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Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

1. Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

Make getting around Edinburgh's top sights easy with a 48-hour Royal Edinburgh hop-on, hop-off bus ticket. Dive into the history and culture of Scotland with access to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Easy to use, the all-inclusive ticket is fantastic value if you want to go to Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The ticket also includes 48-hour unlimited travel on three of Edinburgh's hop-on-hop-off bus tours; Edinburgh City Sightseeing, Edinburgh Tour, and Majestic Tour. Use the bus to reach the attractions, leaving the city behind and heading to the coast at Newhaven through Edinburgh’s New Town. With stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia, it couldn’t be simpler. As the bus returns to the city center, you can jump off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile to walk up to Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

2. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

Wander the opulent state rooms and lavish gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, His Majesty The King's official Scottish residence, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Once inside the baroque palace, learn about its close associations with Scotland's history via a complimentary multimedia guide (available in 9 languages). Visit the State Apartments to see the changing tastes of successive monarchs. Marvel at fine plasterwork ceilings and Brussels tapestries, along with paintings and other artworks in rooms still used by the King and Royal Family for official ceremonies. Go to the Throne Room to see where lunch was served to the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Thistle when a new knight was installed. Discover where the King holds his private audiences in the Morning Drawing Room. Continue to the Great Gallery, where Scottish residents named in the New Year’s Honours List or Kings Birthday Honours List receive their award at an Investiture ceremony. Admire Jacob de Wet's portraits of real and legendary kings of Scotland in the Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace. Learn about dramatic events from Scotland’s history in Mary Queen of Scots' historic chambers, where she witnessed the brutal murder of her secretary, Rizzio, by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley. At the end of your multimedia tour, enjoy a refreshing drink or light lunch (own expense) at the Café at the Palace.

Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

3. Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

Enjoy a theatrical sightseeing tour of Edinburgh onboard the Ghost Bus, a beautifully refurbished vintage double-decker, painted in traditional midnight black. Learn about Edinburgh’s grave robbers, plague victims, and the ghosts that reside in the most haunted city in Europe. Explore the city's gruesome past, while admiring its most famous monuments, including Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriar's Kirk, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile. As you traverse the Old Town and New Town, visit the sites of murders, tortures, and executions. Hear about the infamous Burke and Hare, and the hundreds of women who were drowned or burned as witches. The bus, which belonged to the Necropolis Bus Company, boasts decorative features that include atmospheric lamps and window curtains. In 1967, the entire fleet was destroyed in a mysterious fire, and only one bus survived.

Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

4. Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Explore Edinburgh at your own pace with an award-winning hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour. Enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the city. Stop at locations like St Andrew Square, Johnstone Terrace, the Royal Mile. See sights like Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket. Board the bus and begin your city adventure. Compare Edinburgh's Old Town, where families lived in cramped conditions and rubbish was thrown out of the windows, to the elegant Georgian New Town, with its 3 main streets and square at either end. Hear about the hangings that took place in the Grassmarket as you marvel at the impenetrable Castle Rock above you, and hear about historic attempts to capture Edinburgh Castle. Drive along the Royal Mile, which joins Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use the 24-hour ticket to hop on and off as you please. With great visitor attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Edinburgh's got it all! Buses run every 30 minutes, making the following loop: Tour Stops: 1. St Andrew Square - Northside 2. Lothian Road - Waldorf Astoria 3. Grassmarket 4. Lauriston Place 5. Johnstone Terrace - Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience 6. Lawnmarket - Gladstone's End, The Real Mary King's Close 7. Chambers Street - National Museum of Scotland 8. St Mary's Street West 9. Canongate - John Knox House 10. Royal Mile - Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyrood House 11. Dynamic Earth 12. Regent Road - Burns Monument

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

5. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route hop-on hop-off bus tour ticket. Pick from a ticket that lasts for 24 or 48 hours. Explore the city with stop options like Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Hop aboard and embark on your city adventure. Contrast the Old and New Towns, see the royal attractions of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia (entrances not included). Live guides provide English commentary on the Edinburgh Tour, while audio guides are available in up to 9 languages on the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tour. Hop on and off as often as you like at dozens of attractions, and enjoy unique, scenic views from the open-top upper decks. City Sightseeing Tour: Hear about the people and events that shaped Edinburgh, from the cramped conditions of the Old Town to spacious Holyrood Park, on a classic sightseeing tour in 9 languages. Enjoy Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories with the on board Horrible Histories Children’s Channel - history with all the gory bits left in! • Hanover Street • Princes Street Gardens • St. John’s Church • Grassmarket • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • National Museum of Scotland • Museum of Childhood • Scottish Parliament • Our Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument Edinburgh Tour: Enjoy the best views aboard an open-top bus, as live commentary in English brings Edinburgh’s history to life. Explore the Old Town and Georgian New Town, hopping off at 9 strategic stops. • Hanover Street • George Street • Charlotte Square • The Mound • Lawnmarket • Grassmarket • Our Dynamic Earth • Scottish Parliament • Canongate Kirk Majestic Tour: Leave the city center and head to the coast at Newhaven, with stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia. This multi-language tour offers commentary through headphones in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Return via the Palace of Holyrood House and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile. • Hanover Street • George Street • Royal Botanic Gardens • Ferry Road • Newhaven Harbour • Cruise Terminal • Ocean Terminal (Royal Yacht Britannia) • Leith Mills • Elm Row • Queen Mary’s Bath House • Queensberry House • Canongate Kirk

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off City or Britannia Tour

6. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off City or Britannia Tour

Explore Scotland’s capital city with an enjoyable hop-on hop-off bus tour. Choose between the City Tour or Britannia Tour, depending on your itinerary of preference. See historical landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, the iconic Royal Mile, and the Palace of Holyrood House and learn about their historic significance from the onboard audio commentary. Hop on the bus at the first stop at St Andrew's Square and make sure to embark on the correct bus based on your Tour chosen: the Britannia and City Tour, depending on which attractions you would like to see. The City Tour will give customers the chance to see the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth, and Palace of Holyrood House, whereas Britannia takes in the Royal Botanic Garden, Royal Yacht Britannia, and Haymarket. From either the top deck or the interior of the bus, you can explore the city in a convenient way, catching a glimpse of some iconic buildings and sights. With your ticket, you will also receive additional perks and discounts such as discounted entry to the Holyrood Distillery, a bus ride to Edinburgh Zoo, and many more benefits. This is a 7-day pass with stops at a variety of locations along several routes. The City Tour includes: • St Andrews Square • Lothian Road • Grassmarket • Lauriston Place • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle, Lawnmarket • National Museum of Scotland • Holyrood Distillery • Museum of Edinburgh • Scottish Parliament • Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument The Britannia Tour includes the following stops: • St Andrew Square • Royal Botanic Garden • Newhaven Harbour • Royal Yacht Britannia • Water of Leith • Broughton Road • Stockbridge • The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art • Haymarket • Edinburgh International Conference Centre • Bread Street • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh: Full-Day City Center Shore Excursion

7. Edinburgh: Full-Day City Center Shore Excursion

Discover the sights of Edinburgh on a full-day shore excursion, departing from Edinburgh. Take a round-trip tour of the city center, and continue onto the Royal Mile to visit historic Edinburgh Castle, named the UK’s best heritage attraction in 2014. Learn all about its history, and see the famous Stone of Destiny; the traditional crowning seat of the ancient Scottish monarchs. Then, enjoy some free time for refreshments and to explore Castlehill, the city’s oldest street. Discover one of the many atmospheric “closes” or alleys running off the back-bone of the Royal Mile. See attractions such as St. Giles Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament building. Next, visit the Palace of Holyrood House, the official Scottish residence of the Royal Family. Learn the history of the baroque palace, best known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots. Finally, visit Duddingston Loch in Holyrood Park. Dates and Ship Names: 2023 April 11th, 19th, 26th May 6th, 9th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 22nd, 26th, 28th, 29th June 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 22nd, 24th, 27th, 29th July 4th, 6th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 25th, 28th, 29th, 30th August 4th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th September 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 14th, 16th, 21st, 26th

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Combo City + Britannia Tour

8. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Combo City + Britannia Tour

Explore Edinburgh on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour. See famous landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Royal Yacht Britannia, Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Palace of Holyrood House while learning about their historic significance from the onboard audio commentary. Get access to both the City Tour and Britannia Tour circuits with your ticket. Explore the city in a convenient way, catching a glimpse of some iconic buildings and sights from the deck of an open-top bus. Also get additional perks such as discounted entry to the Holyrood Distillery, a bus ride to Edinburgh Zoo, and many more benefits. 7-day pass with stops at a variety of locations, including all the following stops: • St Andrews Square • Lothian Road • Grassmarket • Lauriston Place • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • Lawnmarket • National Museum of Scotland • Holyrood Distillery • Museum of Edinburgh • Scottish Parliament • Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument • Royal Botanic Garden • Newhaven Harbour • Royal Yacht Britannia • Water of Leith • Broughton Road • Stockbridge • The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art • Haymarket • Edinburgh International Conference Centre • Bread Street • Johnston Terrace

From London: Day Trip to Edinburgh by Rail with Castle Entry

9. From London: Day Trip to Edinburgh by Rail with Castle Entry

Meet your representative outside the ticket office in Kings Cross Station at 6:30 AM to exchange your voucher for your train tickets for your outbound and inbound rail journeys. Your train will depart at 7:00 AM and arrive in to Edinburgh at 11:22 AM. Please print all tickets for both your return rail journey and attractions. Edinburgh – Open-Top Bus Tour Delve into the Scottish capital’s rich history with a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that takes in all the major sights: the Royal Mile, Greyfriars Bobby, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and atmospheric Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Castle  Enjoy free admission to Edinburgh Castle, where you can marvel at the sparkling Scottish Crown Jewels and photograph breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s famous skyline. After a thrilling day spent discovering Edinburgh, your train departs at 5:31 PM, arriving back in London at 10:18 PM. Please arrive 30 minutes before departure time.

Edinburgh: The Royal City Tour from London

10. Edinburgh: The Royal City Tour from London

Edinburgh The train from London's King Cross Station arrives at the Royal City of Edinburgh at around 11.30am. Right by the station you board the open-top sightseeing bus where you'll get a bird's-eye view of this majestic city! The hop-on hop-off ticket allows you the freedom to leave and re-join the bus as often as you like. You will see the Old Town quarter, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, the gloriously intricate Scott Monument, the Palace of Holyrood House and the brand new Scottish Parliament building. You might want to wander through the cobbled city centre streets or stroll along Princes Street checking out the tartan, whisky and shortbreads that have made Scotland famous! Your tour includes tickets to Edinburgh Castle. The train back to London leaves Edinburgh in the late afternoon returning to London's King's Cross at around 10:30pm.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Holyrood Palace

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What people are saying about Holyrood Palace

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,192 reviews

Did this tour with my husband and 11 yr old son late December, 9pm, and we had a blast. Tommy Terror was our fantastic tour guide and it was thoroughly entertaining. Great memories were made and much laughter was had… highly recommend. We sat upstairs on the bus. Recommend getting there early to line up to pick your seat for this tour; thank you to Caitlin for boarding everyone and cheers to the bus driver

From the minute you arrive the staff make your stay at the Hotel memorable. If your looking for a City Break or longer stay this is the place to be. The food is excellent, rooms amazing, facilities awesome. Everything you need and want from a hotel is here. look no further

Very informative audio tour! We enjoyed going at our own pace. It was nice that you could listen to the audio more than once to make sure you got all the information.

Really great way to see the city and stop at the most well known sightseeing, especially in the rainy weather.

Brilliant tour full of fun and frights well worth it