Walk: Arthur's Seat - view from the high chair

City of Edinburgh | Holyrood | Half day walk | ★★★★★

[Arthur's Seat from Salisbury Crags]

Amidst a capital city already extraordinary for its history and man made tourist attractions, Arthur's Seat is Edinburgh's crowning glory. The summit is the highest of the city's Seven Hills and dominates the skyline however you arrive in the capital, be it by air, road or rail. The rocky summit and neighbouring Salisbury Crags are, like the hill on which Edinburgh Castle stands, the remains of an ancient volcano. The whole area is within the boundaries of Holyrood Park: former royal pleasure ground and now under the care of Historic Environment Scotland. This circular route takes in the crags and summit, the park's northernmost loch and the remains of a 14th century chapel, with world class views throughout. But although technically a walk in the park, it's certainly not your average one. Stout footwear is advised: this is a proper hill climb, so allow a few hours for the whole circuit; as spoof TripAdvisor reviews point out, there's no café at the top (nor is there a seat...)!

[A distant Edinburgh Castle from Salisbury Crags]

📌 Walk: Arthur's Seat - view from the high chair ★★★★★
Start / finish at car park at St Margaret's Loch, 1 mi east of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 278741 ///finest.head.sculpture. The route can also easily be joined on foot from the city centre, from near the bottom of the Royal Mile.

▶ 4 km / 2 mi | ▲ 280 m | ⌚ Half a day | Moderate
Summits: Arthur's Seat (251 metres, sub-2000') | Features: Holyrood Park; St Margaret's Loch; Salisbury Crags; St Anthony's Chapel
Terrain: Clear dirt, stone and tarmac paths, both made and unmade with lots of steps in places. Very steep ascent to Arthur's Seat, with rough and rocky ground around the summit.

Route & map

Car park - St Margaret's Loch north side - Salisbury Crags - Arthur's Seat - Dry Dam - St Anthony's Chapel - St Margaret's Loch south side - start

Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: Ducks, swans, geese and gulls on St Margaret's Loch, bird of prey over Salisbury Crags, jackdaws on Arthur's Seat.
Weather: Extensive sunshine with a few wispy clouds forming on the summit; strong easterly wind keeping temperatures in low teens.

Also on this walk

📌 St Anthony's Chapel
Above St Margaret's Loch, Holyrood Park, a mile east of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 276737 ///often.book.hours
Always open | Free

Anything else? If visiting the chapel without undertaking the whole walk, quickest access is by a 10-min walk steeply uphill from the same car park, using the end of the walk route in reverse.

Chronological photo guide

[Holyood Parliament (centre) and Palace (right) from Salisbury Crags] 

[Edinburgh Castle (left) & Calton Hill (right) from the crags]

[Edinburgh Castle]

[Arthur's Seat beyond Salisbury Crags]

[Looking back into the city]

[Arthur's Seat beyond Salisbury Crags]

[Arthur's Seat]

[Hunter's Bog]

[Ascent route (centre)]

[The steep ascent to Arthur's Seat is aided by steps]

[Looking back to Salisbury Crags]

[Halfway up]

[Looking south towards the Pentland Hills from the ascent]

[Nearly there]

[Looking east from the summit]

[Hunter's Bog & Dry Dam]

[View back to the summit]

[Gorse flanks the descent]

[St Anthony's Chapel]

[St Margaret's Loch]

[The descent to the loch is a little rough]

[St Margaret's Loch]

[Swan on the loch]

[Tufted duck on the loch]

[Pigeon at the loch]

[Summit, chapel & loch from near the finish]

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