Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh (must see)

A “must-see” location on many’s list visiting Edinburgh, Holyroodhouse on the Royal Mile is an important part of Scotland’s history. It is the official residence of the United Kingdom’s monarchs and was once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots.

King David I founded the abbey in 1128 and in 1501 the palace was built next to it. Today, only a small part of the original gatehouse remains. A “palace” was a rather grandiose title for what was a large house, but it was enlarged in 1532 and 1536. The property was renovated in 1633, but during Cromwell’s time it was used as barracks for his soldiers and was badly damaged during a fire.

In the 1670s, it was rebuilt by Sir William Bruce, and the abbey chapel became the Chapel Royal which was then used until 1768 when the roof fell in. The chapel and the house were restored again in 1822 and once more during the reign of King George V and Queen Mary. They also had indoor bathrooms and loos put in.

The house is open to the public when the “Royals” aren't in residence; you can admire the delicate stucco-work on the ceilings in the Royal Apartments and look your fill at the portraits of Scotland’s kings, both real and legendary, painted by Jacob de Wet.

The highlight of the visit is the Royal Collection which consists of armor, books, ceramics, clocks, drawings, jewelry, manuscripts, maps, paintings, prints, sculpture, silverware and weapons collected by kings and queens over a period of 500 years and held in trust for the nation by the Crown.

If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the ghost of Agnes Sampson who has haunted the house since 1592 when she was tortured and put to death for witchcraft.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Edinburgh. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Holyroodhouse on Map

Sight Name: Holyroodhouse
Sight Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (See walking tours in Edinburgh)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

Creating your own self-guided walk in Edinburgh is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The historical center of Edinburgh, popularly known as the Old Town, is indeed the oldest part of the Scottish capital. Most of the buildings here, made of stone and characterized by numerous tall windows, have been around since the Middle Ages and are covered with soot, left over from the days long gone, when houses were heated with hard-coal and wood. Hence the prevailing gray color in the area....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Royal Mile Walking Tour

Royal Mile Walking Tour

The Royal Mile, a steep thoroughfare in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, is one of the city's busiest tourist destinations. It runs down a slope, from the famed Edinburgh Castle to Holyroodhouse Palace and the ruined Holyrood Abbey, for almost exactly a mile and thus got its name, coined in 1920. The succession of streets forming the Royal Mile is lined with numerous shops, pubs,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Being in Edinburgh, it is only natural to be curious about the avenues, boulevards, and streets leading to (or stemming from) the city's picturesque squares. There, you can find a copious amount of historic and religious sites, fashion stores, classy restaurants, and marketplaces, not to mention some hidden gems, exploring which is well worth the time spent.

One of Edinburgh's most...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Edinburgh Pub Crawl

Edinburgh Pub Crawl

Edinburgh is rich in pubs, both old and new, spoiling their patrons with the best in town drinks and food. Although most traditional pubs in the city are laid back, with a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, some have dance floors and double as nightclubs. This self-guided adventure takes you to several such spots, each with its own story to tell.

Our journey begins at the World's End Pub, a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Harry Potter Trail

Harry Potter Trail

Years after the release of the last Harry Potter book and movie, the cultural phenomenon of Harry Potter doesn't seem to fade away and the fandom continues strong as ever. Although by now Harry Potter has become a household name across the globe, the fact that J.K. Rowling penned some of the world's favorite wizarding stories in Scotland's capital, where she still lives now, makes...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Literary Landmarks Tour

Literary Landmarks Tour

For centuries, Edinburgh has been home to numerous writers. The likes of Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and JK Rowling, just to name a few, have given pride to this city. Fortunately, the tradition doesn't seem to die out any time soon, as Edinburgh keeps producing more and more authors and literary heroes in whose footsteps people still wish to tread.

Naturally, there is a wealth...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Scottish Souvenirs: 15 Authentic Scottish Things to Buy in Edinburgh

Scottish Souvenirs: 15 Authentic Scottish Things to Buy in Edinburgh

The popularity of Scotland stretches far beyond its geographical borders, fueled, in large part, by Hollywood's interest in the Scottish theme - Sean Connery (as James Bond), "Braveheart", etc. Indeed, the cultural spectrum of this part of Britain is enormous and comprises great...
Top 12 Pubs On and Around Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Top 12 Pubs On and Around Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a vibrant city with abundant nightlife and no shortage of places to go after dusk. The Royal Mile alone, in the very heart of Edinburgh, is laden with character spots craving to be discovered by the first time visitors to the city. This is the highlight of some of the most notable bars...
19 Best Pubs in New Town, Edinburgh

19 Best Pubs in New Town, Edinburgh

A guide to the pubs that make up the area that is called Edinburgh's New Town. A description about what you can expect from each of the locations in the directory. A fantastic directory if you are a tourist or even a...