Holyroodhouse Palace is the stately, official residence of the monarchy in Scotland. Most well known as the home of the scandalous Mary, Queen of Scots, touring Holyroodhouse is essential for any royal enthusiast.
If you’re planning a visit to Holyroodhouse Palace and the historic Abbey ruins, there are plenty of nearby restaurants to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in afternoon tea at the Palace or traditional Spanish tapas, end your day at one of the many amazing restaurants near Holyrood Palace.
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A History of the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Holyroodhouse Palace is home to some of the most compelling royal history of the last 500 years. Originally the site of the Holyrood Abbey and the small Abbey guesthouse from the 12th century, the palace was structurally rebuilt by Charles II in the late 17th century, before being modernized by King George V and Queen Mary in the 20th century.
Today, Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarchy in Scotland. The late Queen Elizabeth II would often stay in Holyroodhouse, particularly during “Holyrood Week,” which celebrates the monarchy and citizens of Scotland. The Holyroodhouse is open to the public whenever the monarchy is not in residence. In this time of mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Holyroodhouse remains an important piece of royal history and will remain so for the future of the monarchy.
How to get to Holyroodhouse Palace
Holyroodhouse Palace is located at the end of the Royal Mile, or Edinburgh’s most famous street full of shops and restaurants. Bus numbers 6 and 35 stop near the palace, including the Hop-On and Hop-Off bus. The palace is about a 15-minute walk from Edinburgh’s central station, Edinburgh Waverley, and about a 20-minute walk from the tram stop at York Place. Visitors flying into Edinburgh can take a tram from Edinburgh Airport to Edinburgh Waverley.
The best restaurants near Holyroodhouse Palace and Abbey:
1. Best restaurant at Holyroodhouse Palace: The Cafe at the Palace
This classy cafe is perfect for visitors hoping to get an authentic, royal tea experience. The cafe is located on the outdoor terrace featuring lovely views of Mews Courtyard and Arthur’s Seat. Offering everything from traditional pastries to delicious entrees, you’ll definitely want to make a reservation after finishing a tour of Holyroodhouse.
2. Best restaurant for brunch: EM’s Kitchen
If you need some delicious breakfast to start your day at Holyrood right, head to this hole-in-the-wall spot. EM’s Kitchen is about a 15-minute walk from Holyroodhouse, and is a delicious way to start your day. The indoor dining area is beautifully decorated, making it a perfect place to snag some Instagram photos. Diners should order the scrumptious french toast and the savoury eggs benedict.
3. Best restaurant to grab a pint: Tolbooth Tavern
For those who prefer classic and historic pubs, head to the Tolbooth Tavern for a pint. Known for its 200 years of Scottish hospitality, this old-fashioned spot is located in a haunted, 16th-century building. Described as “atmospheric,” this pub is only a 7-minute walk from Holyroodhouse and is best known for its Tolbooth burgers.
4. Best restaurant for Chinese food: Holyrood Restaurant
If you’re in the mood for some tasty Chinese food, you can’t go wrong by stopping at Holyrood Restaurant. Known for its hotpot soup, this cozy spot is a short 12-minute walk from Holyrood Palace. You’ll find something for everyone to enjoy at this restaurant featuring vegetarian and vegan options.
5. Best restaurant for vegetarian-friendly food: David Bann Restaurant
David Bann is one of the best vegetarian-friendly food restaurants near Holyroodhouse. Their menu features dishes from all over the world, from Thailand to the Mediterranean to the Pacific, so every type of vegan will be happy. David Bann only serves Scottish beers, and their standout dishes include the tasty gnocchi and the spicy koftas.
6. Best restaurant for a date night: Howies Restaurant
Howies restaurants have a few different locations in Edinburgh, but you’ll want to stop at the one on Waterloo Place. All of their dishes feature locally sourced produce from Scottish farms, in an effort to ethically share traditional Scottish favorites. This bright restaurant is the perfect spot to relax after a long day touring the Palace, and to spend a few hours of quality time with your honey.
7. Best restaurant for French food: La Garrigue
This spot was Gordon Ramsay’s favorite French bistro in 2010, and the rustic, family-style cooking does not disappoint. The food at La Garrigue is inspired by the Languedoc region, which is a historical coastal region in the South of France. They also only feature French wine from France’s “Le Midi “ region. For lovers of French food, be sure to make a reservation at La Garrigue.
8. Best restaurant for seafood: White Horse Oyster & Seafood Bar
Located on the site of the oldest inn on the Royal Mile, this chic restaurant is known for its delectable British seafood from locally sourced boutique suppliers. A very low-key spot, it’s perfect for couples or small groups looking to share small plates. Only a ten-minute walk from Holyroodhouse, diners must try one of their hand-crafted cocktails and the delicious crab-crusted scotch egg.
9. Best restaurant for traditional Scottish Food: The Haggis Box
Edinburgh tourists can’t miss stopping at The Haggis Box to try Scotland’s legendary savory pudding. This popular spot is a cheery, local cafe frequented by tourists and locals. Known for their traditional Scottish haggis, neeps, and tatties, this small spot also has amazing vegetarian and vegan options.
10. Best restaurant for Spanish tapas: PIGGS
PIGGS is a family-run, local bar and cafe serving traditional Spanish tapas. This uniquely decorated and intimate spot is only a ten-minute walk from Holyroodhouse and is perfect for friends and couples to enjoy after a long day touring the Palace. All of their tapas are delicious, but the Spanish charcuterie board and Spanish omelet are must-tries at this vibrant spot.
Holyroodhouse Palace and Abbey Tours:
Before making a reservation at any of the restaurants near the Palace of Holyrood, visitors should book a historical tour at the Palace and the Abbey.
The tour of Holyroodhouse offers visitors everything they need to enjoy a comprehensive tour of the Palace. Complete with an audio guide available in several different languages, visitors will tour the grounds of Holyroodhouse, including the historic Abbey ruins and the Palace gardens. Learn everything there is to know about the royal’s history, including the infamous Mary, Queen of Scots.
The Queen’s Gallery gives visitors access to some of the monarchy’s most beloved paintings from their private collection. Enjoy art pieces from the Renaissance period and the seasonally changing royal exhibition. Make sure to spot Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s most recent portrait from 2018 proudly featured in the Gallery.
Planned where to eat? Here’s all you need to know about the Palace of Holyroodhouse and which tours are right for you.