Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh

If you’re looking for an active challenge on your trip to Edinburgh, combined with spectacular cityscape views, a hike to Arthur’s seat will tick the box.

I had visited Edinburgh several times in the past and had never ventured into Holyrood Park or up to Arthur’s Seat, if I knew what I was missing I would have done this walk much sooner.

On this occasion, I was on a flying visit for two days teaching a Personal Training course, so I only really had my afternoon of arrival to squeeze in a bit of exploring.

After seeking recommendations from people I know in Edinburgh they were very enthusiastic about the Holyrood park walks, and indeed the view from the top of Arthur’s seat.

I had also seen some spectacular photography of the views of Edinburgh city from Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park on social media. I needed no further persuading it seemed like the perfect fitness world explorer experience for that afternoon.

Arthur's Seat Edinburgh

What is Arthur’s Seat ?

Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of a group of hills within Edinburgh’s 640 acres Holyrood Park formed from an ancient extinct volcano.

The summit of Arthur’s seat is 251m above sea level the highest point in Edinburgh, hence the incredible viewpoint of the city and healthy hike it provides.

Holyrood Park is also made up of, Lochs, Glens and Salisbury Crags a series of 150-foot cliff faces.

The Hike to Arthur’s seat

You can take a few different routes to get up to Arthur’s Seat, so this hike can be done multiple times.

I started my hike a short walk from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, past the Queen’s gallery at Holyrood Palace then picked up the trail from Queens Drive. It’s a well-used path easy to see where you’re heading, I’m told this is the more challenging route of the climbs which are all relatively easy and will be enjoyed by all with a moderate fitness level, young and mature.

As you hike to the top awesome scenery surrounds you 360 degrees.

The hike didn’t take very long approx 30-40 minutes with photo opportunities at the summit.

Whether you want to stop along the way and soak up surroundings, or power walk to the top for a challenging hike or even a trail run, it’s an excellent route.

When you reach Arthur’s Seat spectacular cityscape views of Edinburgh City and beyond welcome you.

If you have good eyesight (or binoculars), you can see the Pentland Hills to the South, the Old Town of Edinburgh, St Giles’ Cathedral, the Royal Bank of Scotland building, Edinburgh Castle, Balmoral clock tower, Scottish Parliament, a view above Holyrood Palace and Abbey.

There are plenty of other sights I haven’t named, you can see the whole city basically, and it’s awesome.

The descent from the top was a little steep and slippery because it had rained, but plenty of people were doing the hike with very different hiking and fitness levels, just take your time if unsure, it’s great.

View from Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh

The route to the top

The route to the top

Arthur’s Seat Summit

Why I think it’s great
Arthur’s seat is a very popular hike for locals and tourists, enjoyed in any weather.
Very rarely have I come across a city where you can explore the city centre and less than a mile away take in a challenging hike with spectacular views from an Urban Park.

Anyone taking a hike or run here will enjoy the surroundings, a great mix of experiences city and great outdoors, Holyrood Park is so close to the city centre.

If you’re looking for some training to start the day walking or running, it will make a fantastic early morning exercise option, and people have told me it’s incredible at sunrise through the summer months.

Have one less whiskey the night before and get yourself up super early to squeeze everything you can out of your Edinburgh visit.

For those of you keen on trail running this will be a first-rate trail run with multiple routes, I’m looking forward to an early morning trail run next time I visit.

There is a great buzz between people as they all enjoy the hike, walking together and gathering at the view points along the way.
People chatting, taking photos, eating their packed lunch together, asking each other about their visit to Edinburgh, locals giving tourists more ideas, a great atmosphere with people from all over the world mingling and chatting, it’s just a lot of fun.
On the day I visited it was a magnet for hill walkers and active tourists, great to see such a wide variety of people mixing up the usual city tourist activities with a good hike in the fresh air.

A hike to Arthur’s Seat provides superb photo opportunities, the route is easy to walk in and walk out, and really isn’t a strenuous hike.

The views, did I mention them?

View from Arthur’s Seat

Getting to Arthur’s Seat

You can’t miss it! Arthur’s seat shapes the Edinburgh skyline.
Incredibly easy to find, you can see it from Edinburgh city centre very easily.
1.6k from Edinburgh Castle

A view of Arthur’s Seat from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle

Estimated Time Required 
People with a decent level of fitness would be able to blast a power hike to the top and back comfortably in 1hr- 1.30hr, it totally depends on the route you choose and how energetic you feel on the day.

You will certainly want to stop and take in the surroundings the first time you visit.

I took my time on the day having a good look around for 30 minutes at the top.The walk was shorter than I had anticipated so when I reached the park level again I still wanted a bit more hiking, I walked opposite venturing up and along Salisbury Crags, these offer another fitness challenge with more superb city views.

Salisbury Crags

A walk to the top of Arthur’s seat, packed lunch at the top, chatting, taking photos, chatting again, exploring Salisbury crags, and finally a few more photos on the way out took approximately 2hr 30 minutes.

Every visitor should give themselves the chance to see Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat, it isn’t hard to climb and can be combined with the city centre tourist attractions in the same day.

There it is

By the time I was settled in my hotel I had walked, hiked, trekked, stumbled 23k
a great day, adding a new experience to the list whilst actively exploring.

That’s all, in summary, a quick blog post first to say visit Edinburgh it’s a great city with loads to do especially for active fitness world explorers like you, and secondly get yourself to the top of Arthur’s seat and check out those cityscape views, you can’t leave Edinburgh without experiencing the magic.

Cheers Edinburgh

About the author
Lee Murrin
The Personal Trainer and Worldwide Traveller behind Fitness World Explorer.
He has worked in his passion as a Personal Trainer and coach for 16 years .His travels have taken him worldwide to 78 different countries on many adventures.
[email protected]