It is thought that the palace at Holyrood was founded as an abbey in the twelfth century. Once Edinburgh was recognised as Scotland's capital, Scottish kings chose to live at Holyrood, preferring it to Edinburgh Castle up on its wind blown rock. James IV (ruled 1488 - 1513) and James V (ruled 1513 - 1542) ordered extensive modifications to the palace, which made it more of a grand house and less of a castle designed to be defended. James V's second wife, Mary of Guise, was crowned at Holyrood, and their daughter Mary Queen of Scots spent most of her life here. It was at Holyrood, pregnant with the future James VI of Scotland and I of England, that Mary had to endure seeing her secretary David Riccio murdered in front of her by her jealous husband Lord Darnley.
Since the turbulent days of Mary Queen of Scots Holyrood has been through many turns of fortune. The house fell into decline when James VI left to become King of England in 1603, but was restored on his return in 1616. After the Stuart's overthrow in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Bonnie Prince Charlie used Holyrood as his base during an unsuccessful attempt to win back the throne for the Stuarts. Holyrood then entered another period of decline, until George IV's state visit to Scotland in 1822 encouraged much needed improvements. Queen Victoria then revived the custom of staying at Holyrood, and returned Holyrood to its former status as an important royal residence.
Opening Times: Please use contact details below.
Address: Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8DX Scotland.
Directions: Holyrood stands at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, behind the Scottish parliament building. Click here for an interactive map centred on Holyrood.
Access: Wheelchair access is difficult. Telephone 020 7766 7324 for more details. For disabled parking enquiries telephone 0131 524 1120.
telephone: 0131 556 5100