Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, also known as Holyrood Palace is the Queen and Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland. The building itself being an architectural gem with impressive Baroque decoration.
During the Middle Ages the monarchy left the cold and damp Edinburgh Castle and settled in the comfortable Holyrood Abbey guesthouse. In 1503 James IV constructed the first palace alongside the Abbey. Many years later, James V built a tower where Mary, Queen of Scots lived between 1561 and 1567.
It wasn’t until a century later, from 1671 to 1678, that the Baroque palace was built as it stands today. It was designed for Charles II with the restoration of the monarchy. Presently, it is one of the most beautiful palaces in Scotland.
During your visit to Holyrood Palace, you’ll be able to explore the impressive rooms used for various ceremonies and the royal apartments.
The Palace is beautifully decorated with tapestries, portraits of the Royal Family and antiques. The Queen’s Bedchamber, which is still in use, is magnificent.
One of the most important highlights of the Palace is the Great Gallery. It is the largest room in the Palace and measures 144 feet long (44 m) and is decorated with 96 paintings of the Royal House. Queen Elizabeth still uses this hall for official receptions.
In the oldest part of the palace, visitors can climb the tower where Mary, Queen of Scots lived in the royal apartments.
The Augustinian Holyrood Abbey, built during the twelfth century, is situated adjacent to the palace. It is in ruins since the eighteenth century, and yet it still preserves its charm and romanticism.
A fairy-tale palace
The palace can only be visited if the Queen is not in residence at Holyrood. If you are lucky not to coincide, do not miss the opportunity to visit this impressive chateau. It is not only impressive from the outside but holds intriguing stories of love, murder and jealousy: as well as innumerable Rotal secrets.
From 1 November to 31st March: Open daily 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
From 1st April – 31 October: Open daily 9:30 am – 6 pm
Seniors (over 60) and students: £13.50
Youths aged from 5 to 17: £8.70
Children aged under 5: free entry
Family pack (2 adults and 3 under 17s): £38.70
Buses: Scottish Parliament, bus 36; Abbeyhill Crescent, bus 35.