Begin a rich, historical journey of Scotland’s capital city at Edinburgh Castle, perched on its own volcanic rock at the top of the Royal Mile. Located at the heart of Edinburgh, admire the views of the castle before you head up, and then gaze out across the city, beyond the buildings of Princes Street to the Firth of Forth and Fife.
There’s much to see and admire at Edinburgh Castle, the mighty fortification and favoured residence of Scotland’s monarchs. Enter the little room where the future King James VI, first monarch of both Scotland and England, was born in 1566, look out for the Crown Room where the Scottish Crown Jewels are kept, and see the Stone of Destiny, used to crown previous Scottish monarchs for centuries. Hunt for the carved lions, a symbol of royalty, and don’t miss the impressive Great Hall with its Victorian stained glass windows commemorating Scotland’s kings and queens.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, can be reached by following the Royal Mile – a beautiful attraction in its own right. The Royal Mile actually incorporates four streets – Canongate, High Street, Lawnmarket and Castlehill. The medieval buildings on the Royal Mile evoke a unique and timeless atmosphere.
Nestled in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat and opposite the Scottish Parliament building, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is well-known as the former home of Mary Queen of Scots and is where Scotland’s kings and noblemen assembled for hunts. The palace is home to centuries of fascinating history, including the imposing royal apartments which include Mary Queen of Scots’ Chambers – the setting for many dramatic episodes in Mary’s short and turbulent reign. Mary’s Bedchamber, described as ‘the most famous room in Scotland’ and her Outer Chamber, the scene of David Rizzio’s murder, are a must. Don’t miss the throne room and the great gallery where over 80 beautiful 17th century portraits of Scottish monarchs are displayed, as well as the wonderful Queen’s Gallery, a permanent space for changing exhibitions from the Royal Collections.
Complete your day with a relaxing walk in Holyrood Park, also known as the Queen’s Park, which offers a microcosm of the best Scottish scenery including mountains, marshes and moorland.