Located at the highest point in Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano which gives incredible views of the city. It sits at 251 m above sea level and is a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to Edinburgh.
Even if you’re not much of a hiker or an outdoors explorer, a hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat is worth the trek. It’s a moderate hike, and frequented by many locals and tourists, however it doesn’t have that touristy vibe that one might expect.
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5 reasons why you should climb Arthur’s Seat
1. You’ve been eating a lot of delicious Scottish food and feel like it’s going straight to your hips.
2. You’re looking for an excellent view of the city (free of charge)
3. You want to learn more about Edinburgh’s history
4. You want to take a break from the tourist areas and explore some of Edinburgh’s natural scenery
5. You’ve always wanted to hike to the top of a dormant volcano
While there are several ways to climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat, I highly recommend taking the red path, which starts from the Holyrood Palace car park. From here, follow the red paved path which moves away from the road (not the steep path that takes you to Salisbury Crags).
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You will see the path continue round to Hunter’s Bog, however take the left fork and head towards the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel.
Very little is actually known about the origins of St. Anthony’s Chapel. Based on its construction, it seems that the chapel is associated with Holyrood Abbey, which stood just a few hundred yards away.
It is unclear when the building was built, however references are made to a grant paid for repairs to the chapel by the Pope in 1426, which suggests that the building could date back to the 1300s.
After you make your way past St. Anthony’s Chapel, you will see a line of cliffs that lead up towards the summit of Arthur’s Seat called Lang Rig (or Long Row). Follow the route past the boulder (St. Anthony’s well) and continue on the grassy path behind Lang Rig.
The climb will take you to a rocky path where you can see Dunsapie Loch below. There are a couple of rock paths that will lead to the top, take whichever one you prefer.
While you can easily reach the top of Arthur’s Seat in 30 minutes, I recommend dedicating at least an hour (or two) to enjoy the full experience of exploring Holyrood Park.
Tips for climbing Arthur’s Seat
1. Wear comfortable shoes
2. Bring a bottle of water
3. Dress for the weather (try to avoid hiking during the rain)
4. You don’t need a map, the trails are easy to follow
5. The best time to visit is in the early morning or evening to watch the sunrise or sunset
So you’ve just finished climbing up a dormant volcano and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself.
What should you do now?
Suggestions to do after your hike
1. Take a tour of Holyrood Palace
2. Enjoy a cup of tea and delicious treats at Clarinda’s Tea Room. Click the link to read my review!
3. Explore Edinburgh’s Royal Mile
4. Grab a traditional Scottish meal at one of Edinburgh’s pubs
5. Head over to Calton Hill where you can enjoy more beautiful views of the city