Destination: Edinburgh
Top Ten
1 Arthur's Seat
2 Dynamic Earth
3 Edinburgh Castle
4 Museum of Scotland
5 National Gallery of Scotland
6 The New Town
7 Palace of Holyroodhouse
8 Royal Botanic Garden
9 The Royal Mile
10 Scott Monument

Edinburgh Castle
1 Arthur's Seat

Edinburgh is unique in Europe in possessing a craggy peak within a stone's throw of the city centre, the perfect antidote to crowds and culture.

Holyrood Park and Edinburgh itself are dominated by the extinct volcano known as Arthur's Seat, soaring to 251m above the city. The volcano erupted some 325 million years ago during the early Carboniferous era; its other remnants make up the Castle Rock and Calton Hill. Keen geologists can trace the various stages of today's rock formations - the summit marks where the cone erupted, while molten rocks formed the sills such as Salisbury Crags and Samson's Ribs. Erosion during the Ice Age laid bare the inside of the volcano, isolating the twin peaks of Arthur's Seat and the Crow Hill. Explanations for the name vary; some believe it to be a corruption of the Gaelic name for `archers', others claim the Normans associated it with the semi-mythical King Arthur.

You can climb Arthur's Seat from a path starting near St Margaret's Well just inside the Palace of Holyroodhouse entrance to the park; the path divides at the start of Hunter's Bog valley and either branch leads to the summit. Take the right hand one to go along the path called the Radical Road, which runs directly beneath the rockface of Salisbury Crags, or the left, through the Dasses, to the top. Easiest of all is to drive to the car park near Dunsapie Loch; from here it's a short, steepish climb to the top, with one or two rocky scrambles to give you a feeling of real achievement. However you get there, it's worth it for the panorama of the city, the Firth of Forth, the Pentland Hills and the coastline east of Edinburgh.

Address: Holyrood Park
Phone: 0131 556 3407
Open: 24 hours, 365 days a year, but no vehicular access to Dunsapie Loch on Sun
Bus: 1, 6, 36, 69, 85
Accessible: Few
Admission: Free
Other: Dynamic Earth; Palace of Holyroodhouse; Royal Mile; Duddingston; Holyrood Abbey; Holyrood Park

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