Arthur's Seat

Price guide: Free

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

Price guide: Free

Arthur's Seat copyright Viewpoint Scotland
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By Alison Craig, your Edinburgh expert

I write for BBC radio, The Scotsman, .... Read more
#22 of 22
expert-rated things to do in Edinburgh
Expert overall rating:4.0 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Culture vultures, First-time travellers, Sporty types, Travellers with pets, Design and architecture, Great views / scenery, History, Nature / wildlife, Sightseeing

Best for Escapists - Expert review of Arthur's Seat

An extinct volcano with amazing views of the city below.

Arthur's Seat is the name of that 350 million-year-old hill you can see looming over the city. It's an extinct volcano that is well worth climbing to get the most stupendous views of the city below. There are a few different routes to ascend, one from the car park at Dunsapie Loch, which means it is only about 15 minutes to the summit, long enough for some, but if you want a longer stomp then start from Holyrood Park beside Holyrood Palace and allow about two hours.

The large rocky incline you will see near the top is called Salisbury Crags;a lethal drop, so hang onto your toddlers and less sure-footed friends. The view from the summit is worth it, you get a panoramic view of the city and if it's a very clear day, you can see over the Firth of Forth to the Ochil hills to the north and beyond.

You can also often see the bass rock, the landmark of a town called North Berwick in East Lothian - over 45 minutes away by car.

There are no facilities at the top, no loos, no shelter, no shop to buy a warming mug of hot chocolate or a bottle of water - so take our own supplies. It's a splendid place for a picnic in the summer.

You will need sturdy shoes or boots, flip-flops won't cut it. This is a popular place to come but there are no real directions or signs when you begin your ascent so I'd advise you to get a map, not just to get there, but to identify what you are looking at from the top.

Avoid doing this walk if it's cold, wet, foggy and rainy though, as it will bring you little joy.

Expert tips: 
Sturdy shoes are a must.
Don't bother if it's windy, wet or foggy.
No facilities - loos, cafe etc. You're on your own.
The top is quite rocky and undulating so hang onto kids, dogs and anyone less confident on their feet than you.

More information on Arthur's Seat:

Price guide:
Mountain, Natural wonder, Viewpoint
Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Never closes

Have you been to Arthur's Seat? Would you recommended it?