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Edinburgh Castle from Castle street
Edinburgh city centre

CASTLES AND PALACES

From £15 per adult

Departure days

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S

January — December

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Luxury private hire tour for 1 to 4 people. We do not charge per person. The vehicle hire is 45 pounds sterling per hour. Tour length 3.5 hours.

With a wealth of historical buildings throughout the central belt of Scotland, we have chosen four very special sites to show you, two castles and two palaces. Edinburgh castle sits atop the ‘castle rock’ and dominates the skyline of the city. Archaeologists have determined human occupation of the site dating back to the 2nd century AD and it has been the site of a Royal castle at least since the 12th century at the time of King David 1st. The earliest surviving building within the complex is St. Margaret’s chapel, also dating back to that time. Many wars and sieges raged around the castle over the intervening years, and the stronghold featured greatly in the wars of independence. It was also used as an arsenal and armaments factory, but by the 17th century its role became more military and it was strongly garrisoned. Recently it has been identified that the castle underwent some 26 sieges in its history making it the most besieged in Great Britain and the most attacked in the world! The military role is now ceremonial but it does house the National War memorial, the National War Museum of Scotland and the Regimental Museums of the Royal Scots and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The Scottish Crown Jewels, the oldest surviving set of crown jewels in the British Isles are kept in the Castle and it is the regimental headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held annually on the Castle Esplanade, which attracts performers and visitors from around the globe. Edinburgh Castle sits at the top of the Royal Mile and the first palace of our tour, The Palace of Holyrood House sits at the foot of the Royal Mile.

To give it its correct title, The Palace of Holyrood House, is Scotland’s official Royal residence and has served as such from the 16th century. The palace as it exists today was built in the 1670’s with the exception of the earlier 16th century tower. The ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey are also within the Palace grounds as is Queen Mary´s Bathhouse, a quaint structure dating to the late 1500s. The name Holyrood is thought to be derived from a vision of the holy cross seen by King David I or from a relic of the ‘True Cross’ or “Holy Rood”, which belonged to his mother Queen Margaret. Throughout the centuries the palace played an important role in Scottish life until its union with England in 1707 when it lost its principal functions. Interestingly, in the 16th.century, the whole of Holyrood park became a sanctuary for bad debtors who were immune to arrest and imprisonment whilst within the grounds. They could leave the sanctuary without fear on a Sunday, as no arrests were permitted on the Lords day and Constables were appointed to police and control the area, their successors became the ceremonial palace guard. The palace is open all year round to the public, except when the Monarch is in residence.

Our second castle is Stirling Castle dating from the 12th century, another site greatly fought over, which repeatedly changed hands throughout the ages. Like Edinburgh castle, it is surrounded by steep cliffs making it easier to defend and it was added and expanded to over the centuries. Many of the structures within the castle complex date from the 15th and 16th centuries, although there are some dating to the 14th. Prior to the union of the crowns, the castle was a Royal residence and was as much a palace as a castle. Several Scottish monarchs were crowned at the castle, including Mary Queen of Scots. After the union of the crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland took on the title of King James I of England and Ireland and became ruler of the whole of the British Isles, the castle became far more important militarily. In modern times the castle has become home to the Headquarters of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment and the Regimental museum.

Originally a 12th century hunting lodge, Falkland Palace was expanded in the 13th century and became a castle in the hands of the Clan MacDuff, the Earls of Fife. Over a period of 40 years in the 1500s, under James IV and James V, the castle was transformed into a wonderful Royal palace, one of only 2 renaissance palaces in Scotland. French master masons were brought over to work alongside local Scottish craftsmen by James V, who married two French Queens in his life, to remodel the Castle into a beautiful Palace. King James V built a ‘real tennis court’ at the palace where Mary Queen of Scots scandalised the court by wearing men’s pantaloons to play. This is the oldest ‘real tennis court ‘ in the world and is open to visitors. During the 17th century, the palace was damaged by fire during its occupation by Cromwell’s troops but in 1887, the Marquis of Bute purchased the castle and estate, which by this time had fallen into disrepair, with no doors or windows. With a healthy budget, the Marquis restored much of the palace and his works have preserved it to this day, for visitors to enjoy.

This is a driving tour of approx 4 hours, including coffee and lunch break. If you wish to visit any of the attractions, time must be added to your tour accordingly. If you are a keen history person and you really want time to wander round these stunning locations and drink in the atmosphere, you need to allow one full day to two days. Please contact us for advice. Please note the price for this tour is 45 pounds per hour, for 1 - 4 people, we do not charge per person. For further information please contact us at www.fifetours.com   

Contact details

fifetours.com
40
MacPherson Avenue
Dunfermline
Scotland
KY11 8XA
Starting
Dunfermline Edinburgh Kirkcaldy, Leven and District
Length
½
Day
Type
Bespoke Private
Languages
English Spanish
Themes
Castles History Landscapes Photography

Tour prices

From

  • £15 Per Adult
Book now

Prices are subject to change depending on season

Attractions

Tour company information

fifetours.com

We are a family owned luxury private tour and transfer company for up to 8 passengers. Our aim is to show you the very best of The Kingdom of Fife, Central Scotland, Edinburgh and the Borders. We offer a range of tours and also the ability to have a bespoke tour, where you can visit exactly what YOU want to visit. You will be driven in privacy, safety and comfort, stopping where YOU want to stop and spending the time YOU want to spend at any given location. We also offer airport and social event transfers. Call us today to discuss YOUR tour of beautiful Scotland or transfer.

Opening times

We are open to discuss your requirements 9am - 6pm Monday to Sunday all year. Tours are any day of the week you choose, with a start and finish time convenient to you.

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