Results 1-10of 16 Reviews
CA1 1LA, England, United Kingdom
May 29, 2011
From journal Weekend trip to the Scottish capital pt2
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
May 16, 2008
From journal Exploring Edinburgh and Glasgow
April 8, 2006
From journal Endlessly Fascinating Edinburgh
by Taylor Shelby
Charleston, South Carolina
March 18, 2005
The palace is quite different from the castle in that, while they are both royal residences, Holyrood was built as a palace, not a defensive fort. Today, it is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland, and if she or the royal family is in town, the palace is closed. You will probably know if they are around, but make sure to ask ahead.
Originally it was the site of the Abby of Holyrood (rood is the word for cross), and there was a small guesthouse attached, but during the reign of King James IV, the home was enlarged to be used as a royal palace. James V added many more improvements for his wife Marie in the 1540s. It was further improved by their daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, and you can see her fascinating bedchamber on the tour.
The tour is a free audio tour that you can take at your own pace, which I really enjoyed. A surprisingly large portion of the home is on tour, including the Great Gallery, which houses many pictures of rulers of Scotland, the state chambers, and the ruins of the abbey.
The most famous part of the tour is the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots. She lived here during her short rule of Scotland in the 1560s, and included on the tour is the small room in which her wretched husband held a pregnant Mary at gunpoint and murdered her favorite secretary, Riccio, right in front of her. You can also see the spot where he bled to death. This is almost certainly apocryphal, but it is a neat little story.
My favorite part was actually the ancient abbey, first built in the 1100s. Today, it is ruined (thanks, John Knox), but you can still tell what a beautiful spot it must have been. In it you can see the broken tombs of Marie de Guise's two dead princes and James V's first wife, the young, beautiful Princess Madeline. It is a very peaceful, inspiring place.
The grounds of the palace are also open, and you can get a wonderful view of Arthur's Seat from the back of the palace.
Admission to the palace is £8.50 for adults and £4.50 for those under 17. You can also visit the queen's art gallery for an extra charge.
From journal Enchanting Edinburgh
October 29, 2001
Before you enter the tall ornate iron gates to the palace courtyard with the lovely crowned fountain, check out the small stone building near the street. It is rumored that this was Mary Queen of Scots' bathhouse where she bathed 3 times a year, while her cousin Elizabeth (Queen of England) only bathed once at Christmas!
We entered the Abbey of Holyrood first which was built by David 1 in 1128 after he was attacked at this spot by a raging stag that pinned him to the ground. Instead of seeing stars....he saw the cross of Christ between the antlers, and took it as a sign to build a monastery. During Scotland's bloody history, many royals were married here (Mary QOS TWICE)or buried here. There are stone coffins built into the floor. I assume they were filled at one time. If you look below, you will see that I found one that was a bit too perfect!
Since this is a royal residence...no photos! But I would have loved to get the Queens bedchamber with the burgundy and gold canopy bed with curtains that hang to the floor. Tall stone lions surround the fireplace with blue and white Dutch Delft tiles inside.
I loved the upright Flemish linen cabinet made of wood with pretty carved red hearts on it in Mary QOS' bedroom. Her gold silk bed has tall white feathers that reach the ceiling. In this room there is also a tortoise shell chest that gleams when the light touches it.
This is very near the rounded tower where her secretary, Rizzio was stabbed over 50 times in front of her eyes by men who wanted her to abort the child
(and future king) she carried. Rizzio was dragged into the very next room, where there is still a darkened stain near the window where the body stayed that horrible night. In this same drawing room there is a life size painting of the knock-em dead queen. She was a pretty lady who went to her death in a flaming red petticoat as a message to her cousin Elizabeth that she was a martyr.
The Kings Closet has a harpsichord and harp that are matching in a Chinese enamel of black and gold that would have looked nice in my living room.
There are so many treasures here and fine portraits that I was on sensory overload and felt that a run in the garden was needed. The sun was illuminating the golden Arborvitae that formed a backdrop to the purple Salvia and the pink Astilbe. Take the hike up the extinct volcano (Arthur's Seat) for a great view.
From journal Highland Celebrations in Edinburgh
April 25, 2002
King David I was hunting on this land when he encountered a mystical white stag, with a rood (old Scottish for cross) between its antlers, taking this as a divine sign, the King founded Hollyrood Abbey here in 1128 to house a fragment of the true cross that he obtained from his mother St. Margaret. Sitting outside the city walls the abbey was continually ransacked and rebuilt, most notably by Charles IV who added an east wing and stone roof, until it finally collapsed in 1768. The original Norman door still survives as does the Gothic nave and a number of other ruins from the later 12th and early 13th century.
In 1501 James II extended the abbey guest house to act as an alternative to the drafty confines of the castle. Later refurbished by James IV and James V, the 1535 tower is the oldest surviving part of the palace and was once home to Mary Queen of Scots and was the sight of th murder of her private secretary David Rizzio. The palace was largely abandoned after James VI departed for London in 1603. The current Palace of Hollyroodhouse is largely a 17th century construction built for Charles II, but it remained unoccupied until Victoria reinstated royal visits to Scotland and it remains the official royal residence in Scotland.
Hollyrood, or Queen's Park, contains everything that you would expect from the Scottish countryside, but in miniature. There are moors and hills, a glen (called Dry Dam), three lochs (one natural Duddingstone and two artificial St. Margaret's and Dunsapie), the ruins of a chapel (St Anthony's), a 400ft high series of basalt cliffs (Salisbury Crags) and topping them all a mountain (Arthur's Seat). Arthur's Seat dominates the city and the 251m extinct volcano offers fantastic 360 degree views of the City that are well worth the 45-60 minute walk to the summit.
A spectacular place to get away from the crush of the city and it is also the location for the annual Fringe Sunday event where on the second Sunday of August the various performers from the fringe gather here to showcase their talents for free.
From journal The Strange Case of Auld Reekie
February 18, 2001
From journal Elusive Edinburgh
June 26, 2007
From journal Excellent Edinburgh
Brisbane, undefined, Australia
July 21, 2003
From journal Exciting Edinburgh
Union, New Jersey
January 1, 2006
From journal December in Scotland