Explore more of the Palace of Holyroodhouse during the Diamond Jubilee
During 2012, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee (including a public holiday coming up on 5th June) marking 60 years since Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne.
In Edinburgh, an ideal way to find out more about the British Royal Family is to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The impressive, turreted red stone Mansion dates from the 15th century, and was gradually developed and redesigned by each monarch from James IV and V to Queen Victoria and George V.Tour the magnificent State Rooms with their ornate architectural features, visit Mary Queen of Scots’ bedroom and view fine collections of jewels and paintings. The guides tell some wonderful stories, facts and figures to bring the history alive with wit and humour.
But this is not just a Museum of royal artefacts. The Palace is her Majesty’s official residence in Scotland and the grand salons and dining rooms are frequently used for banquets, parties and State events. The Wedding Reception of Zara Phillips, the Queen’s grand-daughter following her marriage to Mike Tindall, was held here in July 2011.
The Palace is located beside the ruins of the 12th century Abbey, surrounded by tranquil lawns and pretty gardens. This is where the Queen’s famous Garden Party takes place each summer.
The good news is that from May 2012, visitors can pay a small fee to take a special tour around the grounds, with its ancient trees, a sundial, sculpture and beautiful flower borders. The scenic views of the old Abbey and over the "ha ha" garden wall to the Queens Park with the towering Arthur’s Seat above, is simply stunning. Being able to stroll around here, gives a fresh and fascinating perspective of the Palace, as seen from the private “back garden."
Each Tuesday in August, a very special tour takes place - after hours. Be one of the privileged few who are allowed to step beyond the ropes for a more detailed exploration of many of the state apartments. Exclusive evening tours £30, pre-booking required.