Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic sights in Europe, and touring it should be on your London bucket list!

It is home to the British Royal Family and has been since 1837. While you normally can only see the outside of the palace, you are able to take a Buckingham Palace tour during the summer. 

The palace is normally open form mid-July to mid-September, and you can find specific dates at the Royal Trust Collection website. You can sometimes take a Buckingham Palace tour in the winter months depending on whether the Queen will be in residence of not. You can find information regarding winter dates on the Royal Trust Collection website. It is open every summer when she is in Scotland though.

Taking a Buckingham Palace tour is exciting! You get a glimpse into how the British Royal Family lives, and it is an experience like no other. It is a super fun way to spend a few hours, but there are some things you should know before you go! These five tips will help you plan your trips, easily get into Buckingham, and follow the rules, so you don’t get kicked out!

1. Book Your Tickets Online in Advance

You should purchase your tickets online in advance. As far in advance as possible! Buckingham Palace tour tickets are extremely popular and normally sell out in advance. 

You are able to select an entrance time when you purchase tickets online. The earlier you purchase tickets, the more likely you are to get an entry time that suits you. You run the risk of getting an entry time that is inconvenient or overlaps with other plans if you do not purchase tickets in advance.

You must arrive for your Buckingham Palace tour at the time listed on your ticket. It is not possible to enter the palace if you’re late, so make sure to be there on time!

I purchased my Buckingham Palace tour tickets five months in advance. My first choice in time slots on the day I was going was sold out, so I had to select my second choice. Obviously it isn’t a big deal to get a ticket for a half hour later, but that was five months in advance! You will have a very limited selection if you purchase only a few weeks before your tour.

Combination Tickets

You have the option of purchasing a combination ticket when you purchase your Buckingham Palace tour ticket. Combination tickets allow you entry to multiple attractions run by the Royal Trust at a slightly reduced fare.

You are able to get a combination ticket for other attractions such as the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery.

You should consider purchasing a combination ticket if you plan on visiting multiple royal attractions. It won’t save you a lot of money, but you will save some!

2. Arrive Early

Since you’re not able to enter the palace if you’re late for your time slot, you want to get to the palace early. It is better to be a bit too early than to be late! It would be horrible to miss your tour and waste your money just because there was a delay in getting to Buckingham Palace.

You have an entry time on your ticket, but you should arrive at Buckingham Palace 15-30 minutes before your entry time. There is always a long queue to scan tickets and a security procedure that takes quite a while.

There are two sides to security in a tent after you scan your ticket. One side is for the current time slot and the other for the next time slot. You will be told what line you should join when your ticket is scanned.

The security guards are well-trained, so as long as you’re there with enough time to spare, you will have no problem getting to the proper security queue or getting into the palace on time.

Buckingham Palace London England  Buckingham Palace Tour

3. The Entrance is on the Right-Hand Side of Buckingham Palace next to the Queen’s Gallery

The entrance for the Buckingham Palace tour is not at the front of the palace where the changing of the guards takes place. If you are facing Buckingham Palace with the Queen Victoria statue at your back, the entrance for the tour is to the right around the corner.

The entrance is part-way down the street when you turn right. If you reach the Queen’s Gallery, you have gone too far.

From my experience, there is normally a long queue of people waiting to enter Buckingham Palace and take their tour. You will likely come across the queue shortly after you turn right at the end of the palace. People often don’t believe the queue is for the Buckingham Palace tour because it is so long, but it is.

There will be a security guard walking up and down the queue occasionally calling for people with specific entry time tickets. If you’re at the back of the queue and you’re time gets called, let the security guard know, and s/he will bring you to the ticket scanning area.

People often show up to the tour way too early for their tour and will stand in the queue even if their tour isn’t for an hour. I guess people think they can get in early if they are there, but they can’t, so they end up standing around waiting for their time slot.

You should only leave the queue if you’re time slot is called, and you’re told to go to the front.

Closest Underground Stations

The London Underground is the most common and efficient way to get to your Buckingham Palace tour. It may be more efficient to walk to Buckingham Palace depending where in London you are staying, but, for the most part, you will likely take the Underground to the palace. Don’t forget to get an Oyster card to make using public transportation in London a breeze!

The 3 Underground stations that are closest to Buckingham Palace are:

  • Victoria
  • Green Park
  • St. James’ Park

They are all relatively close and are less than a 10 minute walk from Buckingham Palace.

The station furtherest from the palace is St. James’ Park, but it has the most scenic walk. You walk through the gardens at St. James’ Park, and it is a very nice way to get into the mood for a royal Buckingham Palace tour. If you have the extra few minutes, I would recommend getting off at St. James’ Park.

London Transportation Big Ben Bus Buckingham Palace

4. Know What You’re Not Allowed to Bring on Your Buckingham Palace Tour

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are quite a few things that you aren’t allowed to bring into Buckingham Palace.

Items You Can’t Bring into Buckingham Palace

  • Liquids
  • Food
  • Luggage
  • Backpacks
  • Scissors
  • Pen Knives

Items that are not allowed into the palace will either be confiscated or checked and returned to you when you exit the palace.

Items such as food and drinks will be confiscated and items like luggage and backpacks need to be checked.

The security process goes a lot quicker if you have already gone through your personal items to ensure there are no banned items inside them. I had a protein bar, and it was confiscated, so the security guards take their job seriously and are through when they inspect your bags.

Other Banned Items

  • You are not allowed to smoke or vape on your Buckingham Palace tour. Being caught smoking in the palace or in the gardens is grounds for removal from the property.
  • I visited Buckingham Palace on a very rainy day. People with large umbrellas were asked to check them and retrieve them when they exited the tour. I had a small umbrella that fit in my purse and had no problems. You should make sure to have a small umbrella that can easily be put inside a small bag, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of checking it and retrieving it when you leave the palace.

5. How the Buckingham Palace Tour Works

The Buckingham Palace tour works the same as all the other Royal Trust tours. You get an audioguide that has in-depth information about the palace, and the tour is self-paced.

The tour is self-guided in the sense that there isn’t a tour guide personally showing you the palace. But there is a designated route you have to follow during the tour, and you can’t deviate from it or go back to another room you have already visited.

There is a lot of information provided on the audioguide, so you will be standing around quite a bit in each room. It is worth listening to all the information and not rushing through the tour. You paid a lot of money for the tour, so you should take advantage of every piece of information they give you!

There are also secondary parts to the audioguide. In every room you have the choice to go more in-depth on a specific item and learn more about it. The items are normally pieces of art or furniture.

You can skip these parts of the audioguide if you’re not interested in it. The core of the information is contained in the main portion of the audioguide.

London England United Kingdom Everything You Need to Know About the Oyster Card

Conclusion

You get to see a very limited number of rooms on the tour. The rooms you get to see are mainly common areas and banquet halls. You don’t get to see any personal rooms so don’t expect to sneak a peak into the Queen’s bedchamber!

The rooms you are allowed to tour are spectacular and well worth the ticket cost.

The Buckingham Palace tour is the perfect option for any royal fan that is visiting London during the summer months. It gives you a small peak into how the royal family lives, and you leave with a lot more information than you had before you entered.

You need to make sure you follow the palace rules and arrive early to make the most out of your tour! You will also have a much more enjoyable tour if you purchase your tickets online months in advance. It would be a shame to not be able to take the tour just because tickets were sold out!

All in all, I would highly recommend the Buckingham Palace tour for any royal fan! It is truly the height of royal tourism and worth every pence you spend on it.

6 of the Best Royal Sights in Scotland

Scotland has a long royal history and is still visited yearly by the British royal family. It is often overlooked by royal fans because London is the hub of all things royal, but Scotland has a lot of superb royal sights as well.

For the most part, Scotland’s royal sights tend to be quieter than the ones in London. This makes for a more enjoyable experience that allows you to really soak up the atmosphere rather than being rushed or crowded.

The downside of touring royal Scotland is that some of the sights require you to travel outside the main cities, so you may have to rent a car.

But on the plus side, 3 of the 6 sights on this list are in Edinburgh, so you’ll be able to see some of royal Scotland without having to rent a car. This is perfect for solo travellers or people with a limited time in Scotland.

In Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle was the royal castle from the 12th Century until 1633. It was endured 26 sieges in its history. It is the most attached castle in Great Britain and one of the most attached in the entire world.

The castle has an interesting history that includes the Jacobite rising, the Scottish Wars of Independence, being a military barracks, and holding the Scottish crown jewels.

Edinburgh Castle is the most visited paid tourist attraction in Scotland. It is popular and gets extremely busy in the summer months.

Admission

The cost of admission ranges from £13.60 to £19.50 depending on what ticket you purchase, what time of year you go, and whether you purchase your ticket online in advance or not.

You should definitely purchase your ticket online in advance to save money and time. It is easy to do. There are ticket-printing machines outside the castle entrance that make it simple to get a paper copy of your ticket if you don’t have access to a printer.

You will be able to select an entrance time if you purchase tickets online. Tickets for the 9:30am slot need to be purchased the day in advance. All other time slots must be purchased no less than 90 minutes before the entry time. Being able to purchase tickets the same day makes it convenient for people who like to wing their trip and don’t plan everything in advance.

You should try to get a ticket for as early an entrance as possible. Edinburgh Castle gets busy, and the crowds will be quietest at the beginning of the day.

What to Do and See

There is plenty of things to do and see at Edinburgh Castle. You could easily spend an entire day at the castle, and most people spend half a day there.

Some of the highlights include a panoramic of Edinburgh, a pet cemetery, the Scottish Crown Jewels, tours of the dungeons, multiple military museums, James VI birth chamber, the royal apartments, and St. Margaret’s Chapel.

The Crown Jewels are by far the most popular thing to see at Edinburgh Castle. You should try to visit them early in the morning, at lunch when people are eating, or in the evening. There will be a long line to see them if you go outside these times (but it is still worth it!). The Scottish Crown Jewels are not as impressive as the Crown Jewels you can see in the Tower of London, but they are still worth seeing.

The Royal Aspect

Edinburgh Castle is by far the least royal sight on this list. It is more of a historical sight than it is a modern royal sight. However, there are still a number of royal things to see.

The castle has an immense royal history, so while it may not be a modern royal sight, it is still somewhere royal fans will want to visit. The highlights for royal fans visiting Edinburgh Castle are the Crown Jewels, the royal apartments, and James VI birth chamber.

Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Scotland 6 Best Royal Sights in Scotland

Holyroodhouse Palace

Holyroodhouse Palace is at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle. It is the modern royal palace in Edinburgh, and the Queen visits it every year.

Holyroodhouse Palace has been the principle residence for the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th Century. Inside you are able to visit the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots, which makes Holyrood Palace quite unique.

Admission

Admission to Holyroodhouse ranges from £8.60 to £15 depending on what ticket category you purchase. Students, seniors, youth, and people living with a disability receive a discount. Children under 5 receive free entrance!

You can purchase tickets to the palace online in advance. This helps save time in the queue. The line can get quite long at peak times, so pre-buying your ticket is a great option.

You receive an audioguide included in the price of admission. The audioguide is quite well done and is very information, so you should make sure to pick one up and use it.

The tour of Holyroodhouse is self-guided and self-paced. You can take as long as you want in each of the rooms, so you won’t feel rushed.

You can also purchase a combined ticket that allows you entrance to both Holyroodhouse Palace and the Queen’s Gallery. They are both located on the same property, so it is easy to go from one sight to the next. The Queen’s Gallery has a number of great exhibits throughout the year, so it is worth considering.

Insider Tip: Near the exit to Holyroodhouse Palace (and the Queen’s Gallery) you can ask to have your visit treated like a charitable donation. By doing this you will receive free re-enty to the Palace (and/or Queen’s Gallery depending on what ticket you purchased) for a year!

What to See and Do

You will be able to see all the palace highlights when you visit Holyroodhouse Palace. Visitors will learn about past and present history as well as important events that took place in the various rooms you are touring.

You will see the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots, the state rooms, the throne room, the great gallery that houses a number of famous pieces of art, and tour the gardens.

There is a lot to see and do, so you should budget half a day to tour the palace. The audioguide is lengthy, so expect to stand in each room for 5-10 minutes listening to its history.

The route you can walk through the palace is pre-determined, so you won’t be able to get away from the crowds if it is busy while you are there. You will want to visit the palace right when it opens or a few hours before it closes to beat the crowds.

The Royal Aspect

Holyroodhouse Palace is seeping with royal history. It is perfect for people who are interested in modern royal history and being able to say they walked in the same place as the Queen.

The palace has a long royal history, so it is perfect for people who enjoy any aspect of royal history from the 16th Century onwards.

Holyroodhouse Palace is a unique British royal palace. It is one of the few active palaces in Scotland. It was often used as the gateway to the Highlands by members of the royal family in the past, so it has great stories to be shared with you.

Holyroodhouse Palace Edinburgh Scotland 6 Best Royal Sights in Scotland

HMY Britannia

The HMY Britannia is the sight of all sights for anybody that is interested in modern royal history or the Queen. HMY Britannia was originally supposed to be used by King George IV, but he passed away before it set sail.

After her father died, Queen Elizabeth II saw the construction of HMY Britannia to completion and decorated it in her personal style.

The yacht was in service from 1954 until 1997. During its career, HMY Britannia travelled more than 1 million nautical miles and was the vessel of multiple royal tours. (It is featured on The Crown as well when Prince Philip is on his tour in the second season).

The yacht is now permanently docked at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh and open for the public to tour.

Admission

Ticket prices range from £8.70 to £16.50 and children under the age of 5 go free. You can purchase tickets online, or you can go to the ticket booth up to 7 days before you want to visit and get a ticket for any day.

While HMY Britannia is a popular sight, it normally doesn’t see the lines that Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace see. You should be able to purchase your ticket on the day of your visit without having much of a queue.

Your ticket gives you access to an audioguide. The audioguide is very well done and gives you lots of information, so it is worth using.

Just as with Holyroodhouse Palace, there is a pre-determined route you take while touring the yacht. You are able to walk through different levels and parts of the ship.

What to See and Do

There is a lot to see on HMY Britannia. You get to see where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s bedrooms, the room Prince Charles and Princess Diana stayed while on their honeymoon, the dining room where banquets were held, and so much more!

You also get to see all the mechanical and practical elements of the ship. The engine room, the staff quarters, and the bridge are all included in your tour.

It is interesting to see how the staff lived versus how the royal family lived while on the yacht. There was a huge difference between their living conditions (unsurprisingly).

You are able to have tea or eat a meal on the yacht. The Royal Deck Tea Room gives you the opportunity to feel like a royal. There is a beautiful view from the tea room, and the food is delicious. It is a bit overpriced, but what else would you expect from a royal tourist sight?

Overall, you should budget 2-4 hours to tour HMY Britannia. The audioguide takes a long time to listen to, so it will take multiple hours to tour the entire yacht. The tour is self-paced, so you can linger on the top deck taking pictures and enjoying the view for as long as you want.

The Royal Aspect

There is no doubt that HMY Britannia is one of the most popular royal tourist attractions in Scotland. It has the most modern royal history of any other Scottish sight.

People who are fans of the current generation of the royal family will love this attraction. You learn so much about the royal history from just a few years ago. Even the most intense royal fans will walk away from HMY Britannia with new information.

HMY Britannia Edinburgh Scotland The 6 Best Royal Sights in Scotland

Outside of Edinburgh

Balmoral

Balmoral is known as the Scottish home to the royal family. It was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They renovated the castle to suit their tastes, and Balmoral quickly became their favourite place. After Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria continued to spend a lot of time at Balmoral.

The royal family still spends a large part of the summer at Balmoral. It is used every year by the Queen and other members of the royal family. Balmoral has a huge grounds, so it allows the family a lot of privacy while also letting them participate in outdoor activities.

Balmoral is located in the Scottish Highlands, so it is difficult to get to if you don’t have a car. There is a free parking on sight if you do drive, so that is a nice bonus.

Admission

Admission to Balmoral ranges from £6 to £11.50. You are able to purchase your tickets online in advance.

Your entrance tickets gives you access to the grounds as well as one room in the castle. You can only enter the one room in the castle, so you shouldn’t visit Balmoral if you want to see the castle rather than the grounds.

Balmoral is still worth a visit when you’re in Scotland. The grounds are beautiful, and you learn a lot about the royal family in the Victorian era.

You receive an audioguide that guides you through the estate grounds. You have to pay a £5 deposit for the audioguide, but you get the money back when you return it. The audioguide is incredibly helpful. The tour is through the grounds, so there isn’t an opportunity to put printed signs up explaining the sights. The audioguide fills that gap and is you sole source of information.

There is the option to take a free guided tour of the grounds. It only takes place once a week, and it is first come first serve. It often fills up quickly. If you want to partake in the tour, you will want to get to Balmoral as soon as it opens and sign up.

Balmoral is only open during certain months of the year. Normally it is open from April through July annually, but you should check the website to confirm dates. It would be horrible to show up at Balmoral on a day it is closed!

What to See and Do

There is a lot to see at Balmoral even though you don’t get to tour the castle. You get to visit the garden that feeds the royal family when they are in residence, the exhibits in the stables, and the largest room in the castle. You also get to walk through parts of the estate and take in the natural beauty.

The beauty of Balmoral is in the nature, so taking the time to walk around and thoroughly enjoy the surrounding area is what makes this sight so special. You are able to walk along a river on the way back to the parking lot, and it is beautiful.

Balmoral is not a sight for people that want to see inside the castle and care more about the architecture and grandness of the building. But for people who are interested in Victorian history, nature, and the Scottish Highlands, Balmoral is the perfect place.

The Royal Aspect

Balmoral is the pinnacle of royal sights in Scotland for people who are interested in the Victoria era. It is such a special place because you know you are walking where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (along with every royal since their time) has walked.

The downside of Balmoral is that you aren’t able to tour the inside of the estate. This takes away a bit of the experience, but Balmoral has so much to offer that you don’t feel like you’re missing anything by not being able to tour the inside of the castle.

Overall, Balmoral has a nice mix of old and new royal history. It is a great tourist attraction for people who are Victorian era fans and modern fans. The informational guides at Balmoral do a good job of mixing information about the past and present. This makes for a well-rounded experience that any royal fan will enjoy.

Balmoral Scotland The 6 Best Royal Sights in Scotland

Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar is a scotch distillery. It might seem like an odd choice for this list, but it actually has a very interesting royal history.

When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert moved into Balmoral, the owner of Lochnagar asked the royal couple if they would like to sample his scotch. Victoria and Albert toured the distillery the next day, loved it, and gave it a royal patronage. The name of the distillery then changed from Lochnagar to Royal Lochnagar. Royal Lochnagar has held its royal patronage ever since that first tour.

Admission

Royal Lochnagar is located a few minutes’ drive away from Balmoral, so it is easy to visit both sights in the same day.

Admission is £9. This includes a tour of the distillery and a sample at the end. You can pay extra to be able to sample two different scotches, but most people opt for the standard admission.

Tours of the distillery run every hour. You are able to book in advance if you have 4 or more people. You will have to either email or call them as you are unable to purchase tickets online. Their opening hours change, so you should refer to the website to ensure it is open when you want to visit. Oftentimes the last tour is at 4pm.

What to See and Do

This is a guided tour. It takes your through the distillery and gives you information about the malting process.

Royal Lochnagar is a small distillery that still does things the traditional way, so the tour will be different than any other distillery tour you’ve taken in the past.

The most interesting part of the tour, in my opinion, is learning about the environmental steps the distillery has taken. It is remarkable how much they are able to reuse throughout the malting process.

The Royal Aspect

This is definitely the least royal activity on this list, but is still has a royal background. You watch a video at the start of the tour about the royal link Royal Lochnagar has. It is also fun to try scotch that the royals still drink to this day!

Balmoral Royal Lochnagar Scotland The 6 Best Royal Sights in Scotland
I didn’t know I would start a blog when I visited Royal Lochnagar, so I don’t have any pictures of it. This is a beautiful river that flows through Balmoral

St. Andrews

St. Andrews is a small town in western Scotland. It is a short drive from Edinburgh and easy to access by car or train.

You probably already know that Prince William and Duchess Kate met while attending the University of St. Andrews. It is pretty fun to walk through this small town in Scotland and imagine William and Kate walking down the same road while falling in love.

Admission

St. Andrews is a town not a tourist sight, so there is no admission fee to walk through and explore it. You can, of course, pay to enter specific tourist sights like the castle and church ruins. The only real admission expense to visiting St. Andrews is the cost of transportation and a hotel if you stay in the city.

What to See and Do

St. Andrews, like many towns in Scotland, is pretty quiet. You can walk through the historical town centre and visit the golf course in a single day. There is also a castle, ruined church, museums, and a botanical garden you can visit.

You can easily spend 2 or 3 days wandering through St. Andrews and taking in the scenery. It is a pretty unique small town in Scotland because it has this royal history and golf history as well as a university, so there tends to be an interesting mix of tourists, golfers, and students.

The Royal Aspect

St. Andrews’ ties to William and Kate is what makes this an attractive city for royal fans. While there aren’t many overtly royal things to see, it is still pretty fun to walk through the town imaging William and Kate doing the same.

There is one coffee shop you can visit that opening declare that William and Kate went on a date there. The food is apparently pretty good, but I haven’t tried it to confirm that.

St. Andrews is a fun town to visit while in Scotland, and the ties to the royal family makes it even more fun! It is definitely worth visiting while you’re in Scotland.

St. Andrews Scotland The 6 Best Royal Sights in Scotland

Conclusion

Scotland is home to a number of interesting and unique royal sights. There a lot of royal sights to visit in Edinburgh, so you don’t have to rent a car and drive to get your fill of royalty while in Scotland.

However, if you have access to a car, it is worth it to go out and visit some of the more remote royal sights like Balmoral and Royal Lochnagar. They are worth the effort to get to, and they let you better understand a piece of royal history that you can’t find anywhere else.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made Scotland an important part of the United Kingdom to the royal family. They created a love for the country that the royal family continues to share to this day.

Scotland is a great country for hard-core royal fans that want to see royal sights outside London. It gives royal fans an intimate understanding of the royals’ lives that nowhere else can give them.

Scotland is a unique country, and it makes sense that the royal tourist sights in the country are unique as well. You won’t be disappointed if you take time out of your Scotland vacation to visit a number of the royal sights listed in this article. They won’t disappoint.