Edinburgh is a city of hills, and Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park is one of the most striking. This steep, craggy hill is actually the remains of an ancient volcano that erupted about 350 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs. Take a walk around the park and explore the evidence for these ancient volcanoes and how the geology still shapes the city and landscape we see today.
This self-guided tour was created by Lara Kalnins of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh.
This walk is approximately 3.3 km/2 miles long (3.8 km/2.4 miles including the optional climb to the summit), and should take most people 2-3 hours. The route begins at the Holyrood entrance to the park, where parking is available, and ends at the Hawse. From the Hawse, there is a bus stop (buses 2, 14, 30, 33, 51) 10-15 minutes walk away on Dalkeith Road, or it takes 20-25 minutes to return to the start via either Queen’s Drive or the Hunter’s Bog path.
Paths in the park can be steep and uneven, so sturdy footwear with good grip is recommended. Do not go close to cliff edges or under cliffs – loose rock could fall. The summit is quite exposed, so a waterproof, windproof coat is recommended most days, and a hat, suncream, and water in warm, sunny weather. This walk is not recommended in high winds or icy conditions. If doing the walk late in the day, please make sure you have enough time to descend before dark, especially in winter.
Holyrood Park is a protected cultural heritage site and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Please follow the established paths between the stops (which will also help you avoid bogs and cliffs) and please do not damage or remove any rocks, plants, or animals from the park.