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Posts Tagged ‘Holyrood Park’

I find the history of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh a fascinating one. 

Holyrood Abbey was founded on the site in 1128 by David I, King of Scotland, and the palace was built in various stages right beside. 

Holyrood is now an imposing ruin next to the palace which is the official royal residence in Edinburgh.

Standing at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace was built with an inner quadrangle, in the French style, and contains a chapel, gallery, royal apartments and a great hall.

Its history is wonderfully rich, one of its most notable residents being Mary Queen of Scots.  Married at just 15 and widowed at 19, Mary returned to Scotland and was crowned at Holyrood Palace. 

Among the many interesting things to see are the wooden ceilings in Mary’s quarters which date back to when she lived there.  The walls on this, the northern side, were initially built with a view to defense and are very thick, while on the opposite side, despite the external symmetry and similarity, they are much thinner and were built at a later stage.

Members of the public can  visit the infamous north turret, where on 9 March 1565, Mary’s Italian secretary David Rizzio was murdered by her jealous second husband Lord Darnley. 

It was reported at the time that the poor Rizzio was stabbed an astounding 57 times, in Mary’s presence….a tragic and gruesome tale.  Visitors to the palace since that time have claimed to see blood stains on the floor where it happened.

Another interesting occupant was Bonnie Prince Charlie – the palace served as his Head Quarters during the 1745 uprising.

The palace is open for most of the year, but is closed when the Queen and members of the Royal family are visiting. 

If you are planning a stay in Edinburgh it is well worth a visit.  For accommodation in Edinburgh visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org.

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Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat are perhaps the greatest leisure asset that Edinburgh possesses. Such a resource is pretty unique within a big city  – and they’re  only a few minutes walk from the apartment

 

Walk to the top of Arthur’s Seat –  why not take a picnic and possibly a kite!  The extinct volcano that forms Arthur’s Seat affords a superb panoramic view  (http://www.panoguide.com/gallery/1154/view_pp/?w=1280&h=770) from it’s peak of 251m – the city – Edinburgh Castle, Scott’s Monument, Murrayfield, Calton Hill, the Firth of Forth with the 2 Forth Bridges and its islands – Cramond Island, Incholm, the Isle of May. Follow the coastline from the docks at Leith to the seafront at Portobello to Musselbrugh and then along to the sandy beaches of  Gullane and beyond towards North Berwick. Then turn south west towards the Pentland hills – a fabulous area for walks, cycling, skiing, even paragliding just outside the city. You could try being there for sunrise or sunset.

Guided walk  Every Wednesday afternoon the park ranger service offers a free guided walk around Arthur’s Seat starting at 1pm. Advance telephone booking is required.

Bouldering  the area contains some fantastic rock faces – notably around Salisbury Crags – where climbing clubs often practice their skills. Bouldering is free climbing that tends to traverse the rock face. Climbing skills are tested but the climber does not climb to a dangerous height. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rA2g-vHk9g&feature=related 

Cycling. The park is encircled by a road that provides a great circuit for a bike. Three times around would be a very good work out with a good mixture of climbing, flat and downhill. For more variety the cyclist can include a loop following the “Innocent Railway” bicycle track to Duddingston village around Duddingston Loch and then back up past Duddingston Kirk on the south side of Arthur’s Seat.

Duddingston Loch behind Arthur's Seat

Birdwatching. 3 lochs in the Park area provide a great attraction for water birds. You could see anything from swans and ducks to hawks that can often be seen hovering over the heathy areas typically hunting rabbits. Join in with an RSPB bird watching event in the park.

Running. Holyrood park has been the venue for the World cross country running championships and hosts running events each year. The runner has a great choice of routes and terrain. Whether running on paths around the periphery or choosing to test himself on the steep ascents of Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat.

Sledging  in snowy weather there is endless fun to be had on the slopes of Arthur’s seat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oJ68VRijc4&feature=related

You’d be amazed at the capers people get up to on Arthur’s seat. See some of their contributions on Youtube:

Puppeteering

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy-z614vExc&feature=related

Mountainboarding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvm56afxWss

Bagpiping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_3Jght8rmw 

Sword fighting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEXlLcnmwlo

Have you done anything on Arthur’s seat you’d like to tell us about? – We’d love to hear from you!

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