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Palace of Holyroodhouse

Edinburgh, Scotland

Our second day in Edinburgh, we took a short walk to Palace of Holyroodhouse, which sits across from the Scottish Parliament and next to Holyrood Park.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, also known as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in Scotland. It is located along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle. It has served monarchs since the 16th century. The Queen spends one week here at the beginning of the summer to carry out her engagements. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside of the palace, but I was able to get some pictures of the entrance, the gardens and Abbey. The Palace is probably most known for the murder of David Rizzio, Mary, Queen of Scots', secretary in 1566. The murder was organized by Henry, Lord Darnley, the Queen's second husband. He was extremely jealous of Rizzio's influence over Mary. Mary was at the time pregnant with Lord Darnley and her only child, the future James VI and I. There is a blood stained spot in the Queen's Outer Chamber that is marked as the spot where Rizzio was murdered. It was quite creepy to still see the spot there, honestly. After her secretary's murder, Mary fled Holyroodhouse for Edinburgh Castle.

The tour was fantastic, I just wished we could have taken pictures. It definitely felt more cozy than other palaces and had a more masculine decor, but still tasteful in my opinion. During the tour we were able to see: the Forecourt, the Quadrangle, the Great Stair, the Royal dining room (this room had a beautiful pastel green color theme), the Throne Room (two upholstered throne chairs for King George V and Queen Mary were in here), the Evening Drawing Room (this room had fantastic tapestries on the walls), the Morning Drawing Room, because you can't draw into the evening drawing room in the morning, (this room had a beautiful mahogany settee covered with silk and wool embroidery, and I believe this room is where the Queen gives private audiences to dignitaries), the King's Bedchamber, the King's Closet, the Great Gallery (there were dozens of wonderful paintings lining the walls of this room), the Queen's Lobby, the Queen's Ante-Chamber, the Queen's Bedchamber, and the Mary, Queen of Scots' Chambers (which are located in James V's tower). Mary's Bedchamber had a view of the forecourt. The Outer Chamber had a nice display of relics including the Darnley Jewel and some of Mary's embroidery work from when she was exiled by Elizabeth I.

Palace of Holyroodhouse: https://www.rct.uk/visit/palace-of-holyroodhouse

Forecourt of Palace of Holyroodhouse
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Gardens to the left of the entrance
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View of the Holyrood Park to the right of the entrance
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The Quadrangle
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Remains of Holyrood Abbey. Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I.
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View from Holyrood Abbey into the Gardens
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Gardens
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Despite not being able to take pictures, I really enjoyed the palace tour and would most definitely return. I would recommend going when they open to avoid crowds. We did go when they opened and there was a line.

Onto Edinburgh Castle...

Posted by LCP 00:41 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh palace of queen abbey mary holyroodhouse lord holyrood scots rizzio darnley Comments (1)

Edinburgh

Scotland

Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days. For those of us who are pronunciation-challenged Edinburgh is pronounced E-din-burrah. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. We took the train up, which took about four hours in total. One could also drive to Edinburgh via the A1. I'm a fan of the trains, so I will always choose the trains over driving! The train ride was quite scenic. On the ride up we stopped in Durham and Newcastle, which both looked like really cool cities to visit. The train paralleled the shore as we crossed over to Scotland and we had some fantastic views of the North Sea. The topography in Scotland was much different than in England. Scotland definitely had more dramatic landscapes and was much hillier than anything we have seen in England so far.

We had quite a bit packed into the few days we were there, so I will probably break out each major site separately. Our first day, we went to The Royal Yacht Britannia. The second day we went to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. And on the third day we went to Edinburgh Castle. Here I will focus on our exploration of the city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the second most populous city in Scotland the seventh overall most populous city in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh has been recognized as the capital of Scotland since the 15th century. The earliest human habitation of Edinburgh has been dated back to 8500 B.C. Enough of the history lesson, let's get on to more exciting things!

After arriving, we had a 20 minute walk from the station to our hotel. We stayed at the The Terrace Hotel in Edinburgh. The hotel is on Royal Terrace and was designed by William Playfair around 1820. Royal Terrace connects with Regent Terrace and Calton Terrace to form the longest continuous building of Georgian architecture in Edinburgh. Our room was quite spacious and we had a beautiful view of the gardens at the hotel. The location of the hotel was great for getting to all of the different sites on our list and near restaurants. It was definitely a quieter part of Edinburgh, which I enjoyed. The breakfast at the hotel was good and the staff were very friendly (it was a family run hotel). From the hotel, it took about 20 minutes to get to most of the sites. The only time we didn't walk was to get to the yacht which was at Ocean Terminal. For that, we used Uber, which was fantastic. We had great experiences with Uber drivers in Edinburgh. We also could not have gotten nicer weather during our trip.

Terrace Hotel: https://www.terracehotel.co.uk/index.php

Hotel cupola
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View from room
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View of the North Sea from Leith Docks
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We were able to get to several famous Edinburgh sites. The first full day we were in Edinburgh we had tickets to Palace of Holyroodhouse (a separate post will follow on that site). On our journey to the palace we walked past the Burns Monument which is a nod to Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, and the Scottish Parliament building. The Scottish Parliament building is across the street from the entrance to the Palace. After the palace, we walked through Holyrood Park and saw Arthur's Seat, but unfortunately did not make it up to the top. That just means we'll have to go back, ha! Arthur's Seat is the highest point of the park and is part of four hill forts dating back over 2000 years ago.

Robert Burns Monument
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Scottish Parliament
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Holyrood Park
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View from Holyrood Park looking over towards the palace. The Nelson Monument is in the background atop Calton Hill. The monument was erected to commemorate Lord Horatio Nelson and his victory over the Spanish and French fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It was constructed between 1807 and 1815.
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Edinburgh city views
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Greyfriars Bobby in Old Town. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier famous for guarding the grave of his owner for 14 years...talk about loyalty. You are supposed to rub his nose for good luck. He is so famous, Disney made a movie about him. Please excuse the random humans invading the picture.
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Some things Scotland is known for: whisky (obviously, and in Scotland it's spelled without the "e") and wool and cashmere. You can find some really good deals on wool and cashmere on the Royal Mile, which is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. There were also two excellent whisky shops along the Royal Mile: Robert Graham and Cadenhead's. The staff in both shops were extremely helpful and were very knowledgable and enjoyed educating shoppers about whisky. There were tons of restaurants on the Royal Mile, and we really enjoyed the staff and food at The Royal McGregor. The were very helpful, service was excellent and the food was fantastic. Some other lesser known Scottish things are Scottish marble and the quiach. Scottish marble is a greenish compound formed during the metamorphosis of limestone in the Highlands. It has been revered since the sixth century for its sacred and healing powers and prized by jewelers since the Victorian era. Scottish marble can be found on the facade of Westminster Cathedral in London. Quaich, pronounced "quake" is a two-handled drinking cup or bowl used for guests for welcoming drinks.

Views from the Royal Mile
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The Royal McGregor: https://www.royalmcgregor.co.uk

Whisky Shops:
Rober Graham: https://www.robertgraham1874.com
Cadenhead's: https://www.cadenhead.scot

We also managed to make it to the National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Galleries. Both places were free, but a small donation was appreciated. The museum was near the Greyfriars Bobby monument was extremely large and reminded me of the London National History Museum. It had a lot of family exhibits, but I most enjoyed the exhibits on Scottish history, which were nicely done. The National Gallery was located near Edinburgh Castle. It was smaller and cozier, but the artwork was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the small room of Nicolas Poussin paintings.

Two other restaurants worth noting were: The Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh and The Brass Monkey. Although cliche, the Hard Rock Cafe had excellent service and the food was good. And who doesn't want to collect all of the Hard Rock t-shirts! The Brass Monkey was very eclectic and the best part was they allowed dogs inside of the pub!

Our train ride back was interesting. We had seats next to a very nice Scotsman from Aberdeen, who talked the entire train ride home. He was very nice and I quite enjoyed his Scottish accent, but my introverted self was worn out after four hours of non-stop chatting.

Overall, I really enjoyed Scotland and cannot wait to go back. The people were so friendly and helpful. There is so much to do and see and it is a gorgeous country. I am looking forward to going back to see more castles and do some tours of the Highlands.

Onto the Britannia...

Posted by LCP 10:48 Archived in Scotland Tagged whisky edinburgh castle parliament nelson yacht royal mile wool marble cashmere bobby holyrood burns britannia greyfriars Comments (1)

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