Hill: Arthur's Seat (and some Edinburgh attractions)
Date: Sunday 26th July 2015
Company: Myself and Becky

On Sunday morning, we drove to Edinburgh for a short city break. Becky had not visited Edinburgh previously, so we made up a short list of top things to see and do. At the top of the list was an ascent of Arthur's Seat.

On arriving in Edinburgh, we parked on Holyrood Park Road as the road circling Holyrood Park would appear to be closed on a Sunday. From Holyrood Park Road, we made our way directly towards Arthur's Seat.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Becky at start of walk:

Arthur's Seat is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated to protect its important geology. Like the rock on which Edinburgh Castle sits, Arthur's Seat was formed by an extinct volcano 350 million years ago. Salisbury Crags was formed by subsequent glacial action. Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags helped form the ideas of modern geology as it was here that James Hutton observed sedimentary rocks and igneous rocks formed in different ages. There is a section of Salisbury Crags known as Hutton's section where magma has forced its way up through sedimentary rock.

View during initial ascent of Arthur's Seat:

There are various ascent routes up Arthur's Seat. We opted for an ascent via a very well-constructed path which starts at the West-end of Salisbury Crags.

Becky ascending the excellent track up Arthur's Seat:

Arthur's Seat provides fantastic views of Edinburgh and beyond. The higher-up you go, the greater the views.

Edinburgh and Salisbury Crags:

View during ascent of Arthur's Seat:

Edinburgh Castle can be clearly seen from Arthur's Seat. It sits on Castle Rock; another 350 million year old volcanic plug.

Edinburgh Castle (zoom) during ascent of Arthur's Seat:

The ascent of Arthur's Seat was much quicker than expected.

Looking towards the summit of Arthur's Seat:

View towards Portobello:

Looking towards the Pentlands:

The summit area of Arthur's Seat was already fairly busy but nowhere near as busy as it would become later in the day. Arthur's Seat and the wider Holyrood Park are a fantastic asset to have in the centre of a city.

About to ascend to the summit of Arthur's Seat:

View towards North Berwick Law:

Becky scrambling to the summit:

We reached the summit within 30 minutes of setting off up the hill. As far as views are concerned, this really is a hill of minimal effort for maximum reward.

Becky at the summit toposcope:

Becky at the summit trig point:

Panorama from the summit of Arthur's Seat:

View from the summit of Arthur's Seat:

From the summit of Arthur's Seat we made our way down in the opposite direction to our route of ascent, reaching the road above Duddingston Loch.

View during descent from Arthur's Seat:

Looking back towards the summit of Arthur's Seat:

Duddingston Loch:

We then walked back round Queen's Drive towards the car.

Looking back to Arthur's Seat:

On reaching the car, we decided to leave the car parked on Holyrood Park Road and walk from there around various Edinburgh attractions. Next on Becky's priority list was a visit to the National Museum of Scotland. To get there, we walked from Holyrood Park Road, along Dalkeith Road, St. Leonard's Street, Richmond Lane, Richmond Place, Drummond Street, South Bridge then Chambers Street.

We were both very impressed with the exhibits in the museum, entry for which is completely free of charge.

T. Rex cast exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland:

Becky particularly enjoyed seeing the casts of a T. Rex, Triceratops skull and Stegosaurus; she likes dinosaurs!

T. Rex cast exhibit:

Triceratops skull cast exhibit:

Triceratops skull cast exhibit:

Various animal exhibits:

We both also enjoyed the geology section of the museum.

Becky with a meteorite:

Becky with some peridotite (mantle):

Becky with a large amethyst geode:

Various animal exhibits:

Stegosaurus exhibit:

Becky and Stegosaurus exhibit:

After spending some time walking around the museum we made our way towards our third attraction of the day, Edinburgh Castle. En-route to Edinburgh Castle, we passed Greyfriar's Bobby.

Greyfriar's Bobby:

The Royal Mile is a lovely walk if you can ignore the various shops selling tourist tat, blokes dressed up pretending to be William Wallace, etc.

Entering the Royal Mile:


We walked up the mile as far as Edinburgh Castle but decided against venturing inside as we had lots more to see and do.

Edinburgh Castle:

From the castle, we descended via Ramsay Lane and Mount Place to reach the Mound, which leads towards Princes Street.

On seeing the Festival Wheel, Becky was very keen to go on the wheel. The ride was great but very brief and extremely expensive. £8 per adult and £6 per child for less than five minutes on the wheel. No wonder there was no queue whatsoever despite Edinburgh being very busy.

Becky on the Festival Wheel, Princes Street Gardens:

Selfie on the Festival Wheel:

Next we spent some time in Princes Street Gardens before walking along some of Princes Street and grabbing some late lunch up one of the side streets.

From Princes Street, we made our way down North Bridge before again reaching High Street (Royal Mile). We then went down St. Mary's Street then Holyrood Road to get back to Holyrood Park. During the walk back to Holyrood Park, we passed the ugly Scottish Parliament building. This route back was intentionally planned as it would allow us to walk back to the car via Salisbury Crags.

The Scottish Parliament and Calton Hill:

Calton Hill (zoom) from Salisbury Crags:

Edinburgh Castle (zoom) from Salisbury Crags:

Salisbury Crags are outstanding. No climbing is permitted on the crags without permission and even with permission no fixed gear or even use of temporary gear is permitted. Free-climbing only.

Salisbury Crags:

Salisbury Crags:

This was a fantastic short walk around Edinburgh taking in a few of the key attractions as well as an ascent of Arthur's Seat, which is a must if visiting Edinburgh.