Palace of Holyroodhouse

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK

The Palace of Holyroodhouse remains the official residence of Queen Elizabeth when she visits Scotland, and guided tours here include her public reception rooms in the main part of the pile. History buffs, however, will want to see the palace’s oldest section, where the personal assistant to Mary Queen of Scots was assassinated—a bit of skulduggery orchestrated by Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley. In adjacent rooms are exhibitions linking Mary to Queen Elizabeth I, while the grounds feature beautiful gardens and ruins of the original abbey.

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Palace of Holyroodhouse & Abbey

When Edinburgh Castle had outlived its usefulness as a royal residence, James IV began to build a palace worthy of the Stuart dynasty. Begun in 1501, the Palace of Holyroodhouse was completed during the reign of his great-great-great-grandson Charles II, who never visited. Queen Elizabeth stays here for a few weeks annually. A tour highlight is the wood-paneled 16th-century quarters of Mary, Queen of Scots.

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