Edinburgh has a few royal sights: the Castle, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Yacht Britannia. I've visited all of them and am still fascinated. I mean I've visited places the Queen has been or still is using, where she eats, where she once slept.....
I've seen the dining room in Holyrood Palace where she sits and eats with the world's most important politicians (and she doesn't sit at the end of the table as I always thought but in the middle to make conversation easier). I've also seen the Honeymoon Suite of Charles and Diana on the Royal Yacht.....soooo awesome!
Probably for Scots this isn't fascinating at all but as I come from a country where we haven't had royals for more than a 100 years, I always get excited when I come to a country that still has kings and queens. And if we still had them in Germany, you probably wouldn't be able to visit their castles, let alone come near them.
I love how the Royals let you visit their castles and palaces in Britain and how nice you are treated there. There is no snobbism - at least I haven't experienced any in Scotland. And the Crown Jewels....you can see them in Edinburgh's Castle, amazing isn't it?
But okay, let's talk about the sights. So Edinburgh Castle is on a hill in the city centre at one end of the Royal Mile. At the other end you find Holyrood Palace, therefore it's the Royal Mile ;)
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most attacked castles in the world, though it certainly doesn't look like it! It has become Edinburgh's most popular sight and offers a gorgeous view of Edinburgh from above!
The rock the castle sits on has actually been settled since the Iron Age and it makes total sense to place the castle there to protect it from intruders. Plus, how stunning does it look? I mean the castle totally blends in with the enviroment!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VISIT EDINBURGH CASTLE
- The castle can be visited every day (except Christmas) between 9.30am and 5pm (6pm in summer)
- an adult ticket costs £17
- it's a short walk from the old town of Edinburgh and the Royal Mile
- make sure to come around noon to experience the firing of gun shots at 1pm
- there's guided tours and audio guides available
Holyrood Palace is the residence of the Queen whenever she visits Edinburgh. Parts of it, namely the former apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, are open for the public though when the Royal Family is not visiting.
The palace also hosts the Queen's Gallery - and a posivitely spooky, ancient abbey!
I can only recommend to visit both, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, when you are in Edinburgh. The castle offers you great architecture and amazing views on Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth whereas you find amazing paintings and nicely decorated rooms in the palace.
Next to the palace you can also find the Scottish Parliament (which you can visit for free) and Arthur's Seat (the volcano) and it isn't far to Calton Hill (the small volcano) from there so the other end of the Royal Mile is definitely worth a visit!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VISIT HOLYROOD PALACE
- you can visit the palace year-round from 9.30am to 6pm (5.30pm in winter)
- tickets costs £12.50 if you only want to visit the palace or £17.50 if you want to visit the gallery as well
- the local hop on/hop off busses stop at the palace and so do bus 6 and 35 if you prefer public transport
The Scottish Parliament
Not quite royal but the Scottish Parliament is no ordinary building. Only built in 1999 and opened in 2004, it has got to be one of the most modern parliament buildings in Europe. It was designed by the Spanish architect Enric Miralles who sadly didn't get to witness the opening of the building as he died in the year 2000.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VISIT THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT
- visiting the parliament building is free and you can even do a tour that also costs you nothing
- opening hours are from 10am to 5pm
- you can choose between the general tour, the art tour, the history tour, the literature tour and the achitecture tour
The Royal Yacht Britannia
I also went to Leith, where the Royal Yacht Britannia is situated in the Ocean Terminal, which basically is just one of the usual shopping malls only that it is at the waterfront. I really enjoyed this visit. One reason for that is that I simply love the sea and harbours and ships (although I do get seasick but that's another topic).
Another reason is that they created a little time travel on the yacht. On the upper decks you feel like you are in the 1960s. That is where you find the bedrooms, offices, the huge dining room and the huge living room of the royals. Everywhere are nice pictures of the royal family as if they still spend their summers on the ship.
On the lower decks you are in the 1980s. That is where the sailors had their bedrooms and their pub. It isn't meant to be a time travel but it just feels like it. They cared for details and this is why a visit to the yacht is so rewarding.
They even opened a cafe on the yacht for visitors where you can get fancy expensive food and get treated like a princess :)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VISIT THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA
- you can visit the yacht between 10am and 3.30pm during winter / 9.30am and 4.30pm during summer
- an adult ticket costs £15.50
- you can get an audio guide included in the entrance fee
- you can get here by either using the hop on/hop off busses or by public transport using bus 11, 22 or 35