Cottage on Balmoral estate to be open to holidaymakers

Balmoral Castle and the River Dee.

Balmoral Castle and the River Dee.

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HOLIDAYMAKERS will soon be able to stay at Balmoral - at a lodge built by Queen Victoria.

The 50,000 acre Balmoral estate - with its iconic fairytale castle - is one of Scotland’s most famous addresses.

Since 1852, when it passed into the hands of the Royal family, it has acted as the exclusive private highland getaway of the blue-blooded and their high-flying guests.

But now common Scots looking for a posh getaway will have the chance to stay within a stone’s throw of the Queen herself.

Estate bosses are renovating Rhebreck Lodge - a secluded cottage set in the grounds of the estate which was built by Queen Victoria in 1859.

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The lodge - which can host up to six guests - is now open to public bookings, and is expected to host its first guests in May.

It features a dining room, kitchen and utility room - as well as a log burner - all for the reasonable price of £1,000 a week in peak times.

But unlike the Queen - who is waited on hand and foot by a team of top chefs - guests at Rhebreck should be warned that their stay will be a strictly self-catered affair.

The granite lodge building is set in a quiet nook of the estate with stunning views across the Aberdeenshire valley.

It looks over the royal golf course and towards Crathie church, where her majesty worships.

Queen Victoria ordered the construction of the lodge on Balmoral estate in 1859.

It was designed by William Smith - the Aberdeen architect who also worked with Prince Albert to overhaul the main castle itself.

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It was originally intended to be the private residence of John Grant - Balmoral estate’s head forester - who was a firm favourite of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.

After his death the home was kept as a private residence for other favoured employees of the crown - but for the last 150 years it has sat empty and unused.

Now the lodge is set to reopen - this time to members of the public looking to get a taste of the royal lifestyle.

An estate spokesman said: “We are pleased to be able to announced that a new self-catering holiday cottage will be available on the estate.

“Rhebreck Lodge is set in a quiet location at Balmoral and enjoys wonderful views across the valley.

“Rhebreck is currently being renovated and will be available from May.

“The property will be available throughout the year, with the exception of some weeks during the royal visit.”

Cash generated from the cottage will go towards the running costs of the massive estate - which costs £3m a year.

The castle and its estate attract more than 85,000 visitors and employed around 50 full time staff.

The estate is steeped in years of royal history.

Queen Elizabeth was in residence at the time of Princess Diana’s death in 1997, and since 1987 an illustration of the castle has featured on £100 notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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