If it's a nice day you might want to walk up to the top of Arthur's Seat (which I did on a previous visit two and a half years ago) to get some nice views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Arthur's Seat is an extinct volcano which looks like a mountain, even though it is only 250 meters (823 feet) above sea level. It is located in Holyrood Park, a 650 acre open area which is also sometimes known as Queen's Park because it is owned by the queen.
I took this photo from the St Leonards entrance to Holyrood Park, near the Royal Commonwealth Pool.
For some more photos, please see my Views of Edinburgh travelogue.
Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills that form most of Holyrood Park,described by 'Robert Louis Stevenson' as 'a hill for magnitude,a mountain in virtue for its bold design'.It is situated in the centre of Edinburgh about a mile to the east of the Castle.the hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m(822 ft),and provides escellent panoramic views of the City and surrounding districts.It is relatively easy to climb and popular with hillwalkers and hikers.
There is no traditional Scottish Gaelic name for Arthur's Seat but 'William Maitland' proposed that the name was a corruption of 'Ard-Na-Said',implying the 'Height of Arrows',which over the years became Arthur's Seat.it is part of a much bigger site of an extinct Volcano and is a Natural Heritage Site.The site is approximately 350 million years old dating back to the 'Carboniferous Age.
Edinburgh's beauty is rough, dark and gritty. Unlike many other old European cities with their dainty architecture, pretty iron gates, charming facades and adorable bell towers, Edinburgh is a diamond in the rough... more like a sweaty sexy warrior instead of a baby-faced skinny male model... (ok, I'm getting carried away here)...
One of the many things I love about Edinburgh is the fact that - if need be - you can escape the crowds and noise of the city and just a short walk will take you into Holyrood Park (the word Holyrood comes from the term "Haly Ruid" meaning Holy Cross.) This is where you'll find the famous Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags (see my separate "Things to Do" tip).
Testament to this unique beauty is Arthur's Seat - a large hill east of the castle which resembles a crouching lion, situated within Holyrood Park. The park (about 650 acres big) must be the largest area of captivating unmanicured mountain wildscape at the centre of any European city.
Even more amazing is that Arthur's Seat is an extinct volcano - the largest of a number which gave this region its shape. This 350 million-year-old volcanic rump demands the attention of any visitor to Edinburgh. Nobody is quite sure how the rock got its name: King Arthur is one of the few people not to have visited his "seat". The name is thought to be a corruption of Ard-na-Said, a Gaelic phrase meaning "Height of the Arrows". This may, or may not, be connected to the Iron Age fort that once straddled the summit.
To walk up to the summit, you don't need any special equipment apart from a good pair of walking shoes. Arthur's Seat is visible from just about anywhere in Edinburgh so just follow the signs to Holyrood Park.
The easiest and most direct route is to 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.
Alternatively you can park near the Palace of Holyrood and follow the footpath to near St. Anthony's Chapel ruins (see my separate "Off the Beaten Path" tip) before heading up the well-marked path to link with the paths coming from the east side of the hill (Dunsapie Loch). At this point several paths come together where a new path has been constructed. From there continue over the volcanic rock to the summit of Arthur's Seat.
--> Useful website: http://walking.visitscotland.com/walks/centralscotland/holyrood_park_arthurs_seat
Once you've reached the top, you'll be able to enjoy unprecedented views over the gorgeous Edinburgh city panorama... don't forget to bring your camera!
Arthur's Seat is part of an extinct volcano. The top is at 251 m and overlooks Edinburgh. It is an one-hour trek to get there from the Scottish Parliament building, taking the trail past Hunters Bog. However, if you are driving, you may park in a lot on the south side of Holyrood Park off Queen's Drive, and only have to do the steep climb toward the end of the trail.
Climbing the highest peak in Edinburgh? For those who can physically handle it, I say why not?
Take in the most gorgeous views of the city, from beside the sea. This is the perfect vantage point.
The tour buses take you here, but you go up on your own!
There are several lochs (lakes) of varying sizes on your way up - all adds to the majesty of the site :)
I did Arthur's Seat after arriving in town on May 29th, 2009. It took me about an hour to walk up to the top with a lot of stops to catch my breath and rest my legs along the way. I bought a bottle of water before starting at a mobile cart in the parking lot of the park below the hill and was glad I did so.
The view at the top was great but the rocks at the top are so worn down from the foot traffic that my shoes were slipping. I didn't get to walk up when I was last in Edinburgh in 2005 since a local advised me to not do it since it was raining and the rocks would be wet. I was glad I took the advice.
I would walk up Arthur's Seat again I'm sure.....maybe on a cooler day though.
The crags that make a backdrop to Edinburgh are the remains of a volcanic eruption that took place 350 million years ago.
They make a pleasant place to walk, or drive, up as there is a wonderful view over the Pentland Firth, with Portobello tucked in down below.
Unfortunately it is a favourite place for suicides.
Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 251 m (823.5 feet), provides excellent panoramic views of the city, is quite easy to climb, and is a popular walk. Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the East, where a grassy slope rises above from the scottish parliment. We tried climbing in this route and made it to the top in less than 30mins! :)
The view from the top was spectacular to say the least...it was very windy but the view made it worth it! :)
An extraordinary natural wilderness in the middle of the city, with Arthur's Seat (the highest point) and another extinct volcano) a dominant landmark from many parts of the city. You can drive through parts of the park, but the real pleasure is to walk (although it can be tough going in parts). Walk up Salisbury Crags (the nearest point to the city) for sunset (or any other time of day!) over Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the distant Ochie Hills. If you have the energy (and time) continue on to ascend Arthur's Seat itself, But its not all arduous up-hill walking - some of the gentler paths are also worth while, including St Margaret's Loch and the ruins of St Anthony's Chapel (walk past Holyrood Palace and keep walking along the road for 20 minutes or so).
But once you have made the decision to ascend Arthur's Seat, remember this is no Sunday afternoon stroll in the park! The early part can be pretty tough!
I've been up Arthurs Seat a few times with the last being the most memorable. There are numerous routes to the summit but these are not that well signposted so don't be afraid to stop a passer by and ask. From the top you can see all of Edinburgh laid out below you and on a clear day you can pick out hills such as Lammer Law in the distance.
The last 2 times I have been up has been with adventurous/foolhardy friends and we have taken the lesser trodden path down from the summit which involves a very steep gully. Quite exhilarating but not so good when an unsuspecting tourist decides to follow you (we'd to shout directions up the hill on where best to go after she got stuck on the edge of a cliff).
The hill is part of Holyrood Park which is a Royal Park and one of the places that James Hutton used to formulate his ideas that went on to pave the way to modern geology.
Other than that, Duddingston Loch is the venue for the much celebrated painting by Sir Henry Raeburn of Skating on Duddingston Loch that can been seen hanging in the National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street.
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