Holyrood Palace

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, His Majesty The King'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 King 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 King holds his private audiences in the Morning Drawing Room. Continue to the Great Gallery, where Scottish residents named in the New Year’s Honours List or Kings 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 Tour

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

Explore Scotland’s capital city across one or two days on two typical hop-on hop-off bus tours. Choose between the City Tour or Britannia Tour, depending on your itinerary of preference. See historical 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 and make sure to embark on the correct bus based on your Tour chosen: the Britannia and City Tour, depending on which attractions you would like to see. The City Tour will give customers the chance to see the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth, and Palace of Holyrood House, whereas Britannia takes in the Royal Botanic Garden, Royal Yacht Britannia, and Haymarket. 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. The City Tour includes: • St Andrews Square • Lothian Road • Grassmarket • Lauriston Place • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle, Lawnmarket • National Museum of Scotland • Holyrood Distillery • Museum of Edinburgh • Scottish Parliament • Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument The Britannia Tour includes the following stops: • St Andrew Square • Royal Botanic Garden • Newhaven Harbour • Royal Yacht Britannia • Water of Leith • Broughton Road • Stockbridge • The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art • Haymarket • Edinburgh International Conference Centre • Bread Street • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

3. Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

Make getting around Edinburgh's top sights easy with a 48-hour Royal Edinburgh hop-on, hop-off bus ticket. Dive into the history and culture of Scotland with access to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Easy to use, the all-inclusive ticket is fantastic value if you want to go to Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The ticket also includes 48-hour unlimited travel on three of Edinburgh's hop-on-hop-off bus tours; Edinburgh City Sightseeing, Edinburgh Tour, and Majestic Tour. Use the bus to reach the attractions, leaving the city behind and heading to the coast at Newhaven through Edinburgh’s New Town. With stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia, it couldn’t be simpler. As the bus returns to the city center, you can jump off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile to walk up to Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

4. Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

Enjoy a theatrical sightseeing tour of Edinburgh onboard the Ghost Bus, a beautifully refurbished vintage double-decker, painted in traditional midnight black. Learn about Edinburgh’s grave robbers, plague victims, and the ghosts that reside in the most haunted city in Europe. Explore the city's gruesome past, while admiring its most famous monuments, including Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriar's Kirk, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile. As you traverse the Old Town and New Town, visit the sites of murders, tortures, and executions. Hear about the infamous Burke and Hare, and the hundreds of women who were drowned or burned as witches. The bus, which belonged to the Necropolis Bus Company, boasts decorative features that include atmospheric lamps and window curtains. In 1967, the entire fleet was destroyed in a mysterious fire, and only one bus survived.

Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

5. Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

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

6. 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

Day Trip by Rail to Edinburgh from London

7. 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: Outlander Series and Jacobites Walking Tour

8. 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.

Edinburgh: The Royal City Tour from London

9. Edinburgh: The Royal City Tour from London

Edinburgh The train from London's King Cross Station arrives at the Royal City of Edinburgh at around 11.30am. Right by the station you board the open-top sightseeing bus where you'll get a bird's-eye view of this majestic city! The hop-on hop-off ticket allows you the freedom to leave and re-join the bus as often as you like. You will see the Old Town quarter, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, the gloriously intricate Scott Monument, the Palace of Holyrood House and the brand new Scottish Parliament building. You might want to wander through the cobbled city centre streets or stroll along Princes Street checking out the tartan, whisky and shortbreads that have made Scotland famous! Your tour includes tickets to Edinburgh Castle. The train back to London leaves Edinburgh in the late afternoon returning to London's King's Cross at around 10:30pm.

Edinburgh: Old Town Walking Tour & Optional Holyrood Palace

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Holyrood Palace

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 7,947 reviews

It was so much fun! We were shown around the oldest graveyard and the interaction between our group and the tour guide was just amazing, so funny, spooky and also extremely interesting with the historical aspects of Edinburgh.

Fantastic experience. Great story telling about the dark side of Edinburgh with a touch of comedy. Kids loved it too. Would definitely recommend.

Worth the visit. Interesting place with rich and sensational history. The multimedia was helpful and insightful.

This is a great family experience, Fun anad informative.

Great way to get an overview of the city. loved it