crowd on arthur's seat edinburgh
Edinburgh,  Hikes & Walks,  Scotland

Arthur’s Seat – Hiking An Extinct Volcano In Edinburgh

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Last Updated On 6th February 2024 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World

In this post, discover Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and everything you need to know for hiking this extinct volcano and famous landmark.

Arthur’s Seat, at 250.5m (822ft) is the peak of the group of hills which form Holyrood Park.

There are many different theories about why it is called Arthur’s Seat – it could possibly be derived from King Arthur, a legendary leader of medieval Britain, or a modification of the Gaelic Ard-na-Said, meaning “Height of Arrows”, or Ard-thir Suidhe meaning “place on high ground”.

Either way, Arthur’s Seat is formed of an extinct volcano from around 300 million years ago. It was then eroded by a glacier, creating the cool (pun intended) basalt cliffs of the Salisbury Crags which dramatically drop between Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh’s city centre.

Arthur’s Seat is No. 1 in our Quick Guide to The Seven Hills of Edinburgh series. Check out the full series here: The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

Quick Guide To Arthur’s Seat In Edinburgh

sailsbury crags edinburgh
Salisbury Crags

Hiking Arthur’s Seat In Edinburgh

Being just around a mile (1.6km) to the east of Edinburgh Castle, the Seat makes a perfect and relatively easy (although it is quite steep in places, especially a direct assent) hill walk and viewpoint from which to see all around Edinburgh and the Lothians (the land/county of the city). The panoramic views from Arthur’s Seat are truly spectacular!

arthurs seat hiking viewpoint edinburgh
At the top of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. Get a cool photo with the city!
panroma from arthurs seat edinburgh
Panoramic view from the top of Arthur’s Seat

Which Route To Take To Hike Arthur’s Seat

There are many routes to climb the Seat, from almost any direction in Holyrood Park.

The most direct is from the Scottish Parliament and follow the trail (summit path route) up past St Margaret’s Well and the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel. It will take around 40-60 minutes to climb, depending on your fitness and speed.

What To Wear To Hike Arthur’s Seat

I recommend wearing good boots (although you can get away with trainers) as there are quite lot of rocks on the trail and it is quite steep.

Also make sure to do it on a sunny/cloudy day, as in the rain there is a lot of mud and potential to slip, and also to get the good views you want to have good visibility. There is no shelter and it is very windy so I also recommend wearing a wind/waterproof jacket.

hiking trail map of arthurs seat and holyrood park sign outside scottish parliament
Trail map of Holyrood Park
track up arthurs seat edinburgh holyrood park
Track up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

At The Top Of Arthur’s Seat In Edinburgh

At the top of Arthur’s Seat are lots of large  rocks and green spaces – a good place for a picnic!

view of the top of arthurs seat edinburgh
Lots of space on the top of Arthur’s Seat for play and picnics
panroma from arthurs seat edinburgh
Panoramic view from the top of Arthur’s Seat

Which Way To Go Down Arthur’s Seat

For your descent, you have a variety of options and can return the way you came up or try a new route.

Some interesting sites around the Seat to check out are the Salisbury Crags, Radical Road (a path beneath the Crags), Duddingston Loch, St Margaret’s Loch and the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel.

ruins st anthonys chapel holyrood park
Ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel

How To Get To Arthur’s Seat In Edinburgh

Getting there is really easy. Follow these options:

Walking: You can easily walk from the city centre. From Edinburgh Castle follow the Royal Mile to reach the Holyrood House/Scottish Parliament/Dynamic Earth area in about 20 minutes and go from there.

Bus: Or you can take the Lothian Bus numbers 300 or 6; or any Edinburgh Sightseeing Bus Tour*. With this tour you can explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 24-hour ticket for the hop-on and hop-off bus. The open-top sightseeing bus allows you to relax and enjoy the views while the the onboard commentary describes the history behind this beautiful city. The bus goes to all major sites in Edinburgh city centre and gives you unlimited journeys.

Quick Guide To Hiking Arthur’s Seat In Edinburgh

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Arthur’s Seat is No. 1 in our Quick Guide to The Seven Hills of Edinburgh series. Check out the full series here: The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

Looking for more awesome stuff to do in Edinburgh? Check out these posts:

Disclosure: Please note that links on this page may be affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I use all of the companies I recommend and I use them because they are awesome and help make my travels better. If you are ready to book and would like to support Wild Lovely World, using these links is one way to do that. Visit my Travel Resources page for my top travel recommendations. Thank you for your support! If you have any questions, please contact me or read my full disclaimer here.

Lauren is a coffee and cat obsessed travel writer from the U.K., specialising in solo female, couple travel and budget backpacking. She has previously lived in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England and Scotland. Follow her adventures around the world on her blog WildLovelyWorld.com

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