Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

This morning, we commenced our tour at the Port of Leith where we arrived at 9.30 am for guests to tour the Royal Yacht Britannia which retired from service in 1997 and is now a major visitor attraction. This is a mini-cruise liner. formerly used for State and other occasions from 1954 through to decommissioning. The vessel is a very well presented example of 1950s marine engineering and is a popular visitor attraction.

Image below shows the Royal Yacht.

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Next, we drove round to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at foot of the Royal Mile. This is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh. The Palace evolved out of¬† a guest suite at the former abbey on the same site. However, the Palace grew and evolved while the abbey fell into disrepair and is now a romantic ruin. Most of the Palace which is evident today dates from the late 17th century.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Next, we embarked on a walk up the Royal Mile, noting the interesting 16th and 17th century architecture including Tolbooth, World’s End and John Knox House.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Royal Mile, Edinburgh

We visited the High Kirk of St. Giles ( aka St Giles Cathedral) which has association with Protestant Reformer, John Knox plus the Thistle Chapel which dates from 1910. Latter has magnificent wood carvings. Much of the building was refaced in Victorian times.

Thistle Chapel, St. Giles

Thistle Chapel, St. Giles

Next we visited Parliament Hall which dates from 1632-9 and was the former home of the Scottish Parliament which disbanded in 1707. The Hall is 122 feet long with 49 ft wide hammer-beam roof constructed circa 1640. This building is now occupied by the Scottish legal profession. We had lunch on the premises.

Next, we moved on to Edinburgh Castle which has a long history. High elevation offers superb views over the Firth of Forth and beyond with today’s bright sunshine aiding visibility. Key aspects of the Castle include:

  • 12th century, St. Margaret’s Chapel.
  • King’s Lodgings wherein can be found the Scottish Crown Jewels and Stone of Scone.
  • Great Hall with 16th century timber roof.
  • Governor’s House from 1742.
  • Barrack Block from 1796.
  • Argyll Tower from 1574.
  • Half Moon Battery.
  • Scottish National War Memorial.
  • On o’clock Gun
  • Mons Meg Cannon from¬†15th century.

Mons Meg Cannon

Mons Meg Cannon

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

View from Edinburgh Castle

View from Edinburgh Castle

Finally, we returned down the Royal Mile and then climbed up Calton Hill, a vantage point which offered superb views of the Firth of Forth, Holyrood Park and Edinburgh City. At Calton Hill can be found:

  • Dugald Stewart’s Monument,1832
  • Old Observatory.1776
  • New Observatory, 1818.
  • Playfair’s Monument, 1826
  • Nelson’s Monument, 1816
  • Royal High School, 1829
  • Burns Monument, 1830

Firth of Forth from Calton Hill

Firth of Forth from Calton Hill

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Calton Hill concluded our exploring for the day after which we returned to our lodgings. Tomorrow, we travel into the Highlands.

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