Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh which form most of Holyrood Park. It is situated just to the east of the city centre, about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m (822 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city and beyond, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking.
Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the east, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch. At a spur of the hill, Salisbury Crags has historically been a rock climbing venue with routes of various degrees of difficulty; however due to hazards rock climbing is now restricted to the South Quarry and a free permit is required.
It is also the site of a large and well preserved fort. This is one of four hill forts dating from around 2000 years ago. With its diverse range of flora and geology it is also site of Special Scientific Interest.
Experience a proper hill walk in the heart of the city. Arthur’s Seat’s rocky summit towers over Edinburgh, with fabulous views in all directions, and the extensive parkland surrounding it is an oasis of calm as a retreat from the busy city.
Within the park you can also visit St Anthony’s Chapel – a 15th century medieval chapel, Salisbury Crags – a series of 150 foot cliff faces dominating Edinburgh’s skyline as well as Duddingston Loch – a fresh water loch rich in birdlife.
Arthur’s Seat is often mentioned as one of the possible locations for Camelot, the legendary castle and court of the Romano-British warrior-chief, King Arthur.
Tradition has it that it was at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, covered by the forest of Drumselch, that Scotland’s 12th-century king David I encountered a stag while out hunting. Having fallen from his horse and about to be gored, he had a vision of a cross appearing between the animal’s antlers, before it inexplicably turned away, leaving him unharmed. David, believing his life had been spared through divine intervention, founded Holyrood Abbey on the spot. The burgh arms of the Canongate display the head of the stag with the cross framed by its antlers.
The slopes of the hill facing Holyrood are where young girls in Edinburgh traditionally bathe their faces in the dew on May Day to make themselves more beautiful. The poem ‘Auld Reekie’, written by Robert Fergusson in 1773, contains the lines:
On May-day, in a fairy ring,
We’ve seen them round St Anthon’s spring,
Frae grass the cauler dew draps wring
To weet their een,
And water clear as crystal spring
To synd them clean
The exquisite Rosslyn Chapel is a masterpiece in stone. It used to be one of Scotland’s best kept secrets, but it became world-famous when it was featured in Dan Brown’s the Da Vinci Code. Rosslyn Chapel is part of our social programme every 3 weeks.
Here some pictures from last week:
Art historian Helen Rosslyn, whose husband’s ancestor built the chapel over 500 years ago, is the guide on a journey of discovery around this perfect gem of a building. Extraordinary carvings of green men, inverted angels and mysterious masonic marks beg the questions of where these images come from and who were the stonemasons that created them? Helen’s search leads her across Scotland and to Normandy in search of the creators of this medieval masterpiece.
Founded in 1446, as the Collegiate Church of St Matthew, Rosslyn Chapel today attracts visitors from far and wide, drawn by its unique and mysterious carvings and the beauty of its setting.
The chapel took some 40 years to complete and its ornate stonework and mysterious symbolism have inspired – and intrigued – artists and visitors ever since. Today, there are countless theories, myths and legends associated with the Chapel, many of which are impossible to prove or disprove conclusively.The Chapel’s tour guides will be able to tell you more about these, and about the history of the Chapel, during your visit.
Children free as part of a family group
Rosslyn Chapel is open throughout the year.
Monday-Saturday: 09.30 – 17.00
Sunday: 12 noon – 16.45
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing but we recommend at least one hour for your visit.
If there’s one thing Scotland does well… it’s road trips! Stunning coastal routes, scenic mountain drives, and open, endless landscapes that create an awe-inspiring atmosphere – the sights you’ll see are out of this world!
When touring Scotland by car, your route can be as long or a short as you like – it’s completely up to you. Follow a dedicated driving route, such as the North Coast 500, which takes miles-upon-miles of northerly coastal points, iconic locations and pretty Highland towns and villages. Or make it up as you go along and create your own route, stopping off to explore the landscapes whenever you please. Travel through various regions over a week or two, or a few small towns and villages over a weekend, both will leave you itching to come back for more.
In Scotland, we have 12 National Tourist Routes that are spread across the country taking in all the scenic sights you could hope for, from glittering lochs in Argyll and the sparkling coastline of Fife, to the rugged landscapes of the Highlands and the enchanted forests of Perthshire.
The animated history for the little nation in northern Europe we all know and love. Scotland! From Bronze age Picts, to the modern nation within the United Kingdom, Scotland has a rich, independent personality and a vibrant, ancient culture.
Scotland’s weather is a whole other topic of conversation that typically comes up in everyday chat at least once or twice. Our weather can be unpredictable and changes so often that you may well experience all four seasons in one day, but it’s unlikely. The best advice we can give you is: be prepared!
Scottish weather is often mild, with a moderate chance of rain, but that never stops us from making the most of the day, no matter what the weather throws at us. From windy walks on the beach or sunny bike rides on woodland trails, to gorge walking in the drizzle or skiing and snowboarding on real snow – there’s plenty you can do come rain or shine (or even snow!).
There are a few things to remember to bring with you to make sure your time in Scotland is enjoyable and memorable:
The right clothing! There’s nothing worse than being stuck outdoors without the right jacket or pair of shoes for the terrain or landscape you’re on.
An umbrella always comes in handy for those unexpected showers.
Sunglasses may be needed for those glorious days of sunshine… yes, we do see the sun in Scotland!
Remember to layer up. Bring plenty of t-shirts and a snug jumper, or why not buy a knitted jumper made of Scottish wool while you’re here?
Scotland’s varied weather benefits a lot outdoor pursuits, activities and sightseeing opportunities across the country. Our long summer days mean you have more daylight to explore Scotland’s landscape and the further north you go the more daylight you get, so this is a great time to explore the Highlands and northern corners of Scotland. With the strong, steady currents, the Atlantic and North seas can produce some of the best surfing conditions in Europe. There are miles of picturesque coastline that provide the perfect location to try your hand at surfing, or a range of other watersports too.