The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile

One of my favorite places to visit is Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I’ve been to the famous World Heritage city three times and hope to return in the near future. Today we’ll take a short virtual tour down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. Some of the sites deserve their own blog post which will come later.

The Royal Mile (Scots: Ryal Mile) is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh. The name was first used in W. M. Gilbert’s Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century (1901), and was further popularized as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh and Firth of Forth from the Castle

The thoroughfare, as the name suggests, is approximately one Scots mile long and runs downhill between two significant locations in the history of Scotland, namely Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Edinburgh Castle is on a large granite hill on the west end of the Royal Mile, and Holyrood Palace is located at the opposite end. The streets which make up the Royal Mile are (west to east) Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand. The Royal Mile is the busiest tourist street in the Old Town, rivaled only by Princes Street in the New Town.

Bagpiper with Tourists

Bagpipers are usually playing their pipes along the thoroughfare, and they don’t mind tourists taking photos with them.

Neil Munro, Author

The Writer’s Museum is an interesting place to visit. Scottish authors such as Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Neil Munro are featured.

St. Giles Cathedral

St. Giles Cathedral

One of the loveliest stops along the way is St. Giles Cathedral, the High Kirk of Edinburgh and principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Interior of St. Giles Cathedral

The interior of the Cathedral is especially pretty.

Canongate Kirk

The Kirk of the Canongate, or Canongate Kirk, serves the Parish of Canongate in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It is a congregation of the Church of Scotland. King James VII order the kirk’s building in 1688. The wedding of Zara Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter, and Mike Tindall, took place at the church on 30 July 2011.

Canongate Kirk Cemetery

The kirk’s cemetery has many old tombstones and some with Celtic crosses and markings.

Holyrood Palace

The Palace of Holyroodhouse (/ˈhɒlɪˌruːd/ or /ˈhoʊlɪˌruːd/), commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining.

Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies. The 16th century Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots and the State Apartments, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public throughout the year except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.

Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey Tombs

Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reformation the Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded further. The abbey church was used as a parish church until the 17th century and has been ruined since the 18th century. The remaining walls of the abbey lie adjacent to the palace at the eastern end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Our tour is concluded. Separate articles wait to be published on some of the selected sites along the Royal Mile. Thank you for touring with me. Companions are always welcome on my travels.

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