Holyrood Palace – The Queen’s Official Scottish Residence

Holyrood Palace Has Been the Royal Residence of Many Kings and Queens:

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Holyrood Palace © Travel Signposts..

Holyrood Palace, or Palace of Holyroodhouse as it is officially called, is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland.  This Edinburgh Palace is located at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, just at the bottom end of the Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

During the Queen’s annual Holyrood week, usually from the end of June to the beginning of July, she carries out her official functions here.  She and other members of the Royal Family regularly use the Royal Apartments for State ceremonies and official entertaining.

Since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the Palace has seen increased usage by members of the Royal Family.  It is at Holyrood Palace that the Queen meets and appoints the head of the Scottish Government, known as the First Minister of Scotland.  However, when she is not performing official duties, the Queen retreats to Balmoral Castle which is her private residence.

Home to Many Kings and Queens

Holyrood Palace has been a royal residence since the 15th century and it has been the home of many Scottish kings and queens, including Mary, Queen of Scots.  The Palace has witnessed many dramatic events especially during Mary’s turbulent reign, including the infamous murder of her secretary by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley.  Bonnie Prince Charlie also used the Palace briefly as his headquarters during the 1745 Jacobite uprising.

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Queen's Gallery © Travel Signposts

On a tour of Holyrood House visitors can see the Royal Apartments with their fine plasterwork ceilings, unique collection of Brussels tapestries and other magnificent furnishings.  Here and there are monograms, shields, etc. that link the Palace to its past inhabitants.  The Great Gallery is one of the most famous rooms, in which one can see Jacob de Wet’s portraits of the legendary kings of Scotland.  Also included in the tour is the display of the Order of Thistle, the highest honour bestowed upon Scottish men and women who have contributed to public life.

Together with the Palace tour, you can also visit the Queen’s Gallery, a purpose-built, state-of-the-art exhibition facility.  Here visitors will have to opportunity to see works of art from the Royal Collection.

Holyrood Palace is open to visitors throughout the year, except for certain public holidays and during royal visits.  Getting here is easy.  From Edinburgh Castle, we strolled down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace.  After your visit of the Palace you can catch the local bus back into town or stay in the area and explore the many other attractions in the vicinity such as the Parliament house and St. Giles Cathedral.

A much better way to see the sights of Edinburgh if you don’t have a lot of time is to do an Edinburgh City Hop-on Hop-off tour which covers most of the major sights of Edinburgh.

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