“ Address: Palace of Holyroodhouse / Canongate / The Royal Mile / EH8 8DX „
When my mum and I first discussed having a short break in Edinburgh, one of the reasons was an exhibition held at the Queen's Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This exhibition was called Treasures from the Royal Palaces, and as you can tell from its name, brought together a variety of objects and artworks from the various royal palaces.
The Queen's Gallery is located at the front of the Palace, but while you can buy joint tickets for gallery and palace, you can visit each individually. Having visited the Palace previously, we decided to only visit the gallery, which cost £11.50 - £6 for me and £5.50 for a concession ticket. We enquired about borrowing a wheelchair for my mum, but were told that both were in use in the Palace - which meant it could be hours before one was free. There was a lift to the exhibition, which was all on one floor, so we decided to go ahead.
Having visited a similar exhibition at the Queen's Gallery in London, I had an idea of what to expect. There were paintings and drawings, jewellery, ornaments, weapons, china, and some more curious and individual items such as an ancient Mayan crown and 15th century books, beautifully illustrated. The exhibition was well presented, with space between exhibits so that visitors didn't have to crowd together. Each item had a small plate beside it with some information; an audio tour is included in the entrance price, but although I took one, we didn't listen to it at all. Although some of the art was impressive, I definitely prefer sparkly things like jewellery and Faberge eggs and ornaments, or the unique objects like the Mayan crown and the books.
As I mentioned, we accessed the exhibition by lift, but most visitors will take the stairs, which have beautiful carved wooden railings. Once you reach the exhibition on the first floor, it is all on one level and has some seating.
I enjoyed the exhibition, and the gallery is a very nice space, but it did feel quite small, as in not a lot of exhibits.
Once we were finished we had a good look around the shop, and were both disappointed not to buy anything - last time I was in the shop at Holyroodhouse I bought a big hardback book about Britannia which was heavily discounted, and I think I was hoping to find something else like that. Sadly, all the books which caught my eye were full price - and as much as I hate to say it, I can get them cheaper from Amazon.
We also paid a visit to the cafe, which is located across the small courtyard from the shop. There are seats outside, but although it was a sunny day, it was still October in Edinburgh, so we sat inside. We shared a salmon sandwich (not smoked salmon, the cooked stuff), a scone filled with brie and cranberry, and a couple of cakes. With tea and coffee, this came to around £16. The salmon sandwich was absolutely delicious, the first time I had had that on a sandwich, but it won't be the last. The scone was a little disappointing; the filling was nice but the scone itself seemed a little dry. We only ate one of the cakes, as they were quite large - chocolate brownie which was very good; we wrapped the lavender shortbread up in a napkin and took it home for later - where it turned out to be very tasty indeed.
Despite the disappointment of not buying anything from the shop, we both really enjoyed our visit to the Queen's Gallery at Holyroodhouse. Having started planning our trip around the Treasures of the Royal Palaces exhibition (along with another elsewhere), I was glad that it was good, even if it felt a bit small. Whether you will want to visit the Queen's Gallery or not depends on the exhibition, as they change every so often, but I would recommend having a look at what is on.