Arthur’s Seat offers a great couple of hours out in the fresh air, with fantastic views over the city of Edinburgh, without being miles away from civilisation. We have put together some of the more common routes of ascent on this page – if you have any more ideas for climbing Arthur’s Seat, please get in touch through the Contact Us page.

Arthur’s Seat from Dunsapie Loch

This is probably the most common route taken up Arthur’s Seat, and it is also the least interesting. One of the attractions is that it is indeed also the easiest route up (if that is an attraction!), and that you can park your car at the bottom, beside Dunsapie Loch, if you can find a space.

There is not much to this route at all – it is fairly obvious where to go! Follow one of the paths which snakes up the gently sloping hillside, they eventually converge once it becomes a bit rockier, and you can then climb up the last rocky knoll to gain the summit of Arthur’s Seat.

There are two tops marked on the top, one with a triangulation pillar, and one with a viewpoint finder, showing the directions of other hills and attractions near and far. Broadly speaking, you will see the following if you look in the marked directions:

North: Your view goes over Salisbury Crags, the striking cliffs on this geological beauty, and out towards Leith with views over the Firth of Forth. The towns you can see on the coast opposite, in the Kingdom of Fife, are Burntisland, Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy. You will probably see some boats anchored out in the Forth.

East: The view east looks out over Musselburgh to Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Port Seton and beyond. The coast stretches round past Gullane towards its head at North Berwick, and the hill you can see at the head of this piece of land is North Berwick Law.

South: The view to the south looks out towards Blackford Hill, the Braids and ultimately the Pentland Hills – you may also see the Hillend Ski Centre, which is illuminated in the evening.

West: The view west looks over The Meadows, much of the bulk of the city and out towards Corstorphine Hill and Edinburgh Airport. Further afield is Livingston and Bathgate, and the views stretch all the way to the eastern edges of Glasgow.

Arthur’s Seat from near Pollock Halls of Residence

This is a more interesting route than the one described from Dunsapie Loch, but it is still well trodden. From the entrance to Holyrood Park and roundabout beside Pollock Halls of Residence (the student residence for The University of Edinburgh), carefully cross the road and head up the road that starts to ascend Arthur’s Seat. Follow this until a path leaves to the left to climb to the brow of a little crag. You will then see a path heading straight on up Arthur’s Seat – be sure to follow the main path on the right hand side of the gully, and do not stray into the gully as this is dangerous.

The path is stepped to prevent further erosion and enable ease of ascent. It can be followed all the way up into the upper reaches of the hill. It eventually cuts up to the left (NOT the part where a path leads off to a precarious position above a crag and cliff! This route is dangerous and should be avoided!), gently ascending up onto the grassy back of Arthur’s Seat. You will then descend a short distance before ascending the final rocky head of the hill and enjoying the same fine views as described above.

In few others UK cities can this kind of sight be just 15 minutes from the city centre.

Arthur’s Seat from the Palace of Holyroodhouse

There are a couple of ways up Arthur’s Seat from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and these are typically longer than the other ones described on this page. You want to take the path which goes up a short rise beside the road, and snakes round into the little valley just below the tail of Salisbury Crags. A path can be followed on the western side of this valley all the way up to the brow described above, and the route of ascent from Pollock Halls can be joined and followed to the summit.

Salisbury Crags

Salisbury Crags offer a fine walk in their own right. A number of little paths snake across their top (don’t stray too close to the edge of the cliffs!), and can be accessed either from the brow described above, or from the path which runs past the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Radical Road

The Radical Road is an equally dramatic path which snakes its way round Salisbury Crags, but at the bottom of their main cliffs. The path is steep in places, but offers excellent views out to the west. For the more energetic among you, this can offer a fantastic running route.

The Radical Road can be accessed either from just below the small brow referred to above, from the route of ascent from Pollock Halls, or from its other end just above the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Do be careful of any falling rocks or stones, or moving stones beneath you.

For those interested in where this path takes its name from, Sir Walter Scott had suggested that (following the Radical War (also known as the Scottish Insurrection) of 1820, a number of unemployed weavers from the west coast of Scotland were tasked with constructing the path that still stands today. As you will see if you head up there, this was no easy task!

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