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Holyrood Palace

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  • Guided tours
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
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Holyrood Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

1. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

Wander the opulent state rooms and lavish gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty The Queen’s official Scottish residence, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Once inside the baroque palace, learn about its close associations with Scotland's history via a complimentary multimedia guide (available in 9 languages). Visit the State Apartments to see the changing tastes of successive monarchs. Marvel at fine plasterwork ceilings and Brussels tapestries, along with paintings and other artworks in rooms still used by the Queen and Royal Family for official ceremonies. Go to the Throne Room to see where lunch was served to the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Thistle when a new knight was installed. Discover where the Queen holds her private audiences in the Morning Drawing Room. Continue to the Great Gallery, where Scottish residents named in the New Year’s Honours List or Queen's Birthday Honours List receive their award at an Investiture ceremony. Admire Jacob de Wet's portraits of real and legendary kings of Scotland in the Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace. Learn about dramatic events from Scotland’s history in Mary Queen of Scots' historic chambers, where she witnessed the brutal murder of her secretary, Rizzio, by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley. At the end of your multimedia tour, enjoy a refreshing drink or light lunch (own expense) at the Café at the Palace.

Edinburgh: 24-Hour or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

2. Edinburgh: 24-Hour or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

Explore Scotland’s capital city across one or two days on a hop-on hop-off bus tour. See famous landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, the iconic Royal Mile, and the Palace of Holyrood House and learn about their historic significance from the onboard audio commentary. Hop on the bus at the first stop at St Andrew's Square. From either the top deck or the interior of the bus, you can explore the city in a convenient way, catching a glimpse of some iconic buildings and sights. With your ticket, you will also receive additional perks and discounts such as discounted entry to the Holyrood Distillery, a bus ride to Edinburgh Zoo, and many more benefits. Choose between a 24-hour or 48-hour pass with stops at a variety of locations along several routes including: • The Royal Mile• Edinburgh Castle• Dynamic Earth• Edinburgh Dungeons• Real Mary Kings Close• Greyfriars’s Bobby • Lothian Road• Grassmarket• Lauriston Place• Johnston Terrace• National Museum of Scotland• John Knox House• Museum of Edinburgh• Scottish Parliament• Palace of Holyrood House• Burns Monument

Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Panoramic Bus Ticket

3. Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Panoramic Bus Ticket

Explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a hop-on and hop-off open-top bus tour. Enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the city. Stop at locations like St Andrew Square, Johnstone Terrace, the Royal Mile. See sights like Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket. Board the bus and begin your city adventure. Compare Edinburgh's Old Town, where families lived in cramped conditions and rubbish was thrown out of the windows, to the elegant Georgian New Town, with its 3 main streets and square at either end. Hear about the hangings that took place in the Grassmarket as you marvel at the impenetrable Castle Rock above you, and hear about historic attempts to capture Edinburgh Castle. Drive along the Royal Mile, which joins Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use the 24-hour ticket to hop on and off as you please. With great visitor attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Edinburgh's got it all! Buses run every 30 minutes, making the following loop: Tour Stops: 1. St Andrew Square - Northside 2. Lothian Road - Waldorf Astoria 3. Grassmarket 4. Lauriston Place 5. Johnstone Terrace - Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience 6. Lawnmarket - Gladstone's End, The Real Mary King's Close 7. Chambers Street - National Museum of Scotland 8. St Mary's Street West 9. Canongate - John Knox House 10. Royal Mile - Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyrood House 11. Dynamic Earth 12. Regent Road - Burns Monument

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

4. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route hop-on hop-off bus tour ticket. Pick from a ticket that lasts for 24 or 48 hours. Explore the city with stop options like Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Hop aboard and embark on your city adventure. Contrast the Old and New Towns, see the royal attractions of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia (entrances not included). Live guides provide English commentary on the Edinburgh Tour, while audio guides are available in up to 9 languages on the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tour. Hop on and off as often as you like at dozens of attractions, and enjoy unique, scenic views from the open-top upper decks. City Sightseeing Tour: Hear about the people and events that shaped Edinburgh, from the cramped conditions of the Old Town to spacious Holyrood Park, on a classic sightseeing tour in 9 languages. Enjoy Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories with the on board Horrible Histories Children’s Channel - history with all the gory bits left in! • Hanover Street • Princes Street Gardens • St. John’s Church • Grassmarket • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • National Museum of Scotland • Museum of Childhood • Scottish Parliament • Our Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument Edinburgh Tour: Enjoy the best views aboard an open-top bus, as live commentary in English brings Edinburgh’s history to life. Explore the Old Town and Georgian New Town, hopping off at 9 strategic stops. • Hanover Street • George Street • Charlotte Square • The Mound • Lawnmarket • Grassmarket • Our Dynamic Earth • Scottish Parliament • Canongate Kirk Majestic Tour: Leave the city center and head to the coast at Newhaven, with stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia. This multi-language tour offers commentary through headphones in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Return via the Palace of Holyrood House and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile. • Hanover Street • George Street • Royal Botanic Gardens • Ferry Road • Newhaven Harbour • Cruise Terminal • Ocean Terminal (Royal Yacht Britannia) • Leith Mills • Elm Row • Queen Mary’s Bath House • Queensberry House • Canongate Kirk

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours & Firth of Forth Cruise

5. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours & Firth of Forth Cruise

City Sightseeing Edinburgh See all the main attractions with CitySightseeing Edinburgh. There’s multi-language commentary in 9 languages and a special Horrible Histories commentary for your children, narrated by Terry Deary himself. Edinburgh Tour Explore Edinburgh's city center taking in the spectacular buildings including Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, and the architecture of the Georgian New Town with a live guide in English. Majestic Tour The Majestic Tour heads north of Edinburgh's City Centre towards the port of Leith with highlights including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Majestic Tour features a multi-lingual commentary in 10 languages.  Firth of Forth Bus and Boat Trip Board your bus at St Andrew Square in the heart of Edinburgh for a tour to South Queensferry, followed by a boat tour aboard one of Forth Boat Tours fleet of vessels. Enjoy superb views of Edinburgh and Fife’s coastlines as well as the iconic Three Bridges, the Forth Road Bridge, The Forth Bridge and the new Queensferry Crossing. Get your camera out and look for puffins and seals along the way.

Edinburgh: Old Town Walking Tour & Optional Holyrood Palace

6. Edinburgh: Old Town Walking Tour & Optional Holyrood Palace

Tread the route of royals, past and present – and let your expert guide unlock the history of this ancient seat of power. Discover rebellions Jacobites, colorful characters the hidden history of the Canongate, and the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse. Upgrade to include entry to the palace. Discover an approach to the palace that escapes the notice of history books and bus tours. As you walk down the quiet closes of the Canongate your expert guide will show you a different side of the royal city – in rich, engaging detail. Here, rebellious Jacobites clattered over the cobbles, led by a proud Bonnie Prince Charlie. And Deacon Brodie led his dual life as locksmith and thief, immortalized by Robert Louis Stevenson. In the hands of your gifted storyteller, you’ll find that romance and intrigue are everywhere – in the architecture, literature, crime, and politics, on the very doorstep of the Queen’s Palace. After the Canongate, your guide will introduce the Palace of Holyroodhouse – which you’ll explore in your own time (if option selected). You’ll find 14 magnificent state apartments, as well as the romantic ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey. The palace was the setting for many dramatic episodes in the short reign of Mary, Queen of Scots – and Her Majesty The Queen still makes use of the State Apartments for royal ceremonies.

From London: Edinburgh Overnight Tour by Train

7. From London: Edinburgh Overnight Tour by Train

Journey north to Edinburgh by train on a tour from London. Explore the city at your leisure, visit Edinburg Castle, and enjoy a hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour. Sleep overnight in a 3-star hotel to get the most of your time and stay in Edinburgh. Begin your first day with a 6:30 AM check-in to prepare for an early morning train to Edinburgh. The local partner's representative will meet you at the ticket office and escort you to your reserved seat on the train. The journey to the Scottish capital takes around 4.5 hours. Explore the Royal Mile and visit Edinburgh Castle. Admission to the Castle is included in the tour. On your tour of Edinburgh Castle, see the spectacular Scottish Crown Jewels and also take in the sweeping views of the capital’s skyline. Delve into the Scottish capital’s rich history with a hop–on hop–off bus tour and take in all the major sights like the Royal Mile, Greyfriars Bobby, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and Edinburgh Castle. Your ticket is valid for 24 hours, allowing you to use it the following day. Overnight accommodation in Edinburgh is also included in the tour. Spend an evening wining and dining your way around this vibrant, cosmopolitan city and spend the night in comfort in your 3-star hotel. After breakfast at the hotel, have the rest of the morning and all of the afternoon to explore the atmospheric streets of Edinburgh and maybe wander Princes Street to see what the many shops have to offer. Return to London by train and be sure to arrive 15 minutes before your train's departure from Edinburgh at 5:31 PM. Arrive in London at 10:09 PM.

Day Trip by Rail to Edinburgh from London

8. Day Trip by Rail to Edinburgh from London

Welcome and Departure Be present at King’s Cross Station at 6:30 AM to exchange your voucher for your train tickets for your outbound and inbound rail journeys. Your train will depart at 7:00 AM and arrive in to Edinburgh at 11:22 AM. Please print all tickets for both your return rail journey and attractions. Edinburgh – Open-Top Bus Tour Delve into the Scottish capital’s rich history with a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that takes in all the major sights: the Royal Mile, Greyfriars Bobby, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and atmospheric Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Castle  Enjoy free admission to Edinburgh Castle, where you can marvel at the sparkling Scottish Crown Jewels and photograph breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s famous skyline. Return Journey  After a thrilling day spent discovering Edinburgh, your train departs at 5:31 PM, arriving back in London at 10:18 PM. Please arrive 30 minutes before departure time. First Class - optional - includes refreshments served at your seat.

Edinburgh Queen's Gallery Entrance Ticket

9. Edinburgh Queen's Gallery Entrance Ticket

Join the thousands that have discovered the rich splendor of the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse since it was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 29 November 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations. Part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse complex, the art gallery hosts an ever-changing roster of exhibitions. Take the chance to view some of the greatest works from the Royal Collection, with pieces by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, and Artemisia Gentileschi borrowed from the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in this show.

Edinburgh: Outlander Series and Jacobites Walking Tour

10. Edinburgh: Outlander Series and Jacobites Walking Tour

Learn about Scotland’s fascinating 18th-century history on a walking tour of Edinburgh. See the locations where the TV show Outlander were filmed in Edinburgh, including the iconic Bakehouse Close where Jamie and Claire finally reunited after 20 years apart. Set off along the iconic and historic Royal Mile to dive into Edinburgh and Scotland's rich history. Listen to your guide tell stories about the Jacobites and learn some Gaelic along your route, understanding in more depth some of the expressions that Jamie frequently uses in Outlander. Learn about Celtic magic and mythology, from the standing stones to the legendary selkies — Scotland is riddled with magical and mystical folklore. It is not hard to imagine you have fallen through the stones yourself when you embark on this walk through Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. Finish your tour at Edinburgh’s Royal Residence, Holyrood Palace – where Jamie and Claire would have stayed as guests of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the Jacobite uprisings.

Other Sightseeing Options in Holyrood Palace

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What people are saying about Holyrood Palace

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 5,846 reviews

Great way to see the city. We highly enjoyed the blue bus route, I suggest going to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and see the area. Its very serene and peaceful!

You can take the tour at your own pace. The tour has listening devices so you can rewind if you want, and skip around

It is a good tour to get a rough overview. Unfortunately, it is difficult to recognize the different buses.

Easy access and entry . Not very crowded. Audio guide well done and easy to follow along

Beautiful house, very old and unusual artifacts. Easy entry with no waiting