The magnificent Royal Family holiday homes used by King Charles, Queen Camilla and the Prince and Princess of Wales

There are several Royal Family holiday homes and plenty of them have been used already this year as they uphold key traditions

Royal Family holiday homes including Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle
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There are iconic Royal Family holiday homes as well as several more less-well known ones that get used by the royals most years.

King Charles and Queen Camilla have already kicked off their annual summer break in Scotland after what’s already been an intensely busy year so far with their coronation in May alongside their usual packed schedule of engagements. Whilst working royals sometimes make overseas trips for state visits or tours, some of their private holidays take them no further afield than the UK. Throughout the year certain royal properties really come into their own as destinations of choice for the likes of King Charles and the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children. 

Some Royal Family holiday homes are also the go-to location for huge family gatherings of both working and non-working royals for big celebrations. Here is our run-down of the Royal Family holiday homes that the royals love to stay in…  

King Charles III inspects Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, at the gates of Balmoral

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Royal Family holiday homes

Balmoral Castle

There’s unsurprisingly plenty of overlap between the places the Royal Family stay in Scotland and Royal Family holiday homes and perhaps the most well-known and iconic of all their holiday destinations is Balmoral Castle. Located in Aberdeenshire, Balmoral held a special place in the late Queen Elizabeth’s heart and was where she enjoyed her summer holiday every year from August-October. 

Continuing this tradition, King Charles greeted a special Balmoral guest and was officially welcomed to the residence on 21st August 2023 for the rest of his and Queen Camilla’s well-deserved break from the royal spotlight.

View of Balmoral Castle

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Reports have suggested that King Charles could return to England earlier than his mother used to, though he could potentially mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death on 8th September at Balmoral. Many of his royal relatives, including the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to join Their Majesties at some point over the next few weeks at this privately-owned holiday home.


King Charles and Queen Camilla’s personal residence in Scotland before becoming King and Queen Consort is Birkhall and they might still spend some time there together this year. It’s privately owned and located on the Balmoral estate, nearby to the main castle. King Charles inherited it from the Queen Mother when she passed away in 2002 and he and Queen Camilla spent their honeymoon there in 2005.

King Charles and Queen Camilla at Birkhall in Scotland

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Though Their Majesties have stayed at Birkhall during the summer over the years it’s not the only time of year they’ve headed there. It’s claimed that in 2011 the Prince and Princess of Wales celebrated New Year there with them. King Charles and Queen Camilla are said to thoroughly enjoy time at Birkhall and chose a special picture taken in the gardens there as their Christmas Card photo for 2020 after spending much of the UK’s pandemic lockdown there.

Craigowan Lodge

It could be that Queen Elizabeth’s beloved Scottish hideaway, Craigowan Lodge, might not be used so much any more since her passing. Located on the Balmoral estate only around a mile from the castle itself, it was reported that Queen Elizabeth used to spend time in this residence in the summer whilst she waited for Balmoral Castle to close to the public. 

This year it’s not known whether King Charles did the same and Balmoral Castle has now extended its opening times. Craigowan Lodge is said to have seven bedrooms and the first photocall of the then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana since they announced their engagement was here. 

Craigowan Lodge On Balmoral Estate

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According to royal expert Wesley Kerr speaking on the Channel 5 documentary, Secrets of the Royal Palaces, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip could be an “ordinary married couple” at the cottage “without the grandeur”.

He also expressed his belief that for the late Queen, who was used to living in royal residences with a vast array of rooms, might have found Craigowan Lodge as a “rather nice change” since she “could only be in one room at a time” anyway. 

Tam-Na-Ghar Cottage

Tam-Na-Ghar Cottage is one of those Royal Family holiday homes that isn’t publicly photographed and is incredibly private. It’s understood to belong to the Prince and Princess of Wales and reports have claimed that this is where they’ve stayed with Prince George, Charlotte and Louis over the years when they’ve visited Scotland. 

Tam-Nar-Ghar Cottage is said to have been gifted by the Queen Mother to her great-grandson Prince William before she passed away in 2002. With the Wales family expected to make the trip to Scotland for the summer again this year, it could be that they get to enjoy some time at this special holiday home. 

Castle of Mey

This year King Charles and Queen Camilla kicked off their summer break at the Castle of Mey in Caithness. This was previously owned by the Queen Mother who bought it from Captain F.B Imbert-Terry in 1952. Until she was 101 she enjoyed her own annual holiday there in August with an extra 10 days in October. She also opened the gardens for three days each year in aid of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme and played a key role in restoring the castle and its gardens. 

Castle of Mey

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The Queen Mother is even credited with giving the Castle of Mey back its name after it was previously changed to Barrogill Castle. When she passed away in 2002 the Castle of Mey was inherited by Queen Elizabeth but in 1996 it was gifted with an endowment to the Trust, which King Charles is now President of. His Majesty traditionally rents it for a few days each August, however reports suggested that he spent more time there in 2023 before making the move to Aberdeenshire and being officially welcomed to Balmoral.

Sandringham House

The royals might not stay at Sandringham House in the summer, but the Norfolk residence is nonetheless one of the best-known of the Royal Family holiday homes and it comes into its own in winter. The home is privately owned by the monarch and not by the Crown Estate like Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. It was understood to have been one of the late Queen Elizabeth’s favourite royal properties and it’s where the immediate and extended Royal Family traditionally celebrate Christmas.

Sandringham House in Norfolk

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Taking time out from royal engagements and duties, they come together in Norfolk to enjoy the festive season. On Christmas Day the royals can be seen walking to St Mary Magdalene Church to attend a service, but otherwise they aren’t glimpsed in public during this special time. During Queen Elizabeth’s reign she would remain at Sandringham until mid-February as she chose to mark the anniversary of her father King George VI’s passing here with a day of private reflection. 

After Prince Philip retired in 2017, he spent a lot of his time at the Sandringham estate too. The house and gardens are currently open to the public for fans to visit and from April-October every year the main eight ground floor rooms can be seen. As per the Sandringham Estate these are regularly used by the royals and the “décor and contents” remain “very much as they were in Edwardian times” for visitors to enjoy seeing. 

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle doesn’t immediately sound like one of the Royal Family holiday homes but before Queen Elizabeth stayed there during the pandemic, the residence was used for a specific time of year - Easter! As revealed previously on the Royal Family website, Queen Elizabeth used to spend the Easter weekend privately with her nearest and dearest at Windsor Castle. She and her family would also attend a church service on Easter Sunday at St George’s Chapel.

Windsor Castle

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This is a tradition that King Charles has gone on to continue since becoming monarch and everyone from Zara Tindall to Princess Eugenie and the Wales family joined him and Queen Camilla at church on Easter Sunday 2023. Sadly, the Royal Family don’t take part in Easter egg hunts at home but they might honour the festivities in another way in private at Windsor Castle. 

The late Queen Elizabeth used to stay at Windsor Castle for a month in spring for the Easter Court and would also take up residence there in June when events like Royal Ascot and the Order of the Garter Service took place. It’s not known if King Charles stayed there during Ascot week this year, though it’s of course possible. 

The Blue House

King Charles’ traditional Romanian guesthouse was purchased by the monarch in 2008 and he visits every year for a special holiday. Known very appropriately as the Blue House, the property features blue painted walls and is located in the village of Viscri in Transylvania. When His Majesty isn’t in residence it’s available to rent and he visits regularly, usually in May or June. Earlier this year he stayed there for the first time since ascending the throne and enjoyed a solo trip to Romania. 

View inside the ''Blue House'' owned by the current sovereign King Charles III

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The Blue House was restored using traditional methods and materials and the rooms have antique Transylvanian furniture and a kettle and tea provided. No TVs or radios are there, but there are apparently “plenty” of books on the shelves to enjoy. King Charles’ Transylvanian home can be rented and each day of the week “all inclusive” guests can enjoy a different activity and there are also additional options like horse riding and bear watching. 

It’s not known whether King Charles enjoys any of these when he stays, but he’s said to love walking in the stunning Romanian countryside when he’s at the Blue House.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.