Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
Millions of visitors huff and puff their way up Edinburgh's Arthur's seat and the Crags every year... but how many have actually completely missed these delightful little ruins?
St. Anthony's Chapel stands on a rocky outcrop high above St Margaret's Loch, and is a fantastic place to enjoy excellent views over North Edinburgh, Leith and the River Forth. Instead of following the path up to the summit, keep to your left and you'll find it easily.
Surprisingly little is known about the origins of St Anthony's Chapel, but it does seem very likely that the chapel was closely associated with Holyrood Abbey, which stood just a few hundred yards away to the north west. The two were linked by a well-made stone track (now heavily worn) with kerbstones that can still be seen in some places, and about three quarters of the way along this track up to the chapel is the spring and carved stone bowl known as St. Anthony's Well.
It has also been suggested that the chapel served as a sort of religious beacon, designed to be clearly visible to sea-borne pilgrims coming to Holyrood Abbey as they sailed up the River Forth.
As so little is known about the chapel, it's quite difficult to determine its exact age but the building could date back into the 1300s or beyond. Details of its demise are equally unclear, but presumably, like Holyrood Abbey itself, St. Anthony's Chapel fell into disuse and disrepair after the Reformation in 1560.
The chapel ruins are easily reachable by able walkers with good shoes, and serve as a great place to relax and enjoy some quiet moments away from the crowds of Edinburgh.
--> You can walk down to St. Margret's Loch from here, but beware that it's a very steep descent (and slippery!). We walked down here after heavy rains to find that the loch was actually starting to overflow... so we got wet feet, haha!
At the foot of Arthur's Seat is Holyrood Park... this was originally built as a hunting reserve in the 12th century. St Margaret's Loch is a shallow man-made loch to the south of Queen's Drive.
The loch was formed in 1856 as part of Prince Albert's improvement plans for the area surrounding the palace. The loch has been used as a boating pond but is now home to a very large population of ducks, geese and swans... who are - by the way - neither shy nor afraid or people, let me tell you!
There are always many tourists and local families walking around the park, and many bring some bread to feed the substantial resident avian population.
On the day we visited, we saw a mother give her 3-year old son a bag of bread. Whilst he was struggling to open the bag, the birds took notice and suddenly the entire loch was literally on the move... towards him!
Swans jumped ashore and waddles towards him... ducks came charging past the swans... and seagulls were dive-bombing the little one from above. All of this commotion was obviously too much for the boy so he just dropped the bread bag and ran away, screaming! His mother and many bystanders (including my husband and I) thought this was just too funny... after all: no human children or birds were harmed during this greedy encounter, haha!
If you are lucky enough to be able to climb Athur's Seat, which is the plug of an old volcano, you can record spectacular views of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside. I take my visitors as high up as I can via the trusty Renault, so they can hop out and snap a few memorable shots. I would suggest that you look at atypic's page as he and his lovely wife Pascale actually climbed to the top. That man is FIT lololol
Look at the website if you want to be here virtually.
Well the sun came out just as I was about to make my way to this hill and what a lovely evening I spent there. There is a bitumen road to the top or you can make like a goat and zig zag your way up.
I tried to walk it but ran out of time and had to come back. It is a good idea to take a water bottle with you as well as a snack and a warm coat. It get very windy!
A great way to see Edinburgh is to take a walk up to Arthur's Seat (and go to the top!). Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crag's are both situated in Holyrood Park to the east of the city (you really can't miss them).
The Salisbury Crag's sit at the front with Arthur's Seat just behind and a bit taller at 823ft aboce sea level. This is a great walk/hike to take and I really recommend it. Just remember that it will be fairly cool and windy at the top. And also remember to wear sneakers (or appropriate footwear) and take a bottle of water with you, and maybe even some lunch to eat at the top!
See my travelogue on Arthur's Seat for more information and photos.
I climbed all the way up Arthur's Seat via a path beginning near Hollyrood Castle. After close to an hour I met more and more people. There is a car park on the far side of the hill, almost at the top! Those lazy people just drive up. It's much more worth it to walk cuz you really appreciate it.
I took the long way down, along a ridge. That would have been a challenging climb!
This is Arthur's Seat, the highest protrusion rising above Edinburgh in Holyrood Park, as seen from my son's kitchen window on South Oxford Street.
For some more views, please see my Views of Edinburgh travelogue.
Arthur's Seat is a 250m height remains of a volcano right in the middle of Edinburgh and very close to the holyrood palace.
You can walk in the area and also you can see Arthur's Seat from many places in the town.
Arthur's Seat is a fun hike on an easy zig-zagging trail, but the closer you get to the top, the stronger weather you will have. We almost made it to the top, but the wind and hail and the fact that no one else was around told us that we should probably head back down. Be prepared for colder temperatures as well. In June, I wore a t-shirt, medium-weight rain coat, and a hat and was on the chilly side of comfortable. Arthur's Seat is definitely worth doing if you're in Edinburgh. I found it a magical experience.
I don't think many people go up to Arthur's Seat. This is where the Edinburgh observatory sits and where you can get a beautiful top view of the city.
I recomment to go there especially during the sunset. It rewards visitors witha panoramic and uniquely red coloured view of the city.
You can get there either by walking or by car.
I would assume that only one out of every 25 tourists actually has the motivation to make the climb up to Arthur's Seat. I believe this is a dead volcano, but nonetheless it is a large hill and the highest point in Edinburgh.
If you park your car at the Palace of Holyrood House and cross the road heading towards the hills you can climb up to Arthurs Seat. This deeply eroded remnant of a long extinct volcano is part of Holyrood Park. Arthrus Seat is 251 metres high and it gives wonderful views over the city and over the Firth of Forth with its 2 bridges. Holyrood Park was the former hunting grounds of the Scottish Monarches and it is 263 hectares of varied landscape in the busy city.
It really is a fantastic walk, you follow the footpath to near St. Anthony's Chapel (which is a ruin) and then head up the well marked path to link with the paths coming from the east side of the hill (where Dunsapie Loch is). At this point several paths come together where a new path has been constructed. From there you continue over the volcanic rock to the summit of Arthur's Seat. Just follow the people climbing up the steps or along the path you cannot miss it and although it can be quite busy it is not too much and the chat with other walkers does help you when climbing the steeper bits!!
Alternatively you can park at Dunsapie Loch and approach the summit from the east along either of the two obvious paths starting at the car park. This is an easy stroll that takes only 15 minutes to reach the summit. We walked alongside the loch on our way back to Holyrood House.
A great thing to do that is slightly off the beaten track is to take a vigorous walk to the top of Arthur's Seat. Arthur's Seat is volanic crag that erupted millions of years ago. It can get quite windy or rain at any time(which is normal in Scotland!) so take a coat or simliar. It is a very romantic place to take a picnic lunch. The views of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside are awesome...especially the flashes of yellow in the distant rape fields. I have also seen people rock-climbing there.
Arthur's Seat and Salsbury Craggs was used as a hunting ground for the Scottish Kings. Arthur's Seat is an extinct volcano. It only takes about one to two hours to climb to the top! The view from up there is tremendous. It's a good idea to go their on your last day in Edinburgh as a last sceney, while you can relax and enjoy the panoramic views of this beautiful city.
Lucky Edinburgh - it has a mountain in the middle of the city, well okay, a hill actually but it only takes about half an hour to walk up and the views are fantastic.
More views can be had even closer to town by going up Carlton Hill, just past the East end of Princes Street.
Another good walk is from Stockbridge, along the water of Leith to Dean Village and then on to the Gallery of Modern Art Cafe (Belford Road) for coffee and cake!