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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 Arthur's Seat


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Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

231 Canongate, Edinburgh
     
    4.5
    of 5, from 506 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

    Located in Old Town, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Royal Mile, Palace of Holyroodhouse and St. Giles' Cathedral. Our Dynamic Earth and Scottish Parliament are also within 10 minutes.

    ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge - Royal Mile £60
    ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge - Royal Mile

    ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge - Royal Mile

    77 South Bridge, Edinburgh
       
      4.2
      of 5, from 1,775 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Royal Mile and Festival Theatre. St. Giles' Cathedral and Greyfriars Kirk are also within 10 minutes.

      Pollock Halls £74
      Pollock Halls

      Pollock Halls

      18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh
         
        4.0
        of 5, from 1,620 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Newington, this hostel is within 1 mile (2 km) of National Library of Scotland, University of Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat. Greyfriars Kirk and Palace of Holyroodhouse are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        Apex Grassmarket Hotel £105
        Apex Grassmarket Hotel

        Apex Grassmarket Hotel

        31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh
           
          4.2
          of 5, from 2,113 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps away from Royal Mile and Scotch Whisky Experience. Greyfriars Kirk and Edinburgh Castle are also within 10 minutes.

          The Principal Edinburgh George Street
          The Principal Edinburgh George Street

          The Principal Edinburgh George Street

          19-21 George Street, Edinburgh
             
            4.5
            of 5, from 707 reviews
            5.0 out of 5.0

            Located in New Town, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre. St. Giles' Cathedral and Edinburgh Castle are also within 15 minutes.

            Holyrood Aparthotel
            Holyrood Aparthotel

            Holyrood Aparthotel

            1 Nether Bakehouse Holyrood, Edinburgh
               
              4.4
              of 5, from 1,380 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly aparthotel is steps away from Royal Mile and Our Dynamic Earth. Palace of Holyroodhouse and Arthur's Seat are also within 10 minutes.

              Radisson Blu Edinburgh £112
              Radisson Blu Edinburgh

              Radisson Blu Edinburgh

              80 High Street The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
                 
                4.4
                of 5, from 1,783 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Located in Old Town, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Royal Mile, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Real Mary King's Close. Greyfriars Kirk and Edinburgh Castle are also within 10 minutes.

                Hotel du Vin & Bistro Edinburgh £79
                Hotel du Vin & Bistro Edinburgh

                Hotel du Vin & Bistro Edinburgh

                11 Bristo Place, Edinburgh
                   
                  4.5
                  of 5, from 674 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Old Town, this romantic hotel is steps away from Greyfriar's Bobby, Greyfriars Kirk and National Museum of Scotland. University of Edinburgh and Festival Theatre are also within 5 minutes.