If you have ever dreamed of visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, you know that history is one of the top draws to this busy city in the United Kingdom. On a clear day you will find the best views of the city center from the top of Arthur’s Seat.

This moderate hike was once thought to be the site of Camelot, and King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. While Camelot still needs to be found, you can hike up the stone steps to get fantastic views of Holyrood Abbey, walk past the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel and St. Margaret’s Loch.

Even if you aren’t up for a trek to the top, you can still tackle the paved road that winds around the park or grassy path across the hills for an easy hike.

Whatever your main destination may be, a wander around this hill is a great way to experience a little of the Scottish Highlands, even if you don’t have time to drive north into more of the national parks of Scotland.

Arthurs Seat Edinbugh Castle Scotland

What is Arthur’s Seat?

Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcano that rises 800 feet above sea level. It’s the tallest peak in a group of hills in Holyrood Park. From the top, you can see Holyrood Palace, the town of Edinburgh, and even the North Sea. 

If you are into mountain lingo, Arthur’s Seat is a “Marilyn.” Scotland has some fun hill classifications, including: 

  • Munros: Mountains over 3,000 feet in height
  • Corbetts: hills between 2,500 feet to 3,000 feet in height
  • Grahams: hills between 2000 feet- 2500 feet in height 
  • Donalds: height of 2000 feet and over
  • Marilyns: hills with a drop of 492 feet on all sides

The hill has been called Arthur’s Seat since the 1500s, probably named after a local hero named Arthur, but many think it’s because of King Arthur and his knights. There are many Arthurian legends surrounding Edinburgh, so it’s easy to see why the connection is made. 

Top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh Scotland

How do you say Arthur’s Seat in Scottish Gaelic?

Suidhe Artair, pronounced   

Where is Arthur’s Seat? 

  • Address: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh EH15 3PY, UK

Arthur’s Seat is located at the end of the Royal Mile in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s on the south end of the Royal Mile (opposite Edinburgh Castle), and viewable from Holyrood Palace. You can park in the Holyrood Palace car park or walk to the start of the trail from your hotel or vacation rental.

View of Holyrood Palace from Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh Scotland

How to get to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh?

How to walk to Arthur’s Seat?

Despite the distance, it’s a fairly easy route up and down Arthur’s Seat. There are three paths to take up (some would say 5, but for the sake of clarity and ease, let’s stick with the top three trails to Arthur’s Seat) to the highest point on this extinct volcano. 

Top of Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh Scotland

Hike #1

Cross Queen’s Drive and head left to the trail. This is a rock path along Salisbury Crags, and more strenuous, but brings you through some gorgeous landscape. You will hook up with the smaller trail that brings you up to Arthur’s Seat at the top of Salisbury Crags. 

Hike #2

Cross Queen’s Drive and head right to the trail. This will bring you through Hunter’s Bog. It is a bit less strenuous and the easier hiking trail, especially if you have kids or mobility issues (not wheelchair accessible though!). 

This hike can hook up to another, much steeper trail that takes you to the very tip of Arthur’s Seat, or you can head back down. 


Hike #3

Take a taxi or drive to Dunsapie Loch where you will find a small parking lot. This is not an easy walk, but a steep path you will have to climb to the summit of Arthur’s Seat.

You will find steep, grassy slopes, but also plenty of wildflowers in spring. If you have small children or grandparents with mobility issues, leave them at the base of the final climb up the rocky path to the plaque at the top of Arthur’s Seat. 

Hike to Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh Scotland

WARNING: Wet weather will make the steep trail to the top of Arthur’s Seat very slippery, even on a grassy area. The summer months bring less rain, so it’s a tad easier to start at the bottom of the Royal Mile at the Palace of Holyrood House where many of the walking routes begin.

Always check the weather forecast to make sure it is safe to explore, especially during the rainy season.

The peak of Arthur’s Seat does give panoramic views of the capital city, but it’s not worth a major slip and fall on this steep climb.

Taxi cab in Edinburgh Scotland

How to take a taxi to Arthur’s Seat?

Edinburgh has amazing cab drivers. Even better, they have fantastic taxi services that I had on speed dial after only 24-hours in town. You simply call the service, tell them where you want to go and magically within five minutes a taxi is waiting for you.

We took our taxi as far up Arthur’s Seat as possible, which is actually pretty close. 

Order a taxi (we loved City Cabs- Black Taxis Edinburgh) and tell the driver to get you as close to Arthur’s Seat as possible. This will cost you under £20 and is worth every penny if you are traveling with small children.

Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland

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View of Arthur's Seat from Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland

Arthurs Seat Hike FAQ

How much does it cost to hike Arthur’s Seat? 

There is no admission fee. You can hike Arthur’s Seat for free. 

Which trail is best for Arthur’s Seat?

Either hike through an ancient lava flow from Holyrood Palace, or the shorter trek from the Dunsapie Loch parking lot. 

Where does Arthur’s Seat walk start?

You can start the full, round-trip hike to Arthur’s Seat from just across Queen’s Drive from Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament building. If you are taking a taxi up, you will start at the Dunsapie Loch parking lot. 

How hard is Arthur’s Seat hike?

I’d say this is a moderate to difficult hike depending on your fitness level. I was able to do it while carrying a baby on my back, but I left my baby and toddler with their grandmother before I made it up to the final summit. That would have been far too dangerous for me to do on my own with a baby on me.

Other, more active moms who are sure of their footing may have more confidence though. 

Anyone who has issues with stability should definitely bring walking poles, as the path is not paved and there are rocks, roots and dips in the path. 

Arthur's Seat hike in Edinburgh Scotland

How long is Arthur’s Seat hike?

The Arthur’s Seat hike is a 2.4 mile loop hike in Edinburgh. It will take you 1.5-3 hours to climb depending on your fitness level. 

Can you walk up Arthur’s Seat?


How long does it take to walk up Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh Scotland?

It takes about 2 hours to climb Arthur’s Seat via a round trip loop that starts and ends at Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament Building.

What is it like to visit Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh Scotland?

In one word– windy. But you will get a spectacular 360-degree views of the city of Edinburgh all the way to the water, as well as the Royal Mile. The farther you go up, the windier it will get as the brushes and other hills that have blocked the wind thus far disappear. 

St Anthony's Chapel Ruins in Holyrood Park while climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh Scotland

Arthur’s Seat is a hill in Edinburgh Scotland? Is it currently closed?

The hill is open year round, but keep an eye on trail closures. 

According to, the Radical Road footpath is currently closed. The High Road and Dunsapie Loch Car Park are only open to vehicles Tuesday to Thursday, 9.30am to 3pm.

Edinburgh castle is built on Arthur’s seat? What is Arthur’s seat?

Edinburgh castle is NOT built on Arthur’s seat; it is located about a mile west from the hill. You can view the Palace of Holyroodhouse from the top of the hill, and explore it from the starting point in the carpark.

Is there free parking at Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh?

Yes, you can park at Dunsapie Loch and then finish the shorter climb up to the summit. 

What should I do if I only have 24 hours to spend in Edinburgh?

We highly recommend that you hike Arthur’s Seat for great views of Edinburgh, visit the Royal Mile and have at least one scone. Oh, and do some whisky tasting, which is super easy to do on the Royal Mile. 


Can you hike Arthur’s Seat with a baby and toddler? 

If you love hiking and spectacular views, Arthur’s Seat with kids is a must. Just remember to wear layers as it is chilly at the top, but you will sweat through a heavy coat to get there. 

Tips for Hiking Arthur’s Seat with a baby and toddler

  • Bring a baby carrier
  • Wear good walking shoes or hiking boots
  • Dress in layers
  • Pack water
  • Bring a walking stick if you have one.
  • Carry younger kids in a hiking backpack if possible.
  • Leave toddlers at the summit just before the final hike up to the seat. This part of the hike is  windy and treacherous for little legs to tackle on their own. It is doable with a lot of help though.
  • Hike back down towards Holyrood Palace to grab a snack at the cafe, use the toilet, get an ice cream cone and then tour the palace

Our Experience Hiking Arthur’s Seat with Kids

Imagine a stunning vista filled with greenery, water and brilliant yellowish orange flowers as far as the eye can see. Oh, and a city below you that has seen more history than you could pack into just one textbook.

Now imagine hiking up to that view with your three year old. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not. This is the dilemma we faced in Edinburgh. I was determined to hike Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. I was traveling with my parents and my two boys ages 3 and 5 at the time.

I didn’t have a baby carrier or hiking pack to put my toddler in, nor did I have the strength to actually carry my 30-pound toddler on my back. We needed to figure out how to do this hike without wiping everyone out.

Enter the taxi cab. 


We took the cab to the Dunsapie Loch parking area, and started the climb with kids in tow. 

After a lot of huffing and puffing, plus carrying my toddler on my back for most of the way, we made it to the beginning of the rocky summit that would take us to Arthur’s Seat. The top of the mountain, which is the actual spot that some believe Camelot stood, was very windy. More than one parent was being pushed over.

We decided that my tired toddler would stay at the base with my tired mother to enjoy the view and the grassy expanse. My dad and my oldest son hiked up the rocks with me to snap a picture at the top.


The view was impressive. The hike up Arthur’s Seat with kids, in my opinion, was worth it. 

We didn’t stay too long thanks to the wind and my 5-year-old son almost getting knocked off the mountain, but we did enjoy our time with the rest of the travelers who had made the climb.

We might not have climbed up from the bottom, but we did climb back down the hill all the way to Holyrood Palace. In fact, thanks to a potty emergency for my oldest, he and I sprinted for a bit to make it to the public toilets at Holyrood Palace in time.


 There was also a nice little garden café just outside of the palace that we sat at for lunch and a few treats to reward ourselves for our “epic” climb to the top.

If you love hiking and spectacular views, Arthur’s Seat with kids is a must. Just remember to wear layers as it is chilly at the top, but you will sweat through a heavy coat to get there.

About The Author


  1. A really helpful guide, even if your kids are grown up like mine are! Some great tips and a big nudge for me to go back to my homeland and discover more of its green and pleasant land.

  2. Heading there in two weeks with a 3 year old and baby. We may give this a try!
    You don’t have to worry about car seats in the taxi?

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