Palaces and great houses

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Kings and Queens didn't always live in castles.

They built beautiful palaces where they could show off and have fun.

In this article you can find out:

  • What a palace is
  • Why a palace is different from a castle
  • Examples of palaces in Scotland

This resource is suitable for Castles topics for P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7 (First and Second Level Curriculum for Excellence).

Find out what life was like a palace and how it was different from life in a castle.

What is a palace?

  • A palace is a large building where kings, queens and noble people live.
  • Castles are fortified which means they were built to keep the people inside safe.
  • Palaces are all about looking good and being comfortable. They were built to have fun in and show off how rich and stylish the owners were.

Scottish palaces

Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace in Fife was originally built as a hunting lodge in the 1100s. It belonged to Clan MacDuff. It was rebuilt as a beautiful royal palace 400 years later.

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The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Look at this photo of Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh. Can you spot which parts of the palace make it different from a castle?

Click on the labels to get more information about each feature.

Test your knowledge

Draw a picture of a palace

You will need to include:

  • Large living quarters
  • A grand entrance
  • Gardens with statues and fountains
  • Turrets and towers