The Queen's official residence in Scotland provides the chance to make your very own "Royal Visit".
Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX
Tel: 0303 123 7306
Historical Sites, Museums and Art Centres
Ages 5 - 12, All ages, Schools and Groups, Teenagers
(based on family of 4)
The palace of Holyroodhouse, official residence of Her Majesty, The Queen in Scotland is a great family attraction for anyone who is visiting Edinburgh. Originally built as an Augustinian Abbey in 1128, it soon proved to be too small for its intended purpose and was rapidly expanded over the next hundred years, including the addition of chapter house, cloisters, refectory and guest lodgings. The monastic complex prospered, and contained royal chambers for the use of the sovereign from a very early stage.
James IV (r.1488-1513) decided to convert the Abbey complex into a palace, and had a tower added, to provide extra accommodation. Extensive gardens were also laid out, with a small loch by the palace being drained for this purpose. Over the next 170 years, under the reigns of James V, James VI and Charles II, the palace was transformed, extended, rebuilt and remodelled and by 1679 was very much as it is these days – a harmonious blend of mainly 16th and 17th century construction.
There are a range of ticket options available for visitors to Holyroodhouse. Standard admission secures entry to The State Apartments, Mary, Queen of Scots’ historic chambers and the ruins of the 12th-century Abbey Church. Enhanced visits include The Queen’s Gallery and Garden History Tours; family tickets are available for this too. An added bonus at Holyrood (And other Royal residences) is the fact that family tickets include up to 3 under-17s.
The Queen’s Gallery at Holyroodhouse offers a varied series of exhibitions, lectures, readings and events across the year, which are all charged independently, so can be included in a visit to the Palace or as a stand-alone attraction. The impressive gardens at Holyrood cover over 4 hectares, and date mostly from the reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who found the land surrounding the palace in an overgrown and derelict state. Continually developed and kept up to date, the gardens now host the Queen’s garden parties during Royal Week (Usually late June and early July).
“Café at the Palace”, in the mews courtyard, offers a simple but very attractive menu of snacks, soups, lunches and baking, all using fresh locally sourced produce. For an extra-special treat, you can indulge in a Champagne Afternoon Tea.