Read on to see how we made our own cultural tour in Edinburgh. So much history to see and lucky for us, no rain.
To start, we toured Holyrood Palace which is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse has served as the principal royal residence in Scotland since the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth II spent one week in residence at Holyroodhouse at the beginning of each summer, where she carried out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.
A lot of history has occurred over the years at Holyrood from the crowning of kings, wedding of the kidnapped Mary Queen of Scots to the place of exile of the future King of France and younger brother1Following the French Revolution, George III of England allowed the Comte d’Artois, the exiled younger brother of Louis XVI of France, to live at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Artois – who would accede to the French throne in 1824 as Charles X. of Louis XVI.
Behind the palace are the ruins of an Abbey that predates the original palace structure. It’s seen some better days and was mostly destroyed during a war with the English known as the Rough Wooing.
After visiting Holyrood we headed up to the top of nearby Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcano that forms several large hills overlooking Edinburgh. There are multiple routes up to the peak, we managed to get some advice on the way up about a less rocking way to the top that also was more scenic, overlooking the city.
Our route took us about 45 minutes up and down to cover the roughly 2 miles. Luckily there was only wind and no rain or it would have been a much different experience.
To round out our cultural tour in Edinburgh we visited Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Castle sits on Castle Rock at the center of the city, where a fortification of some sort has stood since the 12th century.
The castle is considered to be the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world. Historians count at least 26 sieges in its 1,100-year history.
There are several structures throughout the castle complex, including multiple chapels, garrisons and the Scottish National War Memorial. The war memorial is impressive and contains the history of each of the various Scottish units that participated in the First World War. Also in the memorial are the Rolls of Honor containing the names of nearly 200,000 Scots who died in both world wars (147,000 First World War, 50,000 Second World War). Unfortunately pictures were not allowed inside, but it was a beautifully designed interior.
There’s also a dog cemetery for the officers who were stationed at the castle which was neat to see.
All there of these locations are worth visiting as a cultural tour in Edinburgh. Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle are basically at opposite ends of the Royal Mile, which bookmark the city. Don’t let that fool you though, the walking is so easy to do with so much to see.