What The Royal Family Actually Does At Balmoral Castle

Plaid kilts, hunting, dogs, and the great outdoors — all things that the royal family looks forward to when heading north to their Scottish abode, Balmoral Castle. It's here where Queen Elizabeth II enjoys time with her children and grandchildren, playing with her dogs while hiking in the Highlands, and where she essentially has no official duties, as noted by The Mirror. Traditionally used as the family's vacation home, Balmoral Castle proves more than a getaway for the royals.

Every summer, the family heads north to start their often weeks-long holiday towards the end of the season, according to Town & Country. According to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Balmoral Castle shows an interesting, less formal side of the royal family. He once described his visits to the residence as "a vivid combination of the intriguing, the surreal and the utterly freaky," as reported by The Guardian. Witnessing the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, clean up their own dishes, Blair continued, "They put the gloves on and stick their hands in the sink. The Queen asks if you've finished, she stacks the plates up and goes off to the sink."

Clearly a break from the tedious protocol the royal family follows, their time at Balmoral provides Queen Elizabeth with a much needed holiday, which is likely why the castle is known as her favorite estate.

You can find the royal family grilling and spending time outside at Balmoral Castle

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as their children, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the York sisters frequenting the castle, the halls are often filled with commotion (via The Mirror). Princess Eugenie shared that life at Balmoral is characterized by "walks, picnics, dogs — a lot of dogs, there's always dogs — and people coming in and out all the time," as noted by Town & Country.

Queen Elizabeth herself drives her Range Rover all over the grounds or travels via horse while her husband mans the grill. The 50,000-acre estate has 150 buildings that house the royal family and even pet squirrels during their holidays. One of Scotland's resident animals, the red squirrel, now faces endangerment, but, lucky for them, Prince Charles finds them fascinating. Of her father's fascination with the red squirrel, Prince William has even shared (via Town and Country), "He is completely infatuated by the red squirrels that live around the estate in Scotland — to the extent that he's given them names and is allowing them into the house."

Red squirrels aside, Balmoral seems to be a getaway a royal can truly enjoy — with days filled with hunting, outdoor excursions, and even a burger from the monarch's grill.