See one of the finest intricately carved interiors in the world
Rosslyn Chapel is Just a few miles from Edinburgh, in the village of Roslin. It has attracted many myths and legends, ranging from Masonic connections, the Knights Templars, the Holy Grail, and The Da Vinci Code. There's even a suggestion that his master murdered an apprentice stonemason working at the Chapel.
Which of these stories, if any, are true is debatable. However, beyond doubt, the carvings and stonework in this building will be among the most intricate and bizarre you are likely to see anywhere. The profusion of stone sculpture leaves hardly a surface without some symbolic decoration.
Privately owned by the 7th Earl of Rosslyn, an ambitious conservation program between 1997 and 2013 saw the Chapel restored to its former glory. Discover Rosslyn Chapel, a 15th century chapel with a stunning interior on a driver-guided private tour of Scotland. See one of the finest intricately carved interiors in the world.
Masterpiece in stone
A brief history of Rosslyn Chapel
A family chapel
Rosslyn was a family chapel, and building started in 1446. However, with Sir William St Clair's death, in 1484, work ceased despite the Chapel being unfinished. It remained in that state until the time of the Reformation in 1560, which banned Catholic worship. Because the altars were considered idolatrous, fanatics destroyed them. Thus, the Chapel was no longer used as a house of prayer and fell into disrepair.
In 1650, Oliver Cromwell's army destroyed the nearby castle but, finding the Chapel useful as stabling for the horses and saved from destruction. Almost 200 years later, Queen Victoria visited and, seeing its overgrown and run-down state expressed her view that it should be 'preserved for the country.' It took until the 1950s for work to get underway, with priority given to restoring the roof, the stained glass windows, and the interior carvings cleaned and repaired.
The Da Vinci Code
In 2003, Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code was published, with a dramatic impact. The main characters in the story end up at Rosslyn Chapel, and, with the resulting worldwide publicity, visitor numbers skyrocketed.
Visiting Rosslyn Chapel
The quantity and quality of the ornate stone carvings create an immediate and lasting impression. Behind the altar stand, three stone pillars, The Prentice pillar, the Master pillar, and the Journeyman. Each has its legend. The Prentice pillar legend is carved by an apprentice stonemason whose superior abilities over his master aroused such jealousy that the master murdered him.
Visitors are also able to view the dungeons and several other rooms in the Chapel.
Rosslyn Chapel is set in the Pentland Hills, which offers some of the best Lowland walks. There are many signposted footpaths, all offering superb scenic walks.
Touring and accommodation
We can incorporate a visit to Rosslyn Chapel as part of a private tour of Edinburgh. Rosslyn is a short drive from Edinburgh's city centre. Our Tour-Designers can tailor a tour of Scotland to include the special places of worship and follow in the footsteps of Scotland's Saints.
Another interesting option is to enjoy a private tour of Edinburgh Castle. Have lunch in town, and our driver guide can take you out to Rosslyn Chapel in the afternoon.
Edinburgh has a vast choice of accommodation. We look for quality, service and our ability to include complimentary amenities. Stay in the elegant New Town at The Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. Enjoy views of Edinburgh Castle from the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian Hotel. There are many options we can discuss you with you. Please contact us for details.
One of Britain's finest chapels
- VIP Tours Available
- Restored 15th Century Chapel
- Da Vinci Code Film Location
- See the Remains of Rosslyn Castle
- Most Admired Carved Interior in Britain
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.