|The gates to Holyroodhouse|
The front of Holyroodhouse in an official photo
This is a more realistic view from the tourist viewpoint
The property also contains what is left of Holyrood Abbey, founded by King David I in 1128.
Holyrood Abbey as seen in another official photo
The inside of the abbey ruins (as seen by us)
Holyroodhouse is probably most famous as the 16th-century home of Mary Queen of Scots, who spent 6 years here from 1561-67. During that time, she married her first and then second husbands and witnessed the murder of David Rizzio, her secretary and rumored lover.
Mary's bedchamber- believe me, it does not look this bright in real life.
We were not allowed to take any photos of the inside because it is, after all, the Queen's home, but the internet is a wonderful place to find official photos.
The antechamber where David Rizzio was stabbed and left to bleed to death
Back outside in the queen's garden with a view of Arthur's Seat
Here are 2 views of the Royal Mile, which is a series of 4 streets that form the main thoroughfare from Edinburgh Castle to Holyroodhouse. It is so named because the stretch is about one Scots mile long (about 1.81km).
Part of the Royal Mile
View Victoria Street
Our next stop was the Royal Botanic Garden, 70 beautifully landscaped acres that includes a new visitor center with an interesting gift shop, 25 glasshouses, a selection of Chinese plants, and an amazing rock garden.
One of the many interesting plants in the demonstration gardens
The beech hedgerow next to the demonstration gardens
A peek at the interior of the hedgerow. If you ever read about how much trouble soldiers had fighting through the hedgerows in World War II, this will give you and idea why.
Part of the structure in the Queen Mother's Memorial Garden
A close-up shot of the shell work decoration on the walls
The Victorian Palm House
One section of the world-famous rock garden
Part of the Chinese Hill Garden. The RBG has the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside of China. In fact, Chinese gardeners came to the RBG to take samples of some plants that had been lost during the Cultural Revolution.
My one purchase in the gift shop was a pewter pin in the shape of a thistle with a Heathergem cabochon. Never heard of that stone? That's because it is made of heather plants that have been gathered, dyed, compressed, and shaped. If you want to see photos of the process, click on over to Making Heathergems.
Pewter thistle pin with Heathergem cabochon
After spending many hours in the gardens, we headed back to the Old Town to watch the fireworks from Edinburgh Castle that marked the end of the Edinburgh Festival. While waiting for it to get dark enough, we grabbed a quick dinner of Mediterranean wraps with vegetables on Arabic bread at Palmyra Pizza. The food was quite good and we certainly couldn't complain about the price.
Almost dark enough for fireworks
Since we didn't have expensive tickets to watch the fireworks while seated in the Princes Street Gardens, we joined many other people in the square near the National Gallery of Scotland. The night was a bit chilly, but we had a good view of the fireworks and the crowd was quite cheerful (courtesy of free-flowing libations).
The crowd at the square
Some of the fireworks
After that spectacular end to the evening, we got on a bus and headed back to the Dorstan Guesthouse.