Kids go free: All ages will love the secrets and mysteries of this historical gem with Hollywood links

There is so much to see in this architectural wonder for adults and kids alike – it makes the perfect day out whatever the weather, and it’s right on the doorstep.

Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446, giving visitors 600 years of history to uncover.

But what sets this building apart from others is that practically every stone surface inside and out is carved, so there are so many things to look out for on a visit.

The kids will have great fun trying to find the Green Men, the carvings of angels – including one playing the bagpipes and the famous Apprentice Pillar.

It is 21 years since the Da Vinci Code book was published and many have visited the chapel to seek out the inspiration behind it.

The story of the Apprentice Pillar has long fascinated those who come to visit it – it has been told since at least 1677!. Apart from being an exceptional work of stonemasonry, it also has a bloody and dastardly story behind it.

The Master stonemason was away in Europe seeking inspiration from great stone artists in Italy and the like, hoping to return with ideas for a dazzling piece of carving. Whilst he was gone a young (and lowly) apprentice had set to work, carving a pillar of intricate decoration and showing great skill. Legend has it that, on his return, in a jealous rage the Master picked up a hammer and killed the young apprentice with a blow to the skull. He was hanged for his crimes but the other stonemasons wanted his punishment to last longer, so they carved an effigy of his face, gazing onto the apprentice’s work, so that he had to look at it for eternity.

It’s just one of the fascinating stories that lie behind these ornate and intriguing carvings. Knowledgeable guides share many of the Chapel’s stories and can ensure no-one misses the most intriguing and well-known pieces.

The enthusiasm and expertise of the guides is just one of the things visitors praise after they’ve been to Rosslyn Chapel – check out more views on Trip Advisor. And whether you are visiting with little ‘uns with a spirit of adventure, teens wanting to make history come alive from their text books, student ready to discover more, there’s plenty for all ages.

Highlights for kids include:

  • The new Children’s Guide, which is full of puzzles and activities to keep younger visitors busy
  • Discover the ‘ropes and ladders’ game available for sale in the visitor centre
  • Try it out for size, with the photo ops in the dressing up zone at the visitor centre. Or try the interactive activities – could you channel your inner stonemason and build an arch?
  • Count the angels and animals – how many can you spot amongst the carvings.

Make a date to visit

It’s so easy to reach, with buses from Edinburgh and free parking on site too, and makes an ideal trip for the Easter break or the long May bank holiday weekends. It’s open daily for timed visits split into 90 minute slots – but there’s plenty more to see and do in the grounds and visitor centre if you want to make a day of it.

It’s free for children in a family group, only adults pay, and from April 1 a full-price adult ticket is just £10.50 (reduced price £9) – and that ticket allows you to apply for an annual pass at no extra charge so you could return to visit anytime within a year. You can even go on your own ‘treasure hunt’ by using the free map to discover the main stone carvings for yourself.

Rosslyn Chapel is managed and run by a charitable trust, so that every penny of profit goes towards its upkeep, preserving it for future generations.

Find out more about what there is to do on a family visit or visit the homepage here.