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Da Vinci divine, tour guide terrible
Palace of Holyroodhouse (Edinburgh)
Member Name: duskmaiden
Palace of Holyroodhouse (Edinburgh)
Date: 18/03/03, updated on 16/09/03 (86 review reads)
Advantages: The DaVinci, Lovely
Disadvantages: Tour guide, Expensive
Visitor attractions are my business. I'm studying for a Masters in Heritage Studies at Salford University so I have to be critical about them. So you will be getting loads of heritage related reviews from now on.
Anyway I was in Edinburgh in March on a field trip with my university class.
I visited the Palace of Holyrood and the Queen's Gallery. I'm a Scot with a degree in History (mostly Scottish History) so I was looking forward to seeing somewhere that has been mentioned in my studies.
The Palace of Holyrood has been the main royal residence in Edinburgh since the time of the Stewart Kings. It was built by James V of Scotland and Mary Queen of Scots often used the palace.
The cost of the ticket was quite expensive. It was £7 for a student. The other prices are:
Joint ticket Palace and Gallery
Over 60s £7.00
Under 17s £4.00
Under 5s Free
(2 adults, 3 under 17's). I was expecting a lot for my money.
The Queen's Gallery
The Queen's Gallery was superb. The exhibition at that time was the largest collection of Da Vinci sketches shown in Scotland. I'm not a big fan of the Mona Lisa so I was surprised how good the exhibition was. I loved the grotesque faces. They were macabre but funny. It was a joy to see simply presented sketches that spoke for themselves. The cost of the ticket was justified ny a visit to the Queen's Gallery.
However the Palace itself was such a let down.
We had a continental guide (Russian my course mates thought). I'm wondering where all the Scots are in Edinburgh. It seems to be populated by Australians, Canadians, Europeans, every race except Scots. Anyway the tour consisted of showing the state apartments. The problem was that the tour guide was not interesting in the slightest. In my course we learn that interpretation should not be information. This was pure information. It seem
ed to be a run down of every piece of furniture and where and when it was made. The royal facts were pitched at people with no previous knowledge of the royals at all. I found this frustrating as I have a degree in history. My course mates who had no knowledge just found it boring. The tour guide did not even make the murder of Rizzio interesting (Mary Queen of Scots secretary who was murdered in front of her whilst she was pregnant because her husband was jealous of him). She also missed out things and referred to things like "whilst Mary was captive" without explaining about when or why she was captive. My coursemates learned more from me than the tour guide.
The other main problem with the tour was the pace of it. The tour was far too quick. You had no time to appreciate the rooms or even take in what she was saying half the time.
There were some fascinating things in there but they were made unmemorable.
From what I remember it was a beautiful place. Some nice carved ceilings and some interesting furniture including a chair with the whole of Tam O Shanter carved on it.
The shop was not to bad but some of the stuff was a wee bit tacky.
All in all go for the Da Vincis and I just hope people get a better tour guide than us
I'd give the gallery five stars, but I?d give the Palace two stars
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