Why the Queen hasn’t been able to start her Balmoral break fully yet

The Queen’s Balmoral break is an annual tradition but despite her travelling to Scotland, it’s likely not properly begun yet…

Queen's Balmoral break yet to begin at the castle, seen here at the Balmoral Estate Cricket Pavilion in 2021
(Image credit: Photo by Andrew Milligan-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen’s Balmoral break is a traditional vacation for the monarch but there’s a simple reason why it hasn’t started fully yet. 

Anyone wondering where the Queen is since she left Windsor Castle on July 21st might well have expected her to be at Balmoral Castle. The historic home is nestled in the picturesque countryside of Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire and is believed to be one of Her Majesty’s favorite royal properties. Whilst the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the monarch’s official residence in Scotland, Balmoral is visited far more regularly by the Queen and extended Royal Family

Balmoral is one of the key residences where the Royal Family stay in Scotland. But despite the monarch having traveled to Aberdeenshire, it could be said that the Queen’s Balmoral break has yet to really begin for one simple reason - she’s thought not to be at Balmoral Castle yet!

Queen Elizabeth II during an inspection of the Balaklava Company

(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Whilst not confirmed, the Queen's reportedly been staying at Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate in recent days. This beautiful stone cottage is only around a mile from Balmoral and is understood to be a place that the Queen and Prince Philip spent time over the years. 

They’re said to have resided there in late July, just like the Queen is believed to be doing now as the main castle is still open to the public. The Queen’s Balmoral break usually lasts from August-October, with Balmoral Castle open to the public from April-July each year. This year the grounds, gardens, coffee shop, exhibitions and gifts shops are open until August 2nd.

Her Majesty and her household apparently move across to the residence once it closes its doors to visitors, giving her privacy. 

Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where the Queen takes up summer residence

(Image credit: Photo by: Robert Plattner/Oneworld Picture/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

This means that whilst the Queen’s vacation time might technically have started, her Balmoral break will perhaps only fully begin when she can settle in at the castle in a few days' time. It’s at Balmoral Castle itself that the Queen’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have often visited her over the years, making this annual trip all the more special.

This includes her granddaughter Princess Eugenie, who previously revealed on the 2016 documentary, Our Queen at Ninety, that the royals enjoy plenty of outdoor pursuits like walking and picnics there. 

"Walks, picnics, dogs – a lot of dogs, there's always dogs – and people coming in and out all the time,” she disclosed. “It's a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa, for us to come and see them up there; where you just have room to breathe and run.” 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Andrew (centre), Princess Anne (left) and Charles, Prince of Wales sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle

(Image credit: Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

This sense of freedom is likely incredibly meaningful for the Queen too, given how much of her life is lived in the public eye. The decision to wait to move into Balmoral and fully begin the holiday after the public has stopped visiting her home makes a lot of sense. Once the visitors are gone, the Queen is thought to enjoy a more low-key, relaxed pace of life there surrounded by her nearest and dearest until she returns to England in the autumn. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!