The Royal Tour Part 3 - Castles and Palaces in Scotland
Well what visit to Scotland is complete without a visit to at least one castle? Especially if you are on a Royal Tour! My trip took me to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh Castle, Craigmillar Castle, Glamis Castle and Balmoral. All have associations with royalty either past or present.
First on the stops was the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This castle is used every year by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for a period of one week. At other times of the year HRH Prince Charles and other members of the Royal Family use the palace. It plays host to many functions but on the day I visited it was open to the public and quite a large number of rooms can be explored along with the gardens. No pictures are allowed inside.
|Entrance to Palace of Holyroodhouse
|Front of Palace of Holyroodhouse - Mary Queen of Scots once resided in the tower on the left
|Rear of Holyroodhouse with the abbey ruins on the right
|View from Craigmillar towards Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle
|Her Majestys own bedroom on board Britannia!
Next up the Edinburgh Castle, perched on the top of a rocky cliff. What a great location to build a castle:
|Cannon pointing out from Edinburgh Castle
My initial planning on this trip had me flying into Aberdeen so that I may visit Balmoral Castle. It is about a 50 mile drive from Aberdeen and I was considering going on an escorted tour. Upon a little further investigation I decided that the drive from Edinburgh if I hired a car would be a much more enjoyable way to see it. So, on one of my days in Edinburgh I left at 7.30am and headed north, through the Cairngorms National Park and eventually finding my way to Balmoral.
It was just after I took the above photo when I had my first brush with royalty. I was making my way across the single lane bridge you can see in the background when I saw 2 vehicles approaching, 1 sedan and one landrover following. I initially didn't think anything of it as I moved off to the side of the road to let them by. As I did that I glanced into the drivers seat of the sedan and who should be sitting there driving but none other than His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales. I had no idea he would be up here with just 2 days to go to the big wedding... in fact I wondered if my eyes had played tricks on me? But the man at the ticket counter confirmed it was indeed Prince Charles who had passed my by just now, and apparently he would be flying to London the following morning... exactly as I would be doing!
|Entry gates with insignias of King George V and Queen Mary
|Balmoral Castle - the original castle stood on the lawn in front before it was demolished
|Balmoral Castle on a beautiful Scottish day!
|The River Dee - behind the castle
Glamis Castle is the home to the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and has been for many hundreds of years. The castle has a very special link to the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother grew up here. She was the daughter of the earl and married the Duke of York who later became King George VI. The King and his family spent quite a bit of holiday time here in the castle and in fact Princess Margaret was born here. To see inside the castle you must take the guided tour. This is still a castle that is in daily use by the earl and his family and only select parts area available for viewing by the public. It was a great tour though, and you even hear a few ghost stories... apparently it is one of the most haunted places in the UK!