The stunning Palace of Holyrood is the Queen's official residence in Scotland and was home to Mary Queen of Scots between 1561 and 1567. She was married there and had the misfortune of witnessing the gruesome murder of her secretary in her private apartment by Lord Darnley, her much-loathed second husband. Located at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile with a spectacular backdrop provided by a hillside known locally as Arthur's Seat, Holyrood House has witnessed many turbulent events in Scottish History. For example, it was for a time used by Bonnie Prince Charlie as his headquarters during the ill fated 1745 uprising. Today however, the house enjoys a much quieter existence as a venue for official entertaining and state ceremonies. The house and gardens are open to the public at certain times of the year.

No trip to Scotland's beautiful capital city- not for nothing known as the `Athens of the north' - would be complete without a visit to Holyrood. Visitors can wander through the Royal apartments seeing at first hand the changing tastes of Scotland's Kings and Queens and admiring the exquisite craftsmanship on display. Many of the plasterwork ceilings for example are considered to be of the highest quality. There is also an exhibition charting the history of the Order of the Thistle- Scotland's highest honour.