Bet you didn’t know there’s an ancient extinct volcano right in the middle of Edinburgh! Just a mile east of the Royal Mile you’ll find Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park, a legendary peak that offers unparalleled views of the city and the North Sea. Along with Calton Hill and Castle Rock, Arthur’s Seat is one of the “seven hills of Edinburgh.” It’s free to visit and open 24 hours a day (though we definitely don’t recommend climbing in the dark!)
Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson described Arthur’s Seat as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design,” and we’re sure you’ll feel the same once you experience the peak’s mystical beauty. Just be sure to wear layers on your climb - it can get pretty windy at the top.
Climb up to Arthur’s Seat via the Salisbury Crags for an easy walk, or follow one of the steeper walking paths stemming from the Holyrood Park Road roundabout. If you’re travelling by car, you can park in the car park south of the Scottish Parliament and follow Queen’s Drive towards the hill.
If you’d rather stay in the car, it is possible to drive up part of the peak. Get out at Dunsapie Loch and admire the views from there, or follow the short walking path to the top.
However you do it, don’t forget to check out the ruined Holyrood Abbey, which was founded in 1128 by King David I, and Saint Anthony’s Chapel Ruins above St Margaret’s Loch, an old stone structure that dates back at least to the 1300s.
No one knows for sure just where the name Arthur’s Seat comes from. Some say it’s where Camelot, the legendary home of King Arthur and his Knights, was once located. Others believe it’s a derivation of the Scots Gallic phrase Àrd-na-Said, meaning “height of arrows.”
If you feel like you deserve a treat after all that climbing, we agree. Walk back down the hill on the southeast side and find your way to the Sheep Heid Inn Pub & Restaurant, perhaps the oldest surviving licensed bar in the city and possibly the entire country. The Sheep Heid has served up traditional Scottish ale and pub food for 600 years. Come for a pub quiz or walk out back to see the old-fashioned bowling alley which was built back in 1870.
Throughout the Year
Entry to Arthur's Seat
United Kingdom EH8 8AL