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