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Arthur's Seat

Hike up a former active volcano that’s only a few minutes from the city center and enjoy impressive views of Edinburgh.

Enjoy a hill walk up a reminder of Edinburgh’s volcanic roots. Arthur’s Seat is part of a large extinct volcano that last erupted more than 350 million years ago. Visible from most parts of Edinburgh, the rocky peak rises to a height of 823 feet (251 meters). From a distance, the landmark resembles a crouching lion.  

The true origin of its name is unknown though there are two principal competing theories. One is that the hill is named after King Arthur. The other is that the name is a distortion of “Ard-na-Said,” a Gaelic phrase meaning “Height of the Arrows.”

The ascent is considered to be fairly straightforward no matter which route is taken, although the summit is rocky and exposed to the wind. The walk to the top is just under 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) and can take between 30 minutes and a couple of hours, depending on how fast you walk and the path you take. Visitors not used to hill walking may find the ascent difficult.

As you make your way up, watch for the evidence of lava flows, the mounds of dark gray basalt rock. Once you reach the top, stay a while and enjoy elevated views of the city. Many people consider the best views are to the west, looking out over the castle and the city’s Old Town and New Town. You can also see across the Firth of Forth to Fife. On clear days it’s possible to make out the Highlands. On the eastern side of the summit you’ll see two stony banks, remnants of an Iron Age hill fort.

Arthur’s Seat is situated in Holyrood Park in the center of the city, a short walk from
The Royal Mile. The walk starts near the visitor car park of Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is serviced by buses from central Edinburgh.


Guide to Exploring around Arthur's Seat


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Best Lodging Options Near Arthur's Seat

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Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile $64
Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

231 Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Old Town, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Royal Mile, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Palace of Holyroodhouse. Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and Greyfriars Kirk are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 5 minutes by foot.

    The Scotsman Hotel $145
    The Scotsman Hotel

    The Scotsman Hotel

    20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Old Town, this boutique hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Edinburgh Dungeon and Real Mary King's Close are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 28 minutes.

      The Balmoral Hotel $202
      The Balmoral Hotel

      The Balmoral Hotel

      1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in New Town, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Princes Street and George Street. Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and Royal Mile are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 4-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 24 minutes.

        Hilton Edinburgh Carlton $99
        Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

        Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

        19 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Edinburgh Dungeon and Real Mary King's Close are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 27 minutes.

          Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre $154
          Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre

          Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre

          80 High Street The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Old Town, this spa hotel is steps from Museum of Childhood, Royal Mile, and Princes Street. Real Mary King's Close and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 28 minutes.

            Cairn Hotel $41
            Cairn Hotel

            Cairn Hotel

            10-18 Windsor Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Leith, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Princes Street and Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre. George Street and Palace of Holyroodhouse are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 13 minutes by foot.

              YOTEL Edinburgh $58
              YOTEL Edinburgh

              YOTEL Edinburgh

              Erskine House, Queen Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in New Town, this hotel is steps from Georgian House and Princes Street. George Street and Royal Mile are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 16 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Waverley Station is 18 minutes.

                Macdonald Holyrood Hotel and Spa $115
                Macdonald Holyrood Hotel and Spa

                Macdonald Holyrood Hotel and Spa

                81 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, Scotland
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Old Town, this spa hotel is steps from Our Dynamic Earth and Royal Mile. Palace of Holyroodhouse and Princes Street are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 11 minutes by foot.