Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing photos from my time in the British Isles. We are now to my favorite stop on my trip — Edinburgh, Scotland. I absolutely loved Edinburgh. It is a great mix of new and old. It’s easy to get around the city. I was able to walk most of it, but relied on the city buses when I was tired. The people are extremely friendly and, like Dublin, my gluten-free diet didn’t get in the way of me having a good time. Unfortunately, when planning my trip, I didn’t realize how much there would be to see and do in Scotland so I didn’t spend much time there. I guess it gives me a reason to go back.
The first place I visited in Edinburgh was Edinburgh Castle, which sits on Castle Rock overlooking the city.
The castle was a royal residence from the 11th century to the early 17th century when James VI became the King of Scotland and England. Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James VI in a small room in the palace. In addition to the palace, there are a number of museums to see, including the National War Museum of Scotland. It also houses Scotland’s Crown Jewels.
After visiting Edinburgh Castle, I went to the Scottish National Gallery, which has one of the best art collections in the world. I love art museums and this was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen.
I then went to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the Queen’s residence when she visits Scotland. The most fascinating part of this palace was Mary, Queen of Scots’ private apartments. Mary, Queen of Scots, led a tragic life and it is at this palace that her life took a turn for the worst. In Mary, Queen of Scots’ Outer Chamber, there is a plaque that marks the spot where David Rizzio, her Italian secretary, was murdered by her second husband, Lord Darnley. After the murder, she fled the palace and gave birth to James VI in Edinburgh Castle a few months later. Lord Darnley later died mysteriously and Mary married James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who many believed was involved in Lord Darnley’s death. Her marriage to Hepburn was widely condemned and Mary was forced to abdicate the throne to her son, James VI. She sought refuge from her cousin, Elizabeth I, in England, which proved to be a mistake. She spent the next 18 years of her life confined in various castles until she was convicted for plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I and executed at Fotheringay Castle.
If you get to Edinburgh, I highly recommend visiting both Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The history is fascinating.
Have you been to Edinburgh? If so, what was your favorite place to visit?