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Palace Of Holyroodhouse | Address, Things To Do, Time To Visit, Ticket Price & More

Wondering where to visit in Scotland, then this place is undoubtedly worth a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland. This palace is also known to be the official mansion of Queen Elizabeth II. You can explore 14 stunning and outstanding state apartments of the 16th century, beautiful and gorgeous royal gardens, and historic royal abbey of the 12th century at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  

The Holyroodhouse palace is open throughout the year for its visitors but it is closed for visitors when members of the Royal family visit there to stay in the Palace. 

The queen stays in the palace for almost one week in Summer and this is the time when they host exhibitions in the gallery and garden parties. Moreover, Prince Charles also visits the Palace of Holyrood but only once in a year while the other members of the Royal family visit the Holyroodhouse very less.

Holyroodhouse Palace History

The history of Holyrood palace is also very fascinating because it was an Augustinian monastery founded by David I in the 11th century with a beautiful abbey and he decided to live in the Holyroodhouse. 

Later James IV decided to build a palace for his bride Margaret Tudor and for his own residence near to the abbey. After the Palace was built, James V established a new tower around the palace and also added a new front to the tower in between 1528-1536. 

Queen of Scots, Mary spent her life in the palace, further the palace was renovated in 1633 for the crowning of Charles I.

Furthermore, in 1633, the place was renovated to mark the Scottish coronation of James’s son Charles I.  Oliver Cromwell’s troops were stationed at the Palace during the Civil War 

Charles II was crowned in Scotland in 1651.  Also, he started a substantial rebuilding of Holyroodhouse in the 1670s, but never returned there and the palace was transformed by the Scottish architect, Sir William Bruce.

The Stunning Architecture Of Palace Of Holyroodhouse

To form a symmetrical façade, a tower was added to the right, and new Royal Apartments were created in a sequence of richly decorated rooms, with sumptuous plasterwork ceilings, arranged around a classical-style quadrangle.

Restoration and Renovation work on the Palace was undertaken in the twentieth century by King George V and Queen Mary as they regarded it as a family home. By installing bathrooms, electricity and lifts, they were significant in bringing Holyroodhouse into the twentieth century,  The tradition of Garden Parties was also started by them at the Palace.

In its role as the official residence of the monarch in Scotland, Holyroodhouse has hosted a number of foreign visitors and dignitaries, including Harald V of Norway in 1994, Nelson Mandela in 1997, Vladimir Putin in 2003,  and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Also, in 1992,   during the British presidency, a meeting of the European Council was held at the palace.

Holyroodhouse remains the property of the Crown. As the official royal mansion in Scotland, renovation and preservation work on the Palace and Abbey falls to Scottish Ministers and is delivered on their behalf by the Conservation Directorate of Historic Scotland which is the Scottish Government’s Executive Agency. The Royal Collection Trust manages the Public access and uses the generated revenues to support the work of being custodians of the Royal Collection. 

In April 2016 it was announced that the Royal Collection Trust is to fund a £10m project that will redevelop the outside space at Holyroodhouse, including Holyrood Abbey, the grounds and forecourt. The project will be completed at the end of 2018 in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and will include the restoration of the Abbey Strand buildings which will house a learning center.

How To Reach Edinburgh Palace Of Holyroodhouse? (Updated)

Here is the complete detail on how to reach the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

  • By car

Adjacent to the Palace at Broad Pavement, there is a publicly accessible car. Do take time to reach out to Historic Environment Scotland website for more details.

Also, on a first-come-first-serve basis, accessible parking spaces are allocated on Horse Wynd, which is just outside the Palace.

  • By train

Edinburgh Waverley Station is just 15 minutes’ walk away from The Palace.  Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

  • By tram

The nearest tram stop is York Place which is a 20-minute walk to the Palace. Visit Edinburgh Trams for times and fares.

  • By coach/bus

Bus Routes 6 and 35 have nearby stopped to the Palace.  Open-top tour buses stop nearby.

Coach parking is also available, just adjacent to the Palace. 

What’s Nearby?

At the opposite end of the Royal Mile, a mix of shops, restaurants, and other attractions, is the historic fortress of Edinburgh Castle. 

The imposing fortification is just one of many things to do in Edinburgh though, as the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Dungeon, and Dynamic Earth – an exciting exhibition that tells the story of the planet – are all within walking distance.

Palace Of Holyroodhouse Tickets, Timings & More (Updated)!

COVID-19. To protect the wellbeing of visitors & staff, The Queen’s Gallery is currently closed to the public until further notice.

  • April – October 09:30AM- 6:00PM
  • November – March 09:30AM- 04:30PM (last entry 03:15PM)

Best Time to Visit Palace Of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, one of the major Edinburgh’s Tourist Attractions is open to the public all year. 

However, it is closed 19 April, 14 – 25 May, 25 – 26 December and during royal stays.

Palace of Holyroodhouse Tickets (Prices Updated)

Palace of Holyroodhouse encompasses a multimedia tour accessible in 10 languages

  • Adult: £15.00
  • Over 60/Student (with valid ID) : £13.00
  • Under 17: £8.70
  • Under 5: Free
  • Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s): £38.70

If you want to Visit of Holyroodhouse Palace and Queen’s Gallery which also includes a multimedia tour then the tickets are:

  • Adult: £20.20
  • Over 60: £18.40
  • Student (with valid ID): £17.90
  • Under 17: £11.20
  • Under 5: Free
  • Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s): £51.80

Things To Do At Palace Of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse holds exhibitions displaying works from the Royal Collection to the public in the Queen’s Gallery.

Enhance your experience at the beautiful Gallery with a free media guide, which is available in English, and also includes commentary from the experts and gives special insights into the exhibition.

You can enjoy free readmission for a year by asking the assistance staff to treat your ticket purchase as a donation

Also, baby carriers and hip seats can also be rented, but are subject to availability.  Please ask a member of staff for assistance.

The Café at the Palace also has washrooms and baby-care facilities.

Also, here is a list of places that you will love around the Palace of Holyroodhouse:

1. Royal Visit, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Make the most of your day in Edinburgh with our best value Royal Visit ticket. A ticket admits to a lavish tour to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The elegant Queen’s Gallery, and the beautiful Garden History Tour at a discounted price.

Your Royal Visit will last for approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours. We encourage our visitors to enjoy a Garden History Tour as the first part of their Royal Visit, but you are welcome to join a tour at any time throughout the day.

You should hire a guide from in front of the North Tower on the Palace Forecourt to join for a Garden History Tour. Tour times are available on the day.

2. Discover the Physic Garden

Explore our newly planted Physic Garden, with tours taking place three times a day every Saturday and Sunday throughout July and August. Discover the rich history and how this 21st-century incarnation has been created.

Originally established on a plot of land to the south of the Palace, the first Physic Garden was founded in 1670 as a place to grow plants for medicines and to teach doctors how to use these to make safe remedies for people’s ailments.

The new Physic Garden has been created close to the location of the old Privy Garden, which itself later became another Physic Garden, and the new design takes inspiration from a number of gardens throughout the history of the Palace.

3. Jacobites: Descriptive tour

In this special tour for blind or partially-sighted visitors, describer Fiona Johnston will lead you through rooms and highlight objects used by James VII and II and his grandson, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Through a detailed description of spaces and objects, and vivid storytelling, this tour will capture the dramas and glories of the Jacobites and their connections with the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

4. George Washington Wilson: Descriptive tour

Join describer Fiona Johnston to explore the work of pioneering Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson, in this special tour for blind or partially-sighted visitors.

Hailing from the north-east of Scotland, Washington Wilson was an early adopter of stereoscopic photography.

He became a photographer to Queen Victoria, chronicling the building of the new Balmoral Castle, and capturing family moments.

5. Big Royal Dig

Between 25–28 August 2006, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, along with Buckingham Palace Garden and Windsor Castle, was excavated for a special edition of Channel 4’s archaeology series Time Team.

A part of the cloister of Holyrood Abbey was also discovered by the archaeologists, running in line with the existing abbey ruins, and a square tower associated with the 15th-century building works of James IV was discovered.

The team failed to locate evidence of the real tennis court used by Queen Mary to the north of the palace, as the area had been built over in the 19th century. During the Rough Wooing of 1544, an area of reddened earth was discovered and is known to be linked with the Earl of Hertford’s burning of Holyrood.

Among the objects found were a seal matrix used to stamp the wax seal on correspondence or documents, and a French double tournois coin, minted by Gaston d’Orleans in 1634

Palace Of Holyroodhouse Pictures

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