Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The residence of the Royal Family in Edinburgh

A visit to the Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland is one of the highlights of a trip to Edinburgh for many of our visitors. You will have the opportunity to find out about the history of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Palace of Holyroodhouse


Holyrood Abbey was founded by David I in 1128. The tower to the left of the main building was built for James V in the 16th Century and the later additions were built for Charles II. Those with an interest in Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie will find much to interest them on a tour of the palace and grounds.

In addition to visiting the Palace, Abbey and garden grounds, regular exhibitions are held in the Queen’s Gallery and you may choose to combine your visit.  Visitors to the Gallery are able to convert their ticket to an annual pass, which allows you to return to visit other exhibitions throughout the year.  Exhibitions at the Queen’s Gallery are of items drawn from the Royal Collection.  We’ve visited a number of the exhibitions over the years and found them of high quality with good use of audio visual content to enhance knowledge of the subject. You can find out about the current and forthcoming exhibitions on the Royal Collection site.

gold painted doors queens gallery holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is open all year round, and there are special events at Christmas time too.  We enjoyed seeing the palace lit up with special effects lighting during the long winter nights.

palace of holyroodhouse lighting

Royal Week in Edinburgh

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is a working palace, meaning that at some times of the year the palace will be closed to public visits and in use for the Royal Family while on official business in Scotland.  Royal Week is usually in late June/early July each year, when HM Queen Elizabeth will host a garden party in the grounds of the Palace and various state functions will be held.

When HM Queen is in residence you will see some changes around the Palace.  Naturally there will be increased security in the area, there may be bands playing and the Royal Standard will be flying above the Palace.  It looks like this: royal standard flag queen

music palace holyroodhouse

Unicorn Spotting at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

One way to keep younger visitors amused on a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse is to set them on a Unicorn Hunt.  We found some magnificent depictions of Scotland’s National Animal, and wonder if you can spot any more on your visit?

Unicorn Spotting at Palace of Holyroodhouse

Accommodation near the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Calton Road runs parallel with the Royal Mile, and you’ll find Craigwell Cottage situated on Calton Road, only a short walk from the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  The cottage sleeps up to 4 people in two bedrooms, and you can find out more on our Book page, take a look inside the cottage if you wish, or if you’re ready to book, just follow the link:

book craigwell cottage edinburgh

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