News and Views from Scotland

Queen Drops into Historic Edinburgh Pub

Sheep Heid Inn at Duddingson
© Kim Traynor via Wikimedia Commons

The Sheep Heid at Duddingson in Edinburgh is an historic pub but not all that fancy. Imagine the surprise of the locals when the Queen and her retinue dropped in one evening for a bite to eat.

Staff were sworn to secrecy but the news seeped out anyway. With one martini and a half bottle of white wine, restraint seemed to be the order of the day. Nobody knows who had what, but the main courses included two portions of lamb and a fillet of sea bass - with each dish coming in at around £16.

Alex Lunn, who is a regular customer, said: "The Sheep Heid Inn is something the local community is very proud of and a visit from the Queen is another string to add to its bow. I'm sure Her Majesty enjoyed an excellent meal." (Graphic of inside the Sheep Heid Inn via Wikimedia Commons.)

The inn, which was established in 1360 is claimed to be Scotland's oldest. It is possible that its name derives from a gift of a snuff box in the form of a ram's head given by James VI of Scotland to the landlord.

The legend is that King James gave the landlord a snuff box in the shape of a ram's head. Another legend tells of King James playing skittles (from which ten-pin bowling is derived) with his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, in the inn's courtyard. The Inn still has a skittles alley for use by customers.

The Sheep Heid is about a mile from The Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh, where the Queen stays when in Edinburgh. It is also convenient for Musselburgh Racecourse where the Queen had spent the day.

The present-day pub still has a fully functioning skittle alley which has changed little since the present pub was built in 1882. It is a popular watering-hole for walkers roaming through Holyrood Park.

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July 2016

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