on April 8, 2006
Holyrood Palace, sometimes called Holyroodhouse, is the Queen’s official residence when in Edinburgh. On one trip to Edinburgh, we could not go to visit Holyrood because one of the members of the royal family was in residence at "the wee house" as one server at a restaurant explained. A visitor may want to check that Holyrood is open before visiting. Admission includes an audio tour. We opted not to use the audio tour since our knowledge of Scottish history is fairly good, but those who haven't read up on Scottish history, especially Mary Queen of Scots, might find the audio tour informative.The Palace is located at the east end of the Royal Mile and is very accessible from the city centre.The Palace was founded in the late 15th century, but is most historically famous for its connection to Mary Queen of Scots. She was crowned at Holyrood and her Italian secretary was stabbed within its walls. Even when there are no royals in residence, not everywhere is open to visitors, but Mary Queen of Scots’ apartments are. Also open to the public are large rooms with massive fireplaces and tapestries which look very authentic. I thought it gives a feeling of what life might have been like many centuries ago. I certainly decided that people were small back then. Mary Queen of Scots' bed is unbelievably tiny and unless you are short, like me, you need to duck to get through the doors. Holyrood Abbey, which is adjacent to the Palace, can also be visited as part of the admission. It is now a ruin but was once the site of many royal events. The Palace is by Holyrood Park, the largest park in Edinburgh where the extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat, is located.The Queen's Gallery is also located in Holyrood Park. It displays some of the Queen's art collection. Located in an old church and school house, the interior has a very modern feel with some high tech equipment and is well set up for visitors. A computer can be used to see the Queen's art collection which is not on display. She certainly owns a lot of good art.Admission to the Gallery is in addition to the Palace. A ticket for a family of four for both is £31.50.
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