The Queen dies: Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, Royal Yacht Britannia to close as nation mourns Queen Elizabeth II

A number of Edinburgh attractions have closed to pay respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Her Majesty died on Thursday (September 8) at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, surrounded by her family.

Since the Queen died in Scotland, Operation Unicorn will be put into action, which means there will be a series of events in Edinburgh to mourn her.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will be taken to the Palace of Holyroodhouse before it lies in state in St Giles’ Cathedral, giving members of the public the opportunity to pay their respects.

The Union flag flies at half mast over Edinburgh Castle (Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
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There will be road closures in place, and a number of businesses and attractions will be closed out of respect for the Queen. Here are the major Edinburgh attractions which have announced they will shut.

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Edinburgh Castle was closed to the public on Friday (September 9), and will remain shut until Wednesday (September 14) while ceremonial activities are taking place.

A spokesperson for the landmark wrote on social media: “Edinburgh Castle remains closed while ceremonial activities are taking place and will reopen on Wednesday, 14 September.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh watch the penguin parade at Edinburgh Zoo in June 1988

Edinburgh Zoo

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Edinburgh Zoo was closed on Friday (September 9) out of respect for its Royal Patron and her family, a spokesperson said.

It said: “Her Majesty The Queen was a wonderful ambassador for wildlife who truly loved animals. Our charity last welcomed her to Edinburgh Zoo in 1988 when her joy for creatures great and small shone through to everyone present.

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"We have been honoured to have the support of her family over the years. Our thoughts are with our Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, and we offer our sincere condolences to all of Her Majesty’s friends and family at this said time.”

A Union flag flies at half-mast above the Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh on September 9, 2022, a day after Queen Elizabeth II died. (Photo by LESLEY MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The zoo, run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, will also be closed on the day of Her Majesty’s funeral, which is expected to be Monday, September 19.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

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The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith has a special connection to the Queen, being the former Royal Yacht of the British Monarchy.

Following her Majesty’s death, the attraction – which welcomes almost 400,000 visitors a year – said it will close until the end of the period of official Royal Morning.

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A statement reads: “All at The Royal Yacht Britannia are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen and would like to pay tribute to the unfailing and outstanding dedication, and service that Her Majesty gave to our Nation.

“Please note that Britannia will now be closed until the end of the period of official Royal Mourning. For those with pre-booked tickets, we will be contacting you in due course.”

The Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh has announced it will close on the day of the Queen’s funeral, which is expected to be Monday, September 19.

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A statement from organisers said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. All four Gardens will close to visitors on the day of Her Majesty’s funeral, as a mark of respect.”

St Giles’ Cathedral

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St Giles’ Cathedral off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile will be making preparations for the Queen to lie in state over the next few days. It has cancelled all events and visits until further notice.

A statement said: “With the whole nation, we at St Giles’ Cathedral mourn the death of HM The Queen, strong and faithful servant to the UK and Commonwealth for so many years. We send our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family.

"All events and visits have been cancelled until further notice please contact your events/groups organiser for more information.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

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The Queen’s official residence in Scotland has been used as a Royal Palace for centuries, including by Mary Queen of Scots.

However, it will be closed to the public as Her Majesty is to be transported to the Palace from Balmoral, before the procession to St Giles’ Cathedral.

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