The Queen’s residence in Edinburgh is to be decorated inside and outside for the first time this Christmas with mementoes of Queen Victoria’s festive celebrations going on show.
Thousands of lights will adorn the building, courtyard and ornamental fountain, while families will be invited inside to explore the palace where a huge Christmas tree will stand floor to ceiling in the Great Gallery – the largest room which was used as a ball room by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.
The royal residence will join the Capital’s celebration in the city centre, which will see the return of the traditional Christmas Market as well as a new ice rink running around St Andrew Square Garden.
It will allow visitors to see the interior as never before, with a collection of silver cutlery presented to George V and Queen Mary in 1935 set to go on display in the Royal Dining Room alongside a Bloor Derby porcelain dessert service ordered by Queen Victoria in 1842.
Victorian Christmas traditions will also be celebrated in the Family Room which will be converted into a Christmas grotto boasting classic games, including a chance for children to try their hand at making a ‘cornucopia’ – a traditional Victorian Christmas hanging made with paper filled with fragrant spices and decorated with ribbon and lace.
There will also be face painting, the chance to dress up in historical outfits for a fancy dress party and ‘Hands on History’ sessions allowing visitors to handle objects used by Queen Victoria’s household, including jelly moulds, giant cooking pans and writing sets.
Carol sessions will be held round the Christmas tree in the Great Gallery and there will even be a chance to go ‘behind the ropes’ with a series of exclusive evening tours taking guests into rooms not usually open to the public, such as the West Drawing Room, traditionally used by the royal family during royal week.
The huge programme of events will be the first time the palace has been an official part of the Capital’s Christmas celebrations, and it is expected to prove a popular addition to the experience for visitors.
Business expert Graham Birse said: “Edinburgh is already an attractive Christmas city and there is a rich programme of events on the way. What this does is add some quality to the experience.
“There’s quite a strong royal heritage in Edinburgh, and from the local point of view this offers people the chance to go in and experience it for themselves.
“There will be a boost in terms of potential bookings. It adds to the whole calibre of the experience in Edinburgh.”
Organisers of this year’s Christmas programme announced earlier this year that favourite attractions from last year will return, with the popular Star Flyer relocated from St Andrew Square to East Princes Street Gardens, the European Christmas Market with 106 stalls once again taking over The Mound, while the Scottish Market will be in St Andrew Square.
The Christmas events at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will run from December 5 until January 6.