This evening, I am posting information on one of Edinburgh’s top visitor attractions, namely the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This is conveniently located at foot of the Royal Mile and close to other attractions including the Scottish Parliament and Calton Hill.

Holyroodhouse is a working royal palace and official residence of the British monarch in Scotland.

The Palace originated as a guest house for visitors to the Abbey of Holyrood which was founded as an Augustinian abbey in 1128 by King David I of Scotland (1124-53).

James IV (1488-1513) instigated the conversion of the lodgings into a palace and suitable home for his bride, Margaret Tudor. Extensions and embellishments were undertaken during the reign of James V (1513-42). The palace is closely associated with events surrounding Mary, Queen of Scots short reign during the period 1542-67 including the murder of Mary’s secretary, David Rizzio.

Mary’s son, James VI (1567-1625) took up residence and instigated further improvements. Anne of Denmark was crowned in the abbey in 1590. However, after James VI assumed the English crown and moved to London the palace diminished in importance. During the English civil war the palace was used as a barracks by Cromwell’s troops and suffered damage by fire. Restoration of the palace occurred under Charles II (1660-85) using the services of Scottish architect, Sir William Bruce and the result is, more or less, how we see it today. Subsequent royal visitors/residents include Prince Charles Edward Stuart, George IV, and Queen Victoria.

A tour of the palace will include:

  • James IV’s gatehouse fountain.
  • The Great Stair and Royal Dining Room
  • The King’s Apartments.
  • The Queen’s Apartments.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots’ Chambers
  • Remains of the Abbey Church
  • ‘Queen Mary’ sundial

Self-guided audio tours are the best way to tour the palace.

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