Top Royal Tourist Attractions in Scotland

Balmoral Castle

Located in Royal Deeside, Balmoral Castle is one of the Queen's private residences in Scotland. Described by Queen Victoria as her 'dear paradise' it is where the Queen goes for a much deserved rest from August until October.

Balmoral is a working estate located in the North-east of Scotland. It was bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1848. The original house was demolished and rebuilt in the baroque style it is today. Covering 50,000 acres, it is one of the larger working estates in Scotland. There is hunting, stalking and salmon fishing available for visitors. You can rent cottages on the estate, too.

Balmoral is set in beautiful scenery, with the river Dee winding its way round heather-clad hills and the magnificent Lochnagar hill looming in the distance. The stunning estate grounds and gardens are open to the public from April to the end of July every year. There are several exhibitions to see, as well as the castle Ballroom, which has a great selection of royal items through the ages, as well as some of the Queen's dresses on display. You can also see a collection of paintings on display here, many of the Victorian artist Edwin Henry Landseer.

There are also two gift shops and a cafeteria where you can sample Balmoral venison burgers.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

When you visit Scotland, there is one place you can't miss out: Edinburgh Castle, which towers over the city of Edinburgh. There is so much to see. You could spend a whole day just wandering around and see the many attractions within the castle. Run by Historic Scotland, it houses the royal apartments, a military garrison, also the eleventh century Queen Margaret's Chapel, which the oldest complete building in Edinburgh. Apart from being the top attraction in Scotland, it also houses the crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, on which many kings were crowned. This historic castle offers some wonderful views of the city and the Firth of Forth can be seen from here, too.

Every day people gather at the Mills Mount Battery to hear the One o'clock gun, a 105mm field gun, fired manually by the District Gunner. You can also see the 6 ton canon Mons Meg, standing outside St Margaret's Chapel. The bombard gun belonged to James II. It is named after the Belgian town Mons and was last used in 1681.

Edinburgh Castle has been a royal residence since the eleventh century. I was once the home of Mary Queen of Scots and you can visit the royal palace. She gave birth to James IV (James I of England) here. The Crown Room contains symbols of the ancient kingdom: the Honours of Scotland, containing the Scottish Crown jewels. The room was built especially for the Honours in 1617, as part of celebrations of King James VI's Golden Jubilee as king of Scots.

The collection includes the crown, sceptre and sword used for many coronations. It also houses the supposed Stone of Scone, upon which the Scottish kings were crowned. Edinburgh Castle also boasts the Great Hall, The Scottish National War Memorial and The National War Museum of Scotland.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, which started its life as a monastery in 1128, is the Queen's official residence in Scotland. It was another home of Mary Queen of Scots for a short while. It is currently used for State ceremonies and official entertaining and the Queen also uses it for her famous garden parties in the summer.

Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, it is open to the public from April till the end of October and at other various times during the year. People can visit the 14 historic and State Apartments and the ruins of Holyrood Abbey. There are changing exhibitions at the Queen's Gallery. Items from the Royal Art Collection can be seen here.

Scone Palace

Situated just outside Perth and set amongst stunning scenery, Scone Palace has earned its place in history. It was here that many of the Scottish kings were crowned. It was also mentioned in Shakespeare's play Macbeth. It is currently the home of the Earls of Mansfield.

Here you can also see a replica of the famous Stone of Scone, which is also known as the Stone of Destiny. History lovers will want to see the exact location where the kings were crowned. It was on Moot Hill, opposite the Palace in front of the small Presbyterian Chapel.

Have a rest and lunch or a cup of tea at the Old Kitchen Restaurant, often frequented by living history character performers. Children will love the tartan maze and the many animals in the grounds. There are free-roaming peacocks, too. Scone Palace is a first class venue which houses a wonderful selection of art and antiques. It is open to the public from April to the end of October. The gardens are open all year round.

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