Officially called the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Holyrood Palace is the Scottish residence of the British royal family. When Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in Edinburgh at the start of summer, this is where she stays.
Holyrood Palace is located at the foot of the historic Royal Mile and sits on the edge of Holyrood Park, opposite the open greenery of the Arthur’s Seat crags, and next to the Scottish Parliament.
The building was originally an Augustinian abbey, now a ruin, and was founded in 1128. The palace as it stands today was built between 1671 and 1679 in a baroque style and consists of a main courtyard with both a north-west and south-west tower.
Historically, this palace has been residence to many king and queens, most famously Mary Queen of Scots, who spent time there from 1542 to 1567. To this day, the palace is used as an official residence, which means that when the Queen is visiting she will perform traditional duties and attend public engagements.
Discover the Scottish royal residenceDuring a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, you can see the state apartments as well as other extraordinary spaces, including Mary Queen of Scot’s living chambers. The Queen’s Gallery opened to the public in 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It hosts changing exhibitions from the royal collection.
Guided tours of the palace’s highlights are available and recommended. Free audio guides in several languages can be used to guide you through the palace. For a more personal touch, in the summer months guides will escort you around the palace and are happy to impart their vast knowledge of this historic building and share local stories.
The Palace of Holyrood House is open throughout the summer, except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.