Bob Law: The Beauty of Holyrood Park in Edinburgh


Many people, visitors from abroad and non Edinburgh Scottish residents alike, are immediately attracted by the looming presence of the ancient volcano of Arthur’s Seat- visible from Princes Street and many other parts of Edinburgh. Bewitched by its rugged yet easily accessible slopes they make a beeline for the summit peak…, stand on top of it for the spectacular views… then wander back down the same way… satisfied that they have achieved their objective which you can reach within a 30 minute walk by the shortest route. Many never think about climbing Arthur’s Seat again.

Calton Hill. Edinburgh.Calton Hill. Edinburgh.

Holyrood Park

I did this on my first few trips to Edinburgh but later I discovered the full majesty of Holyrood Park itself, its many quieter nooks and crannies that few visiting tourists bother with in their compulsive drive for the summit. It is a beautiful park in its entirety and if you have the time – three or four hours or longer- you can make a cracking hill-walking day of it.

Holyrood Park Viewpoint. Whinny Hill. EdinburghHolyrood Park Viewpoint. Whinny Hill. Edinburgh


Jogger in the Landscape. Holyrood Park. Edinburgh
Jogger in the Landscape. Holyrood Park. Edinburgh
Holyrood Park.EdinburghHolyrood Park.Edinburgh


Canada Geese and youngsters.Canada Geese and youngsters.

St Margaret’s Loch, St Anthony’s ruined Chapel and the gorse covered slopes of Whinny Hill took my breath away the first time I ascended from this direction, especially in May, with the path weaving through a carpet of dazzling yellow flowers and the heady scent of spiced coconut in the warm air.

St Margaret's Loch and yellow gorse carpetSt Margaret’s Loch and yellow gorse carpet

From Princes Street, or the main bus or railway station nearby, the energetic visitor can climb Calton Hill first then descend via the long staircase of Jacob’s Ladder into the old graveyard visible below.

Steps on Arthur's Seat. EdinburghSteps on Arthur’s Seat. Edinburgh


Scottish Parliament Building and Holyrood PalaceScottish Parliament Building and Holyrood Palace

From here past the Palace of Holyroodhouse or alternatively a more circuitous route via Dumbiedykes Road, St Leonard’s, and a tunnel you can access the park….and Arthur’s Seat.  Duddingston Loch and village is also worth a visit, as is the walk along the top of the vertical cliffs of Salisbury Crags.

View From Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh.
View From Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh.

On other visits even the outlying Meadowfield Park, Dunsapie Hill, Nether Hill, and Lochend Park give different views and offer attractive delights, unseen and unknown by most casual tourists.

Bob Law, May, 2022

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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