Rosslyn Chapel Visitor Guide

By Craig Neil
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Table of Contents


Summary

Rosslyn Chapel (as featured in The Davinci Code) is one of the most beautiful examples of religious architecture in Scotland.

The chapel dates back to 1446 and features a complex arrangement of mysterious stone carvings that are believed to have links to the Knights Templar.

Discover Rosslyn Chapel with this article which contains a detailed overview and lots of useful visitor information.

Rosslyn Chapel
Address:Chapel Loan,
Roslin,
Midlothian,
EH25 9PU
Opening Hours:Mon-Sun: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Saturday: 12.00 to 4.15 pm
Admission Price:Adults: £9.50
Concessions: £7.50
Children go free as part of a family group
Parking:Free on-site car park
Contact:0131 440 2159
mail@rosslynchapel.com
Facilities:Gift shop, toilets, cafe, disabled access
BUY TICKETSClick here to purchase

The highlights

1: Rosslyn Chapel is a unique attraction unlike any other in Scotland. Just take a look at those stone carvings – they’re fascinating.

2: The chapel interior is stunning. Sadly cameras are not allowed inside the building so you won’t be able to take photos without prior permission.

3: There are lovely views from the café balcony looking over Rosslyn Glen. The cafe and shop are worth a mention in their own right as both are first-class for an attraction of this size.

Rosslyn Chapel

Visiting tips

1: If a visit to Rosslyn has inspired you to visit more religious sites take a look at Melrose Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders.

2: If you don’t want to drive yourself to the chapel you can always book Rabbie’s small group tours of the UK and Ireland.

3: Rosslyn Chapel can be considered a bit of a spooky place, but for a really atmospheric attraction take a look at Gilmerton Cove which lies five miles to the north in Edinburgh.


Overview

If you find the time to venture past the boundary of Edinburgh when you visit Scotland I highly recommend taking a journey to the nearby Rosslyn Chapel.

This stunning chapel has its origins dating back to 1446 and it’s become a popular destination for anyone with an interest in history and architecture due to the ornate stone carvings that seem to cover every square inch of its walls.

The mysterious symbolism of these carvings has led to many theories about their meaning, with interest in Rosslyn exploding since it was featured in the movie The Davinci Code.

Rosslyn Chapel

But it’s not just Tom Hanks movies and intricate stonework that attracts visitors because this part of Scotland is extraordinarily pretty and there are loads of walks in the area that make for a great day out, with a visit to Rosslyn Chapel really just the icing on the cake.

The chapel lies 7 miles south of Edinburgh city centre in the very pretty Rosslyn Glen which would be worth visiting if even if the chapel wasn’t there.

If you’ve got a dog it’s probably one the best places in Midlothian to bring them and although the paths get bogged down in winter, in summer it absolutely blooms with colour.

It’s easy to get to this historic attraction from the capital and coupled with the fact that it seems to have gained cult status thanks to its movie tie-in I think it really should be on your Edinburgh and Lothians ‘must-visit’ itinerary.

rosslyn chapel

Tourist information

There’s enough to keep you occupied in the woods surrounding the chapel that you could easily make a visit to Rosslyn last a whole day, while at the visitor centre you’ll be able to grab a coffee and homemade cake in the excellent café before heading inside the chapel.

You’ll find an overview of the history of Rosslyn Chapel on information panels before you enter the building as well as a few tales about the mythology that surrounds it, all of which add up to a feeling of suspense when you walk inside.

It could just be your imagination, but looking at the strange stone carvings you have the feeling that maybe, just maybe, there’s a secret hidden somewhere that is waiting to be discovered.

Although Rosslyn Chapel is small there’s so much to look at that you’ll be kept entertained for at least an hour. Take the Apprentice Pillar in the centre of the chapel for example, with its carvings of twirling vines that look uncannily like the helix of a DNA strand.

Rosslyn Chapel

Was a representation of the core of all life carved into the core of Rosslyn Chapel 500 years before modern scientists discovered it?

Or how about the carvings of stalks of corn around one of the windows? There’s nothing interesting about stalks of corn you might think.

Except that corn was an unknown crop in Scotland at the time the chapel was built, and in fact it wasn’t known at all to Europeans until Christopher Columbus discovered America 50 years after the chapel was built. So who carved them into the stonework?

But even that is insignificant to the secret that’s supposedly buried deep beneath the grounds of Rosslyn Chapel.

There’s a legend that says that the Knights Templar, the sect of holy warriors founded by the Catholic Church in 1119, found the Holy Grail inside Solomons Temple during the crusades and after retreating to Rosslyn they buried the relic beneath the chapel’s foundations.

Rosslyn Chapel

Strangely, there are carvings of the Knights Templar on the walls inside Rosslyn, so maybe the grail story has some truth to it?

A visit to Rosslyn Chapel can be rounded off with a drink on the visitor centre balcony that overlooks the treetops of the glen, while inside there’s a gift shop to wander through that has good quality toys and souvenirs.

As a glimpse into the history of Scotland within a beautiful woodland setting, a visit to Rosslyn Chapel is hard to beat.

You can visit Rosslyn Chapel by car or public transport, but if you’re not happy with making your own way there you can also get a guided tour from Edinburgh with Rabbies Tours.

These guys specialise in small groups of no more than 16 people and they offer fun and informative tours for a reasonable price. Check out Rabbie’s small group tours of the UK and Ireland for further information.

Midlothian is a great place to explore but so is the under-appreciated East Lothian. Check it out with my Guide to the Best Places to Visit in East Lothian.


Tourist map of Scotland

Chapel Loan,
Roslin,
Midlothian,
EH25 9PU

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Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:

Pentland Hills – 344 Explorer.

Edinburgh – 66 Landranger.

OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.


Things to do nearby

Roslin Glen. 78 Crusader Dr, Roslin EH25 9PX. 2-minute walk. Riverside walk with rough paths that follow the River North Esk. The country park is a short walk from Rosslyn Chapel and there is a car parking area with nearby seating and picnic benches.

Penicuik Dalkeith Walkway. Lea Farm, Roslin EH25 9PY. 5-minute drive. Scenic countryside footpath on a reclaimed railway track that partially follows the River North Esk at Penicuik before diverting inland through fields.

Can be reached on foot from the chapel or visited by car from the roundabout that joins the B7003 and A6094.

Roslin Gunpowder Factory. 9PX, B7003, Roslin. 11-minute drive. An abandoned gunpowder factory that operated from 1804 to 1954 and was at one time the largest in Scotland.

It is now a collection of ruined buildings buried in the woodland of Rosslyn Glen. Easily reached from a spar of the Penicuik Dalkeith Walkway.

Pentland Hills. Flotterstone EH26 0PP. 9-minute drive. A regional park near Edinburgh that offers walks across several peaks.

There are picturesque reservoirs inside the park as well as the ancient remains of pre-Roman civilization in places like Castlelaw Hill Fort. The car park at Flotterstone offers the best route into the hills and there is a café and pub within a few minute’s walk of it.

Castlelaw Hill Fort. Penicuik EH26 0PB. 10-minute drive. A raised earthwork that is believed to have been used for storage by the tribes that lived around the area 2,000 years ago. There is a car park nearby and a footpath that continues past the fort in the direction of the City of Edinburgh bypass


Frequently asked questions

Who built Rosslyn Chapel?

Building works on Rosslyn Chapel began in the mid-15th century by the first Earl of Caithness, William Sinclair.

How much does it cost to visit Rosslyn Chapel?

Rosslyn Chapel costs around £10 for an adult ticket. The chapel has free entry for under 18s. Visit the Rosslyn Chapel tickets page for the latest entry prices.

What is buried under Rosslyn Chapel?

There are many myths and legends that guess at what is buried under Rosslyn Chapel, with the most popular theory being it is a treasure secreted in an underground vault that was left there by the Knights Templar.

There is no evidence of a Holy Grail, but some historians believe the underground vault is a store of rare books that were saved from a fire 500 years ago.

Was The Da Vinci Code filmed in Rosslyn Chapel?

Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh was the film set for the final few scenes of the film ‘The Da Vinci Code’ starring Tom Hanks.