Where is the Palace of Holyroodhouse? Inside the residence that was the Queen's official Scottish home

The Palace of Holyroodhouse was the Queen's official residence in Scotland

Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland, where the Queen's coffin will rest for one evening
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Palace of Holyroodhouse was Queen Elizabeth II's official Scottish residence during her reign and is where her coffin rested for one night as part of its journey from Balmoral to London. 

  • The Palace of Holyroodhouse was Queen's official residence in Scotland despite many wrongly believing that it was Balmoral Castle
  • The Queen would usually stay at the Edinburgh palace once a year in the summertime and last visited in June 2022. 
  • The Palace of Holyroodhouse is where the Queen's coffin rested for one night as part of the journey from Balmoral to London for her funeral. 

One of the Queen's least frequented homes was the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Incredibly, the British monarch typically stayed in the historic building for only one week a year. However, the palace played a key part in the days following Her Majesty's death. 

Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 on September 8th 2022, with a statement from Buckingham Palace confirming she had passed away "peacefully" at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire. 

As part of the process of taking the Queen's body to London, where the late monarch will lie in state for three days, her coffin rested at Holyroodhouse for one night, before being taken to St Giles Cathedral so that Scottish mourners could pay their respects. 

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral is set to take place on Monday September 19th, 11 days after her passing. The Queen's journey to her final resting place began on Sunday when her coffin left Balmoral, accompanied by Princess Anne, to be taken to Holyroodhouse.

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Her Majesty's coffin rested in the palace's Throne Room before a procession was formed on the forecourt to carry the coffin to St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, where the Queen's children, King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. 

The new King and his siblings stood vigil over her coffin at St Giles' Cathedral, before it was set to remain there for 24 hours.

Despite rarely hosting the Royal Family, Holyroodhouse is still a major attraction for tourists and locals alike and plays a huge part in royal protocol. Take a closer look at its history as the palace marks an incredibly poignant day in the wake of the death of Her Majesty the Queen. 

What is it like inside the Palace of Holyroodhouse? 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is exactly what you'd expect - palatial. 

Its outside grounds include beautifully manicured gardens, a large castle yard, an ornate foundation, and a memorial statue to Edward VII. 

Inside the sprawling palace you'll find a dining room set for thirty, a throne room bedecked with royal portraits, and a morning drawing-room wall-to-wall in French tapestries. Visitors are also free to explore the King's sleeping chamber, which features a red four-poster bed and an ornate fireplace. 

There's also a spacious gallery and an elaborately decorated staircase. 

The Queen last paid a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in June 2022 for Royal Week, during which she was joined by Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex for the Ceremony of the Keys. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI at Holyrood House Palace

(Image credit: Getty)

Where is the Palace of Holyroodhouse?  

The Palace of Holyroodhouse sits at the tip of the Royal Mile, the Scottish capital's most famous street. Less than a 20 minute walk away, on the other end of the street, you can find Edinburgh Castle, an 11th-century fortress with some breathtaking city views. The entire district is a magnet for royal fans, promising an abundance of glimpses into the British monarchy's historical and cultural impact on Scotland. 

Holyrood Palace at Royal Milefrom Calton Hill. Edinburgh. Lothian Region. Scotland. U.K.

(Image credit: myLoupe/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Can you visit the palace of Holyroodhouse?

In the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, all royal residences are closed to the public. Residences will remain closed until after the Queen's funeral, as part of a national period of mourning. 

Under usual circumstances, the Palace of Holyroodhouse (opens in new tab) is open to the public and tickets can cost from $21.30 (£17.50) to $22.50 (£18.50) for adults, depending on the season. The ticket includes a multimedia guide that allows visitors to explore the attraction at their own pace. 

Holyroodhouse

 Dining Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse

(Image credit: PA/Alamy)

History of the Palace of Holyroodhouse 

Often shortened to 'Holyroodhouse', the iconic royal residence dates all the way back to the 12th century. 

It wasn't always a plush palace though. The very first building to grace the site was actually a small Augustinian abbey, which was created in 1128 by David I, the King of Scotland. As time went on, more monastic buildings were added to accommodate the community's large population. These chambers were used by the king himself, who was known for his strong Christian faith and religious reform. 

The Ancient Royal Palace of Holyrood. Edinburgh', mid 19th century. Military parade in front of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Palace of Holyroodhouse was founded as a monastery in 1128. It served as the principal residence of the kings and queens of Scotland from the 15th century. The palace in its present form dates from the reign of Charles II who had it rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire when Oliver Cromwell and his troops visited Edinburgh in 1650. Artist Unknown. (Photo by Print Collector/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Print Collector/Getty Images)

Fast-forward nearly 400 years and you'll find the very first Palace of Holyroodhouse. The chambers were converted by James VI, a presumably less religious king, to create a luxurious home for him and his new wife, Margaret Tudor. 

Unfortunately, none of the original extensions have survived today. Over the next 100 years, the palace was hit with a series of challenges, including a destructive fire. It underwent an extensive makeover between 1671 and 1674 after the reigning king, Charles II, enlisted a high-skilled architect to restore its beauty. With the exception of some modern renovations in recent centuries - such as central heating - the palace has remained largely unchanged since 1679. 

How much is the Palace of Holyroodhouse worth? 

The value of the Palace of Holyroodhouse remains unknown, and as an official royal residence, it's unlikely to go on the market any time soon. And even if it did, it would only be available to the mega-wealthy of society. The Royal Family's real estate net worth is estimated to clock in at $18 billion, with Buckingham Palace worth about $5 billion alone. 

Palace of Holyroodhouse - EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JUNE 28: Queen Elizabeth II presents Her Majesty's Medal for Music for the year 2021 to John Wallace CBE at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh on June 28, 2022. Mr Wallace was presented by Judith Weir, Master of the Queen's Music. Members of the Royal Family are spending a Royal Week in Scotland, carrying out a number of engagements between Monday June 27 and Friday July 01, 2022.

(Image credit: Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Who lives at Holyroodhouse? 

While the Palace of Holyroodhouse was Queen Elizabeth II's official Scottish residence, Holyroodhouse didn't see much of Her Majesty throughout the year. 

The busy monarch, who reigned for 70 years before her death in September 2022, visited the palace every summer to host various royal engagements, but rarely stayed longer than a week. During this trip, which usually occurred between the end of June and the beginning of July, Holyroodhouse was off-limits to the public. 

The duties involving Holyroodhouse will now be undertaken by the new monarch, King Charles III, who ascended the throne when his mother passed away and it will now become his official Scottish residence.

Aerial view of Holyrood palace, 1671-1679, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, 17th century.

(Image credit: DEA / M. BORCHI / Contributor/Getty Images)

Prior to becoming monarch, King Charles III typically checked into Holyrood for one week every year. The King no doubt holds prominent childhood memories of Holyroodhouse, having performed his very first royal duty there in June 1965.

At just 16, King Charles, who was then Prince Charles, greeted hundreds of young Scottish and Commonwealth students at a summer garden party at the extravagant house.

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for woman&home. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

 

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.