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Sandringham Estate

Norfolk, England

Greetings! The next adventure took us to Sandringham House, the private home of Queen Elizabeth II. Beginning in the 16th century, the Sandringham area passed through two families: the Cobbes who held the land from 1517 and then the Hostes who took over ownership in 1686. The house and land passed through a few more hands before Queen Victoria purchased the house in 1862 for £220,000 as a country residence for her son The Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, the future King Edward VII, who then put in another £60,000 to make it more "habitable."

Sandringham is classified as a "country house" (still not understanding the country part) and encompasses approximately 20,000-acres. Queen Elizabeth II's father and grandfather both passed away in the house. Queen Elizabeth II spends most of the winter at Sandringham. Sandringham is one of two private residences of the Queen, the other being Balmoral in Scotland (where the Queen spends most of her summer). You can tour the gardens at Balmoral, but you are not allowed inside of the house. Sandringham House was opened for the first time to the public in 1977 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. Fun fact time: Sandringham has a total of 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. Can you imagine the upkeep and cleaning ALL of those rooms?!? Another fun fact, Queen Elizabeth II has a thing for jigsaw puzzles, who knew? There was one out on a table in the Saloon and according to our guide, there are "cabinets full of jigsaw puzzles for Her Majesty." The Queen is officially in residence at Sandringham from around Christmas until early February. She usually leaves after the anniversary of her father's death on February 6th. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were just at Sandringham the previous week and they enjoy having tea just outside of the small drawing room. The tour guide mentioned to us that Prince Phillip lives on Sandringham, since his retirement from royal duties.

Sandringham: https://sandringhamestate.co.uk

Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside of the house.

Sandringham front:
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Rear entrance:
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Horse sculpture of "Estimate" the Queen's favorite horse. And behind the horse is a tree planted by Queen Victoria.
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The Church, St. Mary Magdalene. If people-watching interests you, one can line the pathways to the estate to watch the royal family walk from the house to the church for Christmas services on Christmas Day.
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War Memorial:
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Museum:
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Grounds and Gardens:
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I really enjoyed Sandringham House. It definitely feels more "homely" than the royal palaces. You can tell the Queen respects and enjoys the traditions of the royal family. The estate is absolutely beautiful and I particularly enjoyed walking the grounds and gardens. They are phenomena! It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the house during Christmas with all of the members of the royal family in residence.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 00:03 Archived in England Tagged st. queen norfolk family royal ii mary estate elizabeth magdalene sandringham Comments (1)

Chatsworth House

Duke of Devonshire's Home, Derbyshire

One must see in the Peak District is Chatsworth House. Chatsworth is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and the house has been in the Cavendish family since 1549. Something to note, the Devonshire name is not necessarily the last name of the Duke and his family. For instance, the Duke of Devonshire's family's last name is Cavendish and the Duke of Rutland's last name is Manners. There is a Kennedy connection to Chatsworth. The sister of John F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, the elder son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire in May 1944. He unfortunately died in action in Belgium in 1944 and Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. Currently, the family is on the 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish.

Elizabeth Cavendish, later Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury also known as Bess of Hardwick, was cunning lady who married strategically (she had four husbands) and is often associated with Chatsworth House. Sir William Cavendish (her second husband) and Bess of Hardwick originally started construction of Elizabethan Chatsworth in 1552; however, little evidence remains of the original house. Elizabeth I found Mary, Queen of Scots, to be a threat to the throne and held her captive under the watchful eye of the 6th Earl of Shrewsberry, Bess's fourth husband. Bess teamed up with Mary during part of her captivity at Chatsworth and the two created the Oxburgh Hangings, which are on display in Oxburgh Hall.

Chatsworth House: https://www.chatsworth.org

Side of Chatsworth:
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Our tour started just outside of the North Entrance Hall, where we received a brief talk on the history of the house. We then passed through the North Entrance Hall into the North Sub-Corridor and into the Painted Hall.

Painted Hall:
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Grotto:
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Chapel Corridor:
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The Chapel was constructed between 1688 and 1693:
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The Oak Room apparently used to be called the Summer Breakfast Room by the 6th Duke.
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Great Stairs:
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Great Chamber:
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State Drawing Room:
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This chair was apparently the Coronation Chair of King George III.
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The State Music Room was one of the most interesting rooms to see. For starters, the violin on the door is actually a painting using the "Trompe l'oeil " method which uses realistic images to create an optical illusion. The 6th Duke was apparently very wealthy and very vain. He installed gilded leather walls...yes gilded leather walls... and had his portrait carved into the wooden busts at the top of the walls all around the room. When talking with the docent in the room, he mentioned a story that the Duke purportedly wrote in his diary perhaps he had gone too far with that...you think?
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Gilded Leather Walls:
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The bed in State Bedchamber was originally made for Kensington Palace. George II supposedly died in the bed. The bed was given to the 4th Duke as a gift for serving as the Lord Chamberlain.
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State Closet:
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The Cabinet Room isn't an official room in the house. It was created in 2012 to display some of the many works of art and furniture in the house. The family was hit hard by the inheritance tax in the 1950s. In all, the family owned at least five homes and they all had to be sold off to pay the tax and all of the items in the houses were consolidated in Chatsworth. Many items go on loan to various places for exhibitions. For example, currently Sotheby's New York galleries has "Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition" on view from from 28 June through 18 September 2019.
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Sotheby's link: https://www.sothebys.com/en/series/treasures-from-chatsworth-the-exhibition

Guest Bedrooms:
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Oak Stairs:
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The Library was my favorite room in the house.
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Ante Library:
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Great Dining Room:
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Vestibule:
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Sculpture Gallery:
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The House puts on different exhibitions every year (as well as spectacular Christmas display, I'm told) and this year's theme was The Dog. I really enjoyed how The Dog theme was worked into every room we went into and not just set off at the end with everything in the exhibition in one room. There were paintings, statues, modern works of art, etc. So, here is one of the pieces. Meet Bashaw, The Faithful Friend of Man...he was created by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, 1831-1834. Bashaw is made of marble and headstone. His eyes are topaz, sardonyx and black lava. The snake is made of bronze and has ruby eyes, the mount is made of gilt bronze. The piece was on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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Capability Brown left his mark on the Gardens at Chatsworth:
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I enjoyed Chatsworth and I would absolutely return. The weather wasn't very cooperative and the house was crowded. There was also construction happening on the grounds and it appeared there was some sort of event being set up, so all of that kind of took away from the grandeur of the house in some regard. The land surrounding the house was all farm land with lots of grazing sheep all over the hills. I hope we do get back to the Peak District and to Chatsworth at some point. That concludes our trip to the Peak District!

On to the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 11:35 Archived in England Tagged dog the of queen house i mary elizabeth devonshire duke brown hangings chatsworth capability scots oxburgh bess hardwick Comments (1)

Oxburgh Hall

Norfolk

Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Oxburgh Hall, a moated country house, entrusted to the National Trust in Oxborough, Norfolk. The house was constructed around 1482 by Sir Edmund Bedingfeld and remained a home to the Bedingfeld family for over 500 years. The house has survived a fire during the Civil War, neglect, and a threat of demolition. The Bedingfeld family was devoutly Catholic, and the house is famous for its secret Priest Hole. A Catholic priest may have had to hide within the small disguised room in the event of troops raiding the house. The room was reached via a trapdoor, which when closed, blends in with the tiled floor. The house also known for the "Oxburgh Hangings,"needlework created by Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury (aka Bess of Hardwick) between 1570 and 1585. These needleworks were created while Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned in England on Elizabeth I's orders.

Oxburgh Hall: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oxburgh-hall?PlaceMapClick=254

Oxburgh Hall, A fortified manor house:
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We were on a self-guided tour which started in the South Corridor and led into the Saloon:
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Antwerp Cabinet:
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From the Saloon, we entered the West Drawing Room, followed by the West Staircase:
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Artifacts in West Drawing Room:
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Ceiling:
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Staircase:
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Lion on the staircase banister:
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Wallpaper along staircase:
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After the West Staircase, we came to my favorite room in the manor, the Library:
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Secret servant door in Library:
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View from Library:
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From the Library, we were led into the Dining Room and then the North Staircase:
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North Staircase:
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From the North Staircase we walked through the Lobby into the North Bedroom and the Boudoir.
Lobby:
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Portrait of a Carmelite nun:
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Area above North Bedroom fireplace:
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The Boudoir:
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After the Boudoir we wanted into the Marian Hangings Room, which display the Oxburgh Hangings. This is where the embroideries and needlework that were created by Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, were presumably moved after 1973. Mary, Queen of Scots, was not imprisoned at Oxburgh. She was considered a threat to the throne by Elizabeth I. Elizabeth I kept Mary, Queen of Scots, captive under the watchful eye of the Countess of Shrewsbury's husband, the Early of Shrewsbury who held Mary at several of his properties throughout England: Tutbury Castle, Sheffield Castle, Sheffield Manor Lodge, Wingfield Manor and Chatsworth House, which are all located in the interior of England halfway between Scotland and London. The embroideries arrived to Oxburgh in 1761 as a marriage present for Mary Browne, of Cowdray Park, to Sir Richard Bedingfeld and were used as bed hangings in the King's Room and remained there until 1973.
These scissors reportedly belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots:
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Following the Marian Hangings Room, we went into the King's Bedroom. This room really wasn't a bedroom, it was more for show, according to the docent. The room is located right above then archway at the entrance to the hall:
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Off to the side of the King's Room was the secret Priest Hole:
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Next we took a small staircase to the Queen's Room and to the Roof:
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Views:
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The concluded the tour of the manor. We opted to find the Chapel and take a Woodlands Walk.
The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception and St. Margaret:
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Woodlands:
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Gardens on the side of the manor:
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Oxburgh Hall was a lovely manor. The cafe served the most delicious honey and ginger scones! We had a great time touring this property and would most definitely return.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 10:06 Archived in England Tagged of priest queen norfolk national i mary hall elizabeth trust catholicism scots oxburgh Comments (1)

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh, Scotland

On our last day during our trip to Edinburgh, we went to Edinburgh Castle. This castle sits at the end of the Royal Mile. It is quite an impressive fortress.

Edinburgh Castle definitely has a different "feel" to it compared to some of the other castles we have visited. It feels more "rugged" and worn in. That could be due to the fact it has been fought over, held, and recaptured time and time again. It is reportedly the most besieged place in Great Britain. The castle sits atop Castle Rock which is a volcanic plug in the middle of Edinburgh. The rock is estimated to have formed some 350 million years ago during the early Carboniferous period. Human occupation of the rock has been traced back to the Iron Age, or 2nd century AD. A royal castle has occupied the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. Oliver Cromwell seized the castle in in 1650. In its decline, the castle was used as a as military barracks and garrison in the 17th century and was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. The One O'Clock Gun is fired every day at precisely 1:00pm, except Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Edinburgh Castle: https://www.edinburghcastle.scot

Edinburgh Castle
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Views from the castle esplanade. Hundreds of "witches" were burned at the stake on the esplanade back in the day.
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Views from the Argyle Battery, facing North
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There did not seem to be a very organized way of going through the castle, so we started in the Royal Palace. We were able to see the Honours of Scotland (similar to the Crown Jewels), which consisted of the Crown (first used in 1540), the Sceptre (given to James IV in 1494), the Sword of State (given to James IV by Pope Julius II in 1507), and also The Stone of Destiny (a large block of sandstone traditionally believed to have been part of a royal bench-throne that held sacred powers). Edward I of England removed the stone in 1296 during his Wars of Independence and sent it to Westminster Abbey. The Stone was used in coronation ceremonies of most monarchs of England, and beginning in 1714, all rulers of Great Britain. The Stone was returned to Scotland on the 700th anniversary of its removal and will only ever be removed when there is a coronation in Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed of these items.

David's Tower
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Where the Honors of Scotland were hidden during World War II
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Scottish flag
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Fireplace in Laich Hall. At the end of Laich Hall, was a little manned kiosk where you could find the history of European family names and the coat of arms. We did this and it was quite fun and I would totally recommend it. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos, I am imagining because they want you to buy the histories, which we ended up doing.
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When Mary, Queen of Scots, fled from Palace of Holyroodhouse, she came to Edinburgh Castle and gave birth to James VI and I in a tiny room known as the Birthchamber. James VI was the only known monarch to have been born at Edinburgh Castle.
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After exiting the Royal Palace, we entered Crown Square and came to The Great Hall.

The Great Hall. The Great Hall had an impressive display of military arms and armor, but unfortunately, I could not get a lot of decent pictures without a bunch of people in them.
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Stained glass windows in the Great Hall
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This iron-barred opening next to the fireplace in the Great Hall is called Laird's Lug, which served as a peephole for the king so he could spy or eavesdrop on his courtiers. Trust issues, anyone? Apparently the KGB was concerned about Laird's Lug and requested it be sealed prior to Mikhail Gorbachev's visit in 1984. Paranoid much?
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Following The Great Hall, we went into the Scottish National War Memorial. This memorial was excellent and reminded me of some of the memorials we saw in the cathedrals in London.
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We also went into the Military Prison, the Prisons of War, the Regimental Museums and the National War Museum. All four were very crowded and we couldn't really see much because the spaces were so small, with single entry and exit points.

View from a lookout near the prisons
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This castle somewhat disappointed me, mainly because of the crowds. We got there as soon as the castle opened to avoid the crowds, which clearly everyone else did. The crowds made me feel like I was at Disney World. There didn't seem to be as many rooms open as there have been in other castles and palaces and nearly all of the rooms all had single entry and exit points, which was annoying. I did enjoy the history of the castle, especially the royal connections. I definitely learned a lot about the kings and queens of Scotland, which I had no prior knowledge of.

Onto the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 09:34 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh queen castle mary crown jewels scottish scots Comments (0)

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)

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