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Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian, Edinburgh

DMWScotlandDMWScotland VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭

I was so wrong not to visit this beautiful 15th century chapel that lives in the tranquil village of Roslin, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Rosslyn Chapel wasn’t really somewhere I thought I would plan to visit. It was my mum’s 70th birthday this year and her wish was to visit the chapel, so my sister and I took her in April 2016. I had still to watch the Da Vinci Code so I didn't really know what to expect.

Visitor centre

We were greeted by very friendly and helpful staff. You need to pay to get in but this also included a gift-aid annual pass to visit any other time for free if we filled out the form and returned it with a photo. The visitor centre is full of interesting information about the chapel including interactive displays and animated videos. There is a gift shop and a nice wee coffee shop full of refreshments, with indoor and outdoor seating.

Outside the chapel

As we made our way outside to the chapel my first impressions were “wow, what a beautiful building”. I loved all the pointy spires and arched windows. It was like Hogwarts!

Inside the chapel

Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside the chapel. You can purchase their history book from the visitor centre though.

It was smaller than I imagined. I could see impressive carvings of faces, stars, angels, animals, the green man, beautiful pillars and so much more. The arched ceiling was really high with carvings all over it.

The stained glass windows were simply beautiful. The stonework was covered with a grey cement to protect the carvings. The original colour behind it was red sandstone and you could still see some evidence of this peeking through.

Red iron railings separated sections of the chapel, they were really quite lovely. Shaped like figures of eight with gold leaves and flowers.

We even got to meet William the chapel cat. William has been visiting the chapel for 10 years and likes to curl up on a pew! He’s now very famous and the shop has William toys and a children’s story book all about him called William the Cat and the Rescue of Rosslyn Chapel.

William St Clair, 3rd Prince of Orkney, began to build the church in 1446 and it took 40 years to build. I can imagine why! The chapel today is only a small part of what was planned. Many of the stone carvings have great stories behind them so this made it all the more interesting! I loved the story about the Master Mason and Apprentice the best. The tour guide was a great story teller too.

The chapel’s visitors have greatly increased after the publication of Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, in 2003 and then the movie in 2006.

Rosslyn castle ruin

After our surprisingly amazing chapel visit we wondered down the hill past the graveyard to look for the Rosslyn Castle ruin that the visitor centre mentioned. What an amazing find too! This is what it looked like in its glory!

My thoughts

All I can say is that you don't need to be religious to visit the chapel. It's a stunningly beautiful designed masterpiece. Years of hard work by stone masons of that time creating all the details and their stories which sadly our modern buildings lack.

It's a must visit!

You can read my full story on my blog.
I blog about places I've explored in Scotland on Love Exploring Scotland  <3
Follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube :)


  • VisitScotlandJulieVisitScotlandJulie Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Nice photos, looks like you had lovely weather. Spending a few hours at Rosslyn Chapel is always time well spent. I like to spare a few more hours for exploring nearby Roslin Glen and the castle too. I'm often tempted to spend a night at the Rosslyn Estate.
  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    A truly magnificent place to visit! The stonework inside the chapel is so intricate it is unbelievable... Well worth a visit. There is a bus 37 from Edinburgh (North Bridge) to Deanburn every half an hour which stops in the village of Roslin. It's a 5 minute walk from the bus stop - handy if you don't have a car.
  • DMWScotlandDMWScotland VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    I'd love to stay in the Rosslyn Castle too @VisitScotlandJulie. I found out about this after my visit.  I can imagine it would be really mysterious and atmospheric!

    I totally agree with you @VisitScotlandMuriel! I need to go back this year and spend the full day there. Handy to know about the bus from Edinburgh too.

    Thanks :)
    I blog about places I've explored in Scotland on Love Exploring Scotland  <3
    Follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube :)
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