Holyroodhouse Palace

Me, thinking to myself before we leave this morning. Looking at the garden outside of our patio, it rained a bit last night. Should I take an umbrella? Nah, never use it when I take it and the weather forecast app says no rain until 7pm. I’ll regret this decision later..,

We’re off to see Holyroodhouse Palace, the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland. She’s off at Balmoral, so we can visit the Palace. It’s about a mile away (that mile we walked yesterday when we decided we were too late to visit), so off we go. The weather is less cloudy today than yesterday and temperatures about 60 degrees.

Yesterday when we went through the gift shop at the Palace, we decided that it didn’t look crowded, so we did not buy tickets in advance. As it happens, Holyroodhouse Palace is literally just across the street from the Scottish Parliament, though we’ve no plans to visit it today.

Palace gatehouse

Holyroodhouse Palace

Palace has a doorbell?

Once inside the main doors, there’s a inner courtyard.

While you can walk around the inner courtyard, once you begin the tour (audio guide included), no photos inside. 🤨

It’s a pretty extensive tour, with at least fifteen rooms included. With the audio guide, the history and the people begin to tell the story of the royals, their intrigue and the linkage between England and Scotland. The palace itself dates from the 16th century, though the ruined Abbey that adjoins it dates from the 12th century and has a rich history of its own. Robert the Bruce held a parliament at the abbey in 1326, and by 1329 it may already have been in use as a royal residence. In 1370, David II became the first of several Kings of Scots to be buried at Holyrood. James II of Scotland was born at Holyroodhouse and Mary Queen of Scots‘ son, James VI (of Scotland) and I (of England, was born there.

Holyrood Abbey

Legend relates that in 1127, while King David I was hunting in the forests to the east of Edinburgh during the Feast of the Cross, he was thrown from his horse after it had been startled by a deer. According to variations of the story, the king was saved from being gored by the charging animal when it was startled either by the miraculous appearance of a holy cross descending from the skies, or by sunlight reflected from crucifix which suddenly appeared between the hart’s (stag) antlers while the king attempted to grasp them in self-defence. As an act of thanksgiving for his escape, David I founded Holyrood Abbey on the site in 1128. Holyrood means “Holy ” rood (Cross”).

There are gardens outside and surrounding the Abbey side of the Palace. The gardens were restored and extended by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The gardens wrap around to the back of the Abbey to a view of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano to the right of the Palace (but outside the grounds).

We walked around the gardens and the back of the Abbey to the exit into the front grounds of the Palace, then spent some time in the gift shop. Maintenance of the Palace and grounds are supported by the entrance fees and proceeds from the gift shop, not by public subsidies.

By this time, it was just starting to drizzle a little. That umbrella. Well, we made our way back up towards the Royal Mile, stopping for a bit in a coffee shop, then on to the Royal Mike to do a little shopping. The drizzle was light, but enough that after a while outside you could get wet. So after our shopping, we decided to eat dinner before heading back in the direction of our hotel.

Advocates Close with a view to Sir Walter Scott memorial

The fish and chips restaurant we identified for dinner is back up the hill over the North Bridge. By now, though it’s not raining hard, the clouds have come in low, shrouding the view of much of the city.

After some “proper fish and chips” (restaurant’s terms), we continued up to Princes Street and spent a few minutes in the Apple Store (good WiFi) before stepping into the National Registry House. There wasn’t much time left before they closed, so we were not optimistic we’d be able to find what we were looking for, and we were right (we didn’t).

The statue of the Duke of Wellington in front of the National Registry has no traffic cone hat like the one in Glasgow. Apparently they like the Duke better here.

Tomorrow we leave Edinburgh for London. We did not have nearly enough time to see all we’d like to have seen. There so much to see and so much history to absorb, two and a half days is not sufficient. We had one more day than this in Glasgow and felt that we saw many of the major sites there.

The British Supreme Court ruled Boris Johnson’s extended suspension of Parliament was illegal, designed to let him circumvent the law and orchestrate his own version of Brexit without them. Kind of like if Donald Trump sent Congress home on vacation so he could play dictator without them. Lots of drama in the press.

Time to hang up things to dry and get ready to leave in the morning.

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