Watch the Sunrise from Arthur's Seat

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat (an ancient volcano in the middle of Edinburg), is a 45-minute one-way hike to watch an incredible sunrise over an ancient volcano in the middle of Edinburgh! It's an easy ascent to the top

Catch a beautiful sunrise (or sunset) from the top of Arthur's Seat. Although you are in the middle of Scotland's capital, you will feel as if you've reached the Highlands. The surrounding, panoramic views, the awesome silence, and the absence of urbanity, from certain viewpoints, makes this a very special spot.

Start 1.5 hours before sunrise from the Scottish Parliament, located next to Holyrood Park (also called the Queen's Park). If you drove, park in the lot at the corner of Queen's Drive and Horse Wynd. Enter the park and head southwest towards Arthur's Seat, the taller of two peaks in the park. There are many routes leading to the peak so don't worry about taking an exact route - just explore and keep heading towards the peak. Look out for rabbits, along the way!

Once you've reached the top, you will be glad to have brought a windproof jacket. Lean against a rock, enjoy the quiet of dawn, and wait for the warming sun to rise.

You can find a map of the route here.

Pack List

  • Sturdy footwear
  • Windproof jacket
  • Flashlight
  • Snacks and water

In Scotland, there's no such thing as bad weather - only the wrong clothes

- Billy Connelly

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RT Distance 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 650 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

"A hill for magnitude, A mountain in virtue of its bold design"

Robert Louis Stevenson said it right! This is an awesome easy hike. We did it at sunset and it was incredible. If you're in Edinburgh, you have to hike to Arthurs Seat.

What A View Och Aye

When strolling the city streets of Edinburgh you'd never quite appreciate that you're actually by the sea. The curving streets of Old Town as they hug the contours of the castle hill obscure the fact until you reach the wide avenues of the new town looking down to Leith and out to the sea. Get yourself to the top of Arthur's Seat and it all becomes perfectly clear. Track the shoreline to the disused power station and beyond, especially if you're running the marathon - you might just be able to see the 20-mile turnaround point before it heads back to the finish at Musselborough. Pick out the hive-like modern architecture of the Scottish Parliament building, the University, Blackdown Hills, the beach at Portobello, the columns atop Carlton and if you're lucky you might hear a full brass band practising their repertoire from the parklands below. It's an easy climb. The rocks at the top are smooth from treading. Find a niche away from the wind and enjoy. There's very few cities in the UK that offer such an obtainable, outdoors, majestic view.

Will be back!

If you're in Scotland and craving adventure but don't have much time for long journeys, going up Arthur's Seat is a great place to start. I didn't take the exact route described here, but it's pretty easy to figure out where to go (hint: up). If you start at the base of the hill/mountain, if you take a short route, it can take only 30 minutes. Warning, albeit an obvious reminder: I went today, and it's cold. It snows/ices in the winter (possibly up through March), so be prepared. Warm clothing, good shoes, and gloves, if you want to take pictures (I forgot; regrets).


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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