Arthur's Seat

Walking to Arthur’s Seat

Stretch your legs and escape to country hills without ever leaving Edinburgh with a day spent walking to Arthur’s Seat

About a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat rises up above the city. The main peak of Holyrood Park is a lofty 251 metres above sea level. Like Castle Rock, the geological formation that Edinburgh Castle sits upon, Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano. The origins of the name are uncertain and various theories exist. A popular one is that this was the site of Camelot, the castle that was home to the court of King Arthur in the old British legends.

Though rock climbing has been limited in recent years, for safety reasons, Arthur’s Seat remains a popular spot for walkers. It offers stunning views of Holyrood Park and numerous photo opportunities of the spectacular views out over the city. It’s also a great place to head to if you need an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you fancy a quick trip to the top and don’t mind a steep slope, start from Dunsapie Loch (you can walk or drive to the loch) and you can walk to the summit from there in about half-an-hour. But if you’d rather have an adventure and do it properly, follow our circular Arthur’s Seat walk, which will take about two hours.

From the palace to the crags
Starting out at Holyrood Park car park, turn right onto Queen’s Drive and follow the pavement past Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Abbey. Go straight through the two roundabouts up to where the pavement runs alongside the imposing Salisbury Crags. There’ll be a grassy path here, which you’ll follow as it climbs underneath the crags. Turn left and join the red gravel path, which will take you to the base of the crags. There will be three paths in front of you. Take the one on the right, climbing over the rocks before turning left onto a new path. This path leads you along the rim of Salisbury Crags, which is not for those with a fear of heights. Be sure to take care along here. The path then descends away from the cliff face. Bear right at the fork in the path and head towards St Margaret’s Loch. 
St Anthony’s Chapel
From here you’ll turn onto a solid path and head St Margaret’s Loch and the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel. The ruin looks more like a castle than a chapel and not a huge amount is known about its history. Some believe that it belonged to Holyrood Abbey, the abbey said to have been founded by King David I after divine intervention prevented him from being gored by a stag in the park. 
The way to the top
The Lang Rig is the name for the line of cliffs that lead to Arthur’s Seat, formed by a basalt lava flow. Go past St Anthony’s Well and take the grassy path behind the Lang Rig. Take either of the rocky paths before you and you’ll be at Arthur’s Seat. From here, you’ll have breath-taking panoramic views of the city and of the coast out to the East, as far as Bass Rock.
Going down
Once you’ve drunk in the views from the top, it’s time to descend. Head back down the steep path to the east of the summit, which will return you to Queen’s Drive at Dunsapie Loch. Turning left at the bottom will take you onto a pavement which leads back through Holyrood Park and the car park you started from. 
A welcome reward
Alternatively, turn right when you get back to Dunsapie Loch and make a beeline for The Sheep Heid Inn, a 14th-century inn not far from the loch. Rest your legs from all the ascending and descending and reward yourself with a drink or something to eat from their Scottish-inspired menu.
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