““You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Bagpipes…kilts…shortbread…lochs…tartan…castles are a few things that come to mind when I think of Scotland! But there is so much more to offer! We had never been to Scotland and we loved the beautiful scenery and the warm Scottish people! Our first stop was Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland! The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland. The palace as it appears today was built between 1671 and 1678 and stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile. The Queen spends one week at Holyrood in summer. The Historic Apartments at the Palace were once the home of the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots. We toured the State Apartments that are used for state and official entertaining and then climbed a steep spiral staircase to view the 16th century Historic Apartments. Photography was not allowed inside the palace.
Holyrood Abbey has been ruined since the 18th century. The remaining walls lie adjacent to the palace. The surviving medieval nave was built around 1230.
An exterior view of the Abbey’s south wall!
The oldest part built before 1200 is the north wall with its tall single-lancet windows with intersecting arcading below. Beautiful gardens surrounded the Palace and the Abbey. Doesn’t it make you wonder what the everyday living was like for those who lived in these places long ago?! Walking down the Royal Mile in the Old Town with Edinburgh Castle at the top and Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the 1.5 miles! The bagpiper didn’t offer a tip to have his picture made with me! Tourists line the Royal Mile with its shops, pubs, and interesting sites!
Red doors will always get my attention! Butch can’t resist a photo opp of street performers! The hanging flower baskets were everywhere and with the wet climate they were thriving! Tartan clad bagpiper The Tron Kirk is a familiar landmark on the Royal Mile. It is a former principal parish church built in the 1600’s and closed as a church in 1952.
St. Giles Cathedral dates from the late 14th century. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the Edinburgh skyline. John Knox was chosen minister in 1559. At the top of the Royal Mile sits Edinburgh Castle! A national treasure, the castle was built over centuries beginning in 1130. This intriguing castle is where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth in 1566 to the future King James I of England. The Scottish Crown Jewels are housed in the 15th century Old Royal Palace, which we found fascinating. No pictures were allowed of the Crown Jewels.
In what we might call an inner courtyard, a number of the castles main structures were open to the public. This is the Scottish War Memorial. The Great Hall and the entrance to view the Crown Jewels are also nearby.
An example of the fortification at the castle. Being built high on a hill also seems to have been strategic in being able to defend castles. Edinburgh Castle is high on a volcanic rocky crag. The interior of St. Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was constructed in the 12th century. One of the five stained glass windows that were made in 1922. This one illustrates William Wallace, a national hero and Scottish knight who fought and died to free Scotland from English rule. A well-known account of Wallace’e life is presented in the Film “Brave Heart”.The Great Hall was completed in 1511 and stands at the heart of the castle. Tourists completely filled the 94 foot length of the hall, so we missed an opportunity for a great photo! Some of the items on display in the Great Hall. I’m wondering if walking around in one of these “suits” all day would eliminate the need for a gym membership. The Governors House was completed in 1817, and is all that remains of the Calton Gaol, once the largest prison in Scotland. This house was used by Commissioners who “governed” the prison. The Gaol closed in 1927 and all was demolished in 1937 with the exception of this house.
Thank you for walking the Royal Mile with us!
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