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If you have read Dan Brown’s book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or watched the film of the same name starring Tom Hanks you will have some knowledge of Rosslyn Chapel.

If you haven’t read the book or watched the film… don’t worry because when you visit Rosslyn Chapel you will be captivated by its history and amazed by its beautiful architecture.

Rosslyn Chapel is only a 7 mile drive from the centre of Edinburgh and is a great place to visit for the day either on your own or as part of a tour party.

Rosslyn Chapel
Photo: TFDuesing

It is a very popular tourist attraction visited by coach loads of people every day. If you want to see it at its best I would advise you to go early in the morning where you will be able to explore comfortably before most of the coach parties arrive. The chapel opens at 9.30AM on Monday – Saturday and 12.00 noon on Sunday’s.

Guided talks, in English, lasting for about 30 minutes are available throughout the day. They usually start on the hour every hour and you can chat to the guides before and afterwards and ask them all your questions. You will find them to be very knowledgeable and very friendly.

If you visit Rosslyn Chapel between January 2009 and July 2010 be prepared for the major conservation program currently being carried out.

Rosslyn Chapel was founded by the St Clair family in 1446 and is still owned by the family. In 1995 the Earl of Rosslyn put in place the Rosslyn Chapel Trust responsible for overseeing the Chapel conservation programme.

The Chapel is now having £13 invested into its conservation. But, this is a fascinating period in the history of the chapel and when you visit you will be able to see world-class professionals working skilfully to ensure this  magnificent building is conserved to be enjoyed by many generations of visitors to come.

Roof of Rosslyn Chapel
Photo: landhere

If you are in Edinburgh on vacation I would recommend you visit Rosslyn Chapel especially during the conservation period as it is a real opportunity to photograph one of Scotland’s famous buildings at a special time in its history.

Note however, video or photography is not permitted inside the Chapel but, you can take as may photos as you want outside the Chapel.

However, you can buy a CD-Rom containing 70 professionally taken photographs for the Chapel or from their online shop.

It will take you about 2 to 3 hours to really see Rosslyn Chapel at your leisure. This is more than just a walk in the front door and a stroll in the churchyard. There is real history to be seen and felt in this place. So, give yourself plenty of time to really enjoy the experience.

Here are some of the things you can do on your visit:

  • Learn all about the remarkable history from a knowledgeable guide on a guided tour
  • Enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the Chapel gardens and look for the gravestones of the founding family
  • Spend time identifying the native and exotic plant carvings
  • Examine the original architects’ drawings etched onto the wall in the Sacristy
  • View Rosslyn Chapel from a distance by climbing up onto the canopy
  • Use your powers of deduction to find the foundation date of the Chapel high up on the outside walls
  • Seek and find the most difficult carving to find in the Chapel – the death mask of Robert the Bruce
  • Take home a beautiful souvenir of your visit from the Chapel shop

In addition to the guided tour I would recommend you buy the official Rosslyn Chapel Guidebook written by the Earl of Rosslyn. At only £4.25 it is a real treasure chest full of fascinating information about the family history including many stunning color photographs of the Chapel and poetry from many of the famous poets who have visited the Chapel.

Rosslyn Chapel
Photo: TFDuesing

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Filed under: Scotland Travel

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