Our last day in Edinburgh started at the Palace of Holyrood House, the current summer residence of the Queen and the past residences for royalty centuries back. The castle was perched on the base of Arthur’s Seat. Walking in, the palace was constructed in a symmetrical fashion, with early Greek accents and styles present throughout the architecture. We walked throughout the apartments in the palace, entering rooms such as the Queen’s chambers, their day rooms, dining room, library, and the King’s chambers. All throughout, we listened to audio guides giving us further insight to the construction and use of the numerous rooms. Each room was decorated with careful and collective detail. On the walls hung tapestries from the Queen of England as gifts to “brighten up” the space. One room featured instruments from the Queen’s collection: a baby grand piano and a harp. We were able to walk through spaces where royal meetings and gatherings were held centuries ago. We learned about the fateful history of Queen Mary, and the events that later led to her confinement and death. On display were royal jewels, trinkets, and collectables. Each room was carefully preserved, as to accurately represent the lives that went on prior. After our tour inside, we were led outside to the church connected to the palace. It was almost entirely in ruins, apart from a few walls and pillars. Despite the lack of concrete structure, you could still picture what the space would have looked like back in it’s time. There was one wall that was still intact, and you could make out where stained glass would have created a beautiful design—you would even imagine the shadows it would have cast over the pews of the church. Next, we were able to walk through the queen’s gardens. We followed a path through a manicured space of green surrounding the palace. The landscape was breathtaking with the green skyline contrasting the church and portion of the palace.

After the palace we made our way to the first of two café shops for the remainder of the day. The first was Spoon Café, one of the group of cafés made famous as locations where J.K. Rowling wrote portions of her wildly popular trilogy Harry Potter. We sat in a group in the corner of the café, each answering proposed questions about the series and J.K. Rowling herself. Looking about the café, it was not hard to see how she would have drawn creativity from the space. It was whimsically decorated and was surrounded by big bay windows. Next, we walked to The Elephant House Café—the most famous of the group—as it is known as where she wrote with the view of Edinburgh Castle as her background. Before departing, we made our way to the back of the café, looking out upon the same view she did some years ago.