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Palace of Holyroodhouse

For visitors to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, there is a new ticketing and welcome area, and visitor facilities and step-free access have been improved. The display of the Royal Collection at the Palace has been refreshed, and there is a greater focus on telling the stories of Holyrood's former residents, including Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and of the use of the Palace today.

The historic Abbey Strand buildings at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to a new Learning Centre.

The historic Abbey Strand buildings at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to a new Learning Centre. ©

A Learning Centre for teaching, learning activities and lectures has been created in the Abbey Strand buildings, the oldest part of which dates from around 1490. Located adjacent to the Palace, these buildings have had many uses, including a weapons store during the reign of James V and a home to debtors inside the Abbey Sanctuary.  In the 18th century, the buildings housed around 25 families and included a brewery, a row of taverns and a brothel known as Lucky Spence's House.

Behind the Learning Centre, a new public garden has been created, inspired by the earliest recorded gardens at the Palace. The garden can be freely enjoyed year round by the people of Edinburgh and visitors to the Palace, with seasonal planting inspired by some of the earliest recorded gardens on the site.

The new garden consists of three distinct areas, each representing a phase in the Palace’s 900-year history. A flowering meadow of medicinal plants evokes the 15th-century monastic gardens of Holyrood Abbey; flowering bulbs, including crocuses, tulips and alliums, have been planted in a geometric pattern to reflect the design of 17th-century gardens. A third area reimagines the physic garden that was established in the Palace grounds 350 years ago to teach students about the medicinal properties of plants. The Palace’s original physic garden was the first of its kind in Scotland and only the second botanic garden to be established in Britain.

Find out more about what there is to see and do at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The new public garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The new public garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. ©

HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

The Trust’s Chairman, His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, has recorded a message to mark the opening of the physic garden.