Holyrood, Edinburgh

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Holyrood Palace

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Feb 14, 2014

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    Holyrood Palace

    The Holyrood Palace as well-known is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. I saw it only from outside at the bottom of the Royal Mile in at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle.

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    Holyrood Palace

    by Drever Updated Jan 29, 2014

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    Holyrood Palace home to the kings of Scotland
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    Holyrood Palace, sitting at the end of the Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, has witnessed Scotland's turbulent past. Within its walls kings planned wars, royals danced deep into the night, murders occurred. In contrast today, the Palace is the setting for State ceremonies, garden parties and official entertaining.

    The State Apartments have magnificent plasterwork ceilings and collections of tapestries. The longest and largest room in the Palace is the Great Gallery - decorated with 89 of the original 110 Jacob de Wet portraits of the real and legendary kings of Scotland, from Fergus I to Charles II.

    The room has served many purposes. Here the election of Scotland's representative peers took place after the Union of Parliaments in 1707. George V made the room into the State Dining Room, and today it hosts receptions, State occasions and Investitures.

    The Palace is best known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots (1542-67). She married the heir to the French throne, the Dauphin of France, at 15 and became a widow at 19. Returning to Scotland she took up her duties as the Queen of Scots after a crowning ceremony at the Palace.

    A group led by her second husband Lord Darnley believing she was having an affair with Rizzio, her private secretary, stabbed him to death in her private rooms. Lord Darnley in turn suffered a gruesome death following which Mary acquired yet another husband. Her subjects could take no more. Mary escaping captivity fled to England to the protection of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Suspected of treason Mary suffered in turn a gruesome death - at the hands of an axe man.

    In 1501 James IV built his Palace beside Holyrood Abbey. Later kings added extensions until a building resulted with classical facades built round a central quadrangle. Although external appearance of the apartments to the east matches those towards the west the construction is different. The earlier west side has thick walls for defence while the later east is of a residential construction.

    Mary's son became James I of England and Scotland (1603-25) following the union of the crowns and moved to England leaving the Palace empty. During the Civil War Oliver Cromwell's troops billeted at the Palace caused extensive fire damage.

    Following restoring of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II (1660-85) added to the Palace. These additions included the new Royal apartment to the east, the Abbey Church made into the Chapel Royal and accommodation on the second floor for the Court during the sovereign's visit, and for officers of state at other times.

    After the Union of Parliaments in the early eighteenth century the Palace become a sanctuary for poor and distressed 'noblemen'. In 1745 royalty returned when the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, or Bonnie Prince Charlie, held court there during his attempt to reclaim the throne for his father. The Duke of Cumberland whose troops suppressed the Jacobean Rebellion of 1745 followed.

    George IV's visit to Scotland on 15 August 1822 provided the impetus for further improvements and the preserving of the apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots as in her time - these are open to visitors.

    It was Queen Victoria who reintroduced the custom of staying at Holyrood making the Palace once again Scotland's premier royal residence. In the 20th century, King George V and Queen Mary modernised the Palace by installed bathrooms, electricity and lifts to make it a proper family home. They also began the tradition of hosting Garden Parties at the Palace.

    My wife and I have been invited twice and attended the once. It is not at all elitist for otherwise we wouldn’t have been there. It is a colourful occasion with the beverage of choice being iced tea.

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    Palace of Holyroodhouse

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 27, 2012

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    If the Queen doesn't happen to be in town and there are no demonstrations in the works, you might well be able to take a tour of this palace, which is at the lower end of the Royal Mile. This palace was the home of Mary, Queen of Scots from 1561 to 1567, and is now an official residence of the current queen.

    I have never managed to be there when it was open, so I can't speak from personal experience, but I'm told this is one of the more interesting places to visit. Since there was no access to the grounds when I was there, I simply took a few photos through the various gates, between the bars.

    Admission, which includes an audio tour, costs £ 8.50 for adults, £ 7.00 for students and those over 60 and only £ 4.50 for those under 17. There are special rates for families, and you could also get a combination ticket for the palace and the art exhibits at the adjoining Queen's Gallery.

    Update: As of 2012, admission to the Palace of Holyroodhouse costs £ 10.75 for adults, £ 9.80 for students and those over 60 and £ 6.50 for those under 17. This still includes an audio tour, there are still special rates for families and you can still get a combination ticket for the palace and the art exhibits at the adjoining Queen's Gallery.

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    Go for a walk... on an extinct Volcano (part 1)

    by JessH Updated May 30, 2011

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    John getting ready to walk The Crags, Edinburgh
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    One of the many things I love about Edinburgh is the fact that - if need be - you can escape the crowds and noise of the city and just a short walk will take you into Holyrood Park (the word Holyrood comes from the term "Haly Ruid" meaning Holy Cross.) This is where you'll find the famous Arthur's Seat (see my separate "Things to Do" tip) and the Salisbury Crags.

    The Crags are a series of 46-metre (151 ft) cliffs at the top of a subsidiary spur of Arthur's Seat, looking down on Edinburgh like a grand fortress. They are situated less than a half-mile (1 km) southeast of Princes Street.

    You'll often see climbers clambering up the sheer rock-face, but you can also simply walk up along the crags as a regular "pedestrian" without any special skills or equipment.

    Basically, you'll start at the end of the Royal Mile. There is a car park situated on the side of the Queens Drive road just behind the ancient Abbey and Palace of Holyrood and the huge Dynamic Earth science centre.

    From the car park follow the wide track known as the Radical Road (this track was given its name after it was paved in the aftermath of the Radical War of 1820, using unemployed weavers from the west of Scotland at the suggestion of Walter Scott.) This leads up and right towards Salisbury Crags, if you are unsure which path to take then have a look at the map and info board at the entrance to the car park.

    --> Useful website: http://walking.visitscotland.com/walks/centralscotland/holyrood_park_arthurs_seat

    Once you've reached the top, you'll be able to enjoy unprecedented views over the gorgeous Edinburgh city panorama... don't forget to bring your camera!

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  • mvtouring's Profile Photo

    Palace of Holyroodhouse

    by mvtouring Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Queen Elizabeth's official residence in Scotland. A doughty and impressive palace standing at the foot of the Royal Mile in a hilly public park, it is built around a graceful, lawned central court at the end of Canongate. When the queen or royal family is not in residence, you can take a guided tour. Many monarchs, including Charles II, Queen Victoria, and George V, have left their mark on its rooms, but it is Mary, Queen of Scots, whose spirit looms largest. For some visitors the most memorable room here is the little chamber in which David Rizzio, secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, met an unhappy end in 1566. In part because Rizzio was hated at court for his social-climbing ways, Mary's second husband, Lord Darnley (Henry Stewart, 1545-65), burst into the queen's rooms with his henchmen, dragged Rizzio into an antechamber, and stabbed him more than 50 times; a bronze plaque marks the spot.
    The King James Tower is the oldest surviving section, containing the rooms of Mary, Queen of Scots, on the second floor, and Lord Darnley's rooms below. Though much has been altered, there are fine fireplaces, paneling, plasterwork, tapestries, and 18th- and 19th-century furnishings throughout. At the south end of the palace front you'll find the Royal Dining Room, and along the south side are the Throne Room and other drawing rooms now used for social and ceremonial occasions.
    From the top of Edinburgh's minimountain, Arthur's Seat (822 feet), views are breathtaking. www.royal.gov.uk. COST: £6.50. OPEN: Apr.-Oct., daily 9:30-5:15; Nov.-Mar., daily 9:30-3:45. Closed during royal visits.

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    Visit the palace of Hollyroodhouse

    by bicycle_girl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Holyroodhouse

    The queen in person comes here and spend time, so in that case the palace would be closed for the occasion. The admission includes a audio guide with introduction by Prince Charles himself, and you will visit at your own leisure the many rooms of the palace. I enjoyed my visit.

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  • Canadian_girl's Profile Photo

    Palace of Holyroodhouse

    by Canadian_girl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    The Queen's official residence in Scotland. Includes the Queen's Gallery with changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection, and State Apartments (including Mary, Queen of Scots' Chambers).
    I can't really comment because a) I didn't have time to tour the palace and b) I was too cheap to pay the admission, so cheated and stuck my camera through the gate to take a picture.
    ;-) Looks like an interesting place, though, and certainly an impressive building.

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    Parliament

    by kenHuocj Written Feb 8, 2011
    entrance
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    Opposite the Place is the Scottish Parliament, Modern and having an interest in Geo Politics, the fact that during the past few days, Scottish Parliament has been in the news , means that the memories of my visit to reawakened

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    The Royal Residence

    by rexvaughan Written Jan 4, 2011

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    I read that this Royal Residence is used for State ceremonies and official entertaining, and sure enough, just a couple of weeks after we visited, the Queen was entertaining the Pope there. Darn, we were two weeks early!
    I can’t say I was disappointed in Holyrood, but have visited Windsor, and it is much larger and more opulent. However, Holyrood has some wonderful plasterwork ceilings and has wonderful portraits of the Kings of Scotland, some real and I think some creatures of legend (of which there are many in Scotland). It is probably most famous for having been the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and where she carried out some of her shenanigans. It was here that her second husband, in a fit of jealousy, killed her secretary and purported lover, David Rizzio. I enjoyed the tour of the palace, but enjoyed strolling through the ruins of the Abbey almost as much. It is a lovely place founded in the reign of King David in 1128. Its founding is said to have been an act of gratitude for the king’s miraculous escape from the horns of a deer while hunting on Holy Cross Day (“rood” means “cross”).
    Legend has it that the church was given a piece of the “true cross” by King David’s mother, and this relic became known as the Black Rood of Scotland. It is also said that the relic fell into the hands of the English and was placed at Durham Cathedral, but disappeared in the Reformation.

    Prices for admission include an audio tour and a tour of the Abby ruins.
    Adult £10.25, Over 60/Student (with valid ID) £9.30
    Under 17 £6.20, Under 5 Free
    Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s) £27.00
    Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s) £38.50

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  • FridgeMagnet's Profile Photo

    The Palace of HolyroodHouse

    by FridgeMagnet Written Feb 7, 2010

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    The Castle is definitely the highlight but I actually enjoyed Holyroodhouse more. Gives you a chance to see how the other .0001 of a percent live! Very impressive interior. I particularly enjoyed the historical tale of how David Rizzio, the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots, met his grizzly end. There's a little plaque on the wall near the ground where his body was left lying after he had been stabbed 56 times. I didn't know I was so bloodthirsty!!!

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Holyrood Palace

    by leffe3 Updated Mar 28, 2008

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    Holyrood is the official royal residence in Scotland (full title is the Palace of Holyroodhouse).

    It was originally founded as a Monastery in 1128, but has served as the royal residence since the 15th century when an official residence was built to replace the Abbey guesthouse (which in itself was already an unofficial royal residence). Among others, Mary, Queen of Scots lived here between 1561 and 1567 (the famous murder of her lover Rizzio took place at Holyrood).

    The oldest part of this royal residence is 15th century, but most of what we see is 17th century as a result of the rebuilding by Charles II.

    Inside, the decor certainly avoids understatement with oak paneling, stucco ceilings, tapestries, portraits and other gilt-framed paintings. Within the grounds (actually adjoining the palace) are the fabulous ruins of the Early Gothic (12/13th century) Holyrood Abbey.

    Today, the Palace is used primarily for state occasions, although the Queen spends one week per year in residence. The palace is closed to the public during royal residences (other members of the royal family stay here on state occasions, particularly during Scottish parliamentary sittings).

    Opening times:
    1 April - 31 October: Monday-Sunday, 9.30am - 6pm
    1 November - 31 March: Monday-Sunday, 9.30am - 4.30pm

    Entry Fees:
    Palace
    Adult £9.50, Under 17 £5.50, Under 5 Free, Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s) £24.50

    Palace & Queen's Gallery:
    Adult £13.00, Under 17 £7.50, Under 5 Free, Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s) £33.50

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  • Ben-UK's Profile Photo

    Holyrood House

    by Ben-UK Written Mar 22, 2008

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    Holyrood House, Edinburgh

    I've not been inside Holyrood House so I can't offer an opinion about a visit -- the building dates back to the 12th century when it was a monastery -- Mary Queen of Scots lived here between 1561 and 1567 and it's now Queen Elizabeth 11's official residence in Scotland.

    Full details in the below link:-
    http://www.royal.gov.uk/OutPut/Page559.asp

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    Scottish Parliament

    by clivedinburgh Updated Mar 22, 2008

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    Scottish Pariliament from the Radical Road

    Lots of ill-informed people see this stunning set of buildings as a huge money pit but having read up on the finances, I can see how the totally unrealistic budget of £50m rose to over 400. The architect Enric Miralles, died during construction, the Westminster based Scottish Office were culpable of incredible mismanagement and the main contractor threw his toys out of the pram on several occasions. So the fact that it won the much coveted Stirling Prize from RIBA as well as several other prestigious international awards justifies the fractured journey towards completion (it was over 3 years late too).

    As for me, well I didn't get round to visiting the place until May 07 and this was partly spurred on by the fact I'd agreed a sale on my Edinburgh flat earlier that day. As it happens, it was a great place to rest and chill out between trekking up Calton Hill and Arthurs Seat. There is a security check point at the entrance that is similar to an airport. Once inside there is limited access to the shop, displays and the debating chamber although the guided tours do offer greater access.

    We left being highly impressed by what we were able to see but think it will stand the test of time. As an aside, I instantly recognised the style of Miralles when I was in Barcelona recently when we passed the Santa Caterina market hall.

    All I can say is that take a look and forget the skewed criticism to make up your mind for yourself.

    ENJOY

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    Holyrood Abbey

    by stevemt Updated Jul 23, 2007

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    Holyrood Abbey is a ruined Augustinian Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey (which is sited in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse, which it predates) was built in 1128 at the order of King David I of Scotland.

    "Rood" is an old word for "cross"

    A legend relates that King David I got into difficulties hunting in the woods and was saved by a stag with an illuminated cross between its horns, then vowed to build a church on the spot.

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    Holyrood Park & Salisbury Craigs

    by himalia11 Written Jul 5, 2007

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    Salisbury Craigs
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    The Holyrood Park is an area of hills, lochs and crags near the Holyrood Palace, a nice area for walking. Well known in Holyrood Park are the Salisbury Craigs (some nice rocks) and Arthur's Seat, with about 250 m the highest hill in Hollyrood Park. There's a path directly below the Salisbury Craigs which offers a great view on the city. We went a long the path, it's a bit steep but except that it's quite easy to walk. It’s possible to continue to Arthur's Seat (see the walking.visitscotland website; there are different possibilities to climb up that hill), but we had already walked enough that day!

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