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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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Map

Lodging Near Arthur's Seat

See all 668 Hotels near Arthur's Seat
$135
The Scotsman Hotel

The Scotsman Hotel

20 North Bridge, Edinburgh
4.4
of 5, from 1,310 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

On North Bridge, and one block from both Princes Street and the Royal Mile, this hotel is a half-mile from Edinburgh Castle, and directly opposite Waverley railway station.

$100
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

23-27 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh
4.5
of 5, from 2,069 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This handsomely updated landmark building stands at the east end of Edinburgh's famous Princes Street. The Waverley train station is a two-minute walk. Edinburgh Castle is just 0.9 km (0.6 mi) away.

$115
The Principal Edinburgh George Street

The Principal Edinburgh George Street

19-21 George Street, Edinburgh
4.5
of 5, from 494 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located amid the shops and restaurants of Edinburgh's fashionable George Street, this hotel is a block from Princes Street and a quarter-mile from the National Gallery.

$205
The Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral Hotel

1 Princes Street, Edinburgh
4.7
of 5, from 666 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, this luxury hotel is on Princes Street in the main shopping area and adjacent to Waverley Station. The hotel overlooks Edinburgh Castle and is close to the historic Old Town.

$50
Cairn Hotel

Cairn Hotel

10-18 Windsor Street, Edinburgh
4.0
of 5, from 829 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in New Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and Calton Hill. Palace of Holyroodhouse and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$107
Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

19 North Bridge, Edinburgh
4.2
of 5, from 306 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Museum of Childhood, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Real Mary King's Close. Greyfriars Kirk and Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre are also within 10 minutes.

$149
Old Town Chambers

Old Town Chambers

Roxburgh's Court, Edinburgh
4.8
of 5, from 766 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this luxury apartment is steps from City Chambers, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Real Mary King's Close. Gladstone's Land and Camera Obscura and World of Illusions are also within 5 minutes.

$87
Macdonald Holyrood Hotel

Macdonald Holyrood Hotel

81 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
4.3
of 5, from 1,132 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Our Dynamic Earth, Arthur's Seat, and Palace of Holyroodhouse. St. Giles' Cathedral and Scottish Parliament are also within 15 minutes.