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Palace of Holyrood House

Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the Queen when visiting Scotland. Once home to Mary, Queen of Scots, this stunning building and beautiful surrounding grounds has played host to some of Scotland’s greatest figures throughout history.

Abbey at Holyrood Palace

History of Holyrood Palace

Built between 1671 and 1678, the Palace has been at the epicentre of Scottish royalty since the 16th century. As Edinburgh became the official capital of Scotland, the ancient Kings chose to live in the beautiful and serene Holyrood Abbey rather than atop the exposed Castle Rock. From James II and Charles I, to Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria, each monarch has had a unique influence on the establishment and preservation of the Palace.

Holyrood Palace Today

Today, the Palace is the official residence of the Queen at the start of summer when she visits Scotland in what has become known as Holyrood week. From the end of June to the beginning of July, the Palace is transformed into a beautiful display of colour and ceremony. From the Presentation of the Keys of the City, to official audiences and a lavish Garden Party, Holyrood Palace once again puts centuries of age-old traditions into practise as it plays host to the Royal Family.

Touring the Palace

The Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots and the State Apartments are open throughout the year, except (of course) when members of the Royal Family are in town.

Cappuccino with crown topping

Step back in time and discover the different influence each monarch had in creating Holyrood Palace’s rich and beautifully decorated rooms. Visit Mary, Queen of Scots, Apartments and stand in the spot where she witnessed her Italian secretary’s murder. Tour the legendary Great Gallery, the largest room in the Palace, and behold the portraits of Scottish monarchs.

You can take a tour of the Palace and nearby Abby at your own pace with the help of audio guides. For a more personal experience, you can embark on a guided morning tour for private groups. After you’ve walked in the footsteps of the greats, enjoy a bite to eat at the official Holyrood Palace café in Mews courtyard, before exploring the treasures of the Queen’s Gallery.

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