Welcome to Day 6 of our Scotland adventures, which was set aside for the famous Rosslyn Chapel. Owned by the St. Clair family, the chapel was built as a place of worship for the family. It fell into disrepair after the Reformation and actually served as stables for Oliver Cromwell’s army when they attacked Rosslyn Castle. Queen Victoria later visited the site and declared that it aught to be preserved for the country, so it was rededicated and repairs began. The site became a tourist destination after The Da Vinci Code book and subsequent movie were released which feature the chapel as the ending point of the story’s elaborate scavenger hunt through history.
While we were able to tour the inside of the chapel and see the numerous intricate carvings they do not allow photography on the interior, so I can’t share any of those amazing sights. But we did make a full lap of the exterior of the chapel so I have several of those to share.
This is the doorway that Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou enter in The Da Vinci Code. They also filmed in the tombs below the chapel’s altar but did modify the space a bit to fit the story line.
This is the back side of the chapel which faces away from the recently constructed visitor center.
This side door was originally used as the ladies’ entrance when men and women were required to used separate entrances and worship in segregated sections of the building.
Signage outside the chapel showcased the history of the site and the architecture of the structure. It is believed that the original plans were for the chapel to be larger with a cross shape, but when the founder of the chapel, William St. Clair died construction ceased.
Inside the visitor center the displays decode some of the numerous carvings inside the chapel. When the chapel was built many people could not read, but the carvings told visual stories designed to provide moral instruction. The story of the Apprentice Pillar told by one of the hosts while we were inside the chapel was one of the most interesting to me.
Although just a short walk from the chapel, the Rosslyn Castle ruins are not open to the public so having seen the chapel, we headed off to our next destination – the Secret Herb Garden.
The Hubs discovered this little gem online and knew I’d enjoy stopping here. He was 100% right! The rustic seating area in front of the building certainly spoke to me but the chilly fall temps led us inside to find lunch.
The simple herb displays as you approached the door were super adorable and may just need to be recreated for our deck this summer. 😉
Inside we were greeted with a quaint little shop and eatery which serves simple fares made with local produce and ingredients.
I was quite tempted by these lovely cakes at the register but opted to order the tomato soup instead, with a cupcake for desert.
While we waited for our food I browsed the displays, which featured gardening wares, pottery, artwork and even a few decor items. This is where I found the plaid pillow that is now in our guest room.
This little stool really called my name and I seriously debated bringing it home, but ultimately decided to pass since our we had already added a suitcase to our luggage collection on the trip!
Our lunch was delicious – literally the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. The Hubs tried a quiche with salad and said it was quite good as well. The Summer House lemonade we discovered here was so good I had to get another before we left so I could enjoy it on the road.
Plus the lovely fresh blooms on the table made everything even better.
And that cupcake…. yeah it was fantastic as well. I wish I’d asked for the recipe!
After eating we toured the grounds where I spotted numerous items I’d love to have carted home to my garden!
This metal fire stand was exactly like the ones I’d seen at several of the castles we’d toured and I literally drooled envisioning it filled with trailing flowers in my yard. It honestly hurt to walk away from it knowing it was too big to take home.
Inside the green house I discovered another amazing seating area, perfect for groups and fun parties. There were several table setups throughout the green house, each surrounded by the lush plants.
This bank of cosmos brought so much color and fragrance to this little area and I was thrilled to see several other varieties of flowers like this dahlia still blooming so late in the season.
I wandered the paths of the green house noting how they had the plants arranged in various ways throughout the space, including a growing wall which seemed to be doing quite well.
I also spotted several wicker forms around the green house that added a bit of whimsy and charm to the setting. I may try to recreate the triangular design to act as supports for my taller flowers this summer.
Behind the green house was another courtyard space. This one was bordered by raised beds and a lovely wicker style trellis. I’d love to create something similar to this when I develop the lower area of our yard in the next year or two!
There was also this interesting little guest house, created from a large tank. Dubbed “The Tub” it fit the setting perfectly and was a fun way to reuse material into something functional beyond it’s intended purpose.
The building behind The Tub is the herb drying room where they preserve herbs and flowers which are then used within the café and for sale in the shop in the form of herbal teas and other products. This space is also is used as an educational classroom with courses on various subjects including growing herbs, bee keeping, candle making, foraging as well as Festive and seasonal courses. I was quite bummed that I wasn’t able to attend any of those activities while visiting. Further out was another garden space with rows of a variety of flowers and herbs. This space also featured some unique garden art!
These gigantic thistles were a bout the size of my fist. I asked the guys in the shop about them but they didn’t know any of the specifics about them – so if anyone reading does, I’d love to learn more!
Heading back toward the shop I spotted these graduated retaining walls and thought it was a great simple design. I may incorporate something like this when I develop that lower area of the yard as well.
The last sight at this location was the owner’s home, which was still being landscaped but was absolutely charming. It looks like it could have been on Fixer Upper and was a perfect fit for this country setting.
Full from lunch we headed toward our next destination in Cumbria, northern England. Check out our other Scotland adventures:
And our travels through Iceland on the same trip with Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4.