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Holyrood Park

Holyrood Park is a unique historic landscape in the heart of the city, whose dramatic crags and hills give Edinburgh its distinctive skyline.

Holyrood Park

At the heart of the city

Holyrood Park is a unique historic landscape in the heart of the city, whose dramatic crags and hills give Edinburgh part of its distinctive skyline. The park contains a wealth of history and archaeology spanning thousands of years.

Because of this history the park is a Scheduled Monument and looked after by Historic Scotland. Due to its diverse flora and geology it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Please respect the fragility of the park and help the Ranger Service when you visit by abiding by the park rules and regulations.

Prehistoric activity

The discovery of numerous Mesolithic and Neolithic stone and flint tools demonstrate human activity in the park from at least the 5th millennium BC.

By the Bronze Age, people were farming the land and living in small settlements, traces of which survive. One of the most spectacular finds from the area is a hoard of Late Bronze Age weapons, discovered in Duddingston Loch in 1778.

The rocky slopes of the park were well suited to fortification, and four prehistoric or Dark Age forts are clearly visible on Salisbury Crags, Samson’s Ribs, Arthur’s Seat and Dunsapie Crag. The fort on Dunsapie Crag has traces of houses, possibly from the early Iron Age, preserved in its interior.

Religious links

From at least the 1100s  the park has had strong religious associations. Its origins as a royal park lie in its ownership by Holyrood and Kelso Abbeys, and its close relationship with Holyrood Abbey is very significant. St Anthony’s Chapel, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking St Margaret’s Loch, is one of the key features in the landscape. People still visit the park today for religious occasions and spiritual fulfilment.

A royal pleasure ground

Holyrood Park was a royal pleasure ground for nearly 1,000 years. Its close relationship to the Palace of Holyroodhouse is one of its defining characteristics. The park was enclosed in the 1500s, under royal direction. This has greatly aided its conservation.

Royal associations include David I, James IV, James V, Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert. Albert took a particular interest in the park and organised its landscaping in the 1840s and 1850s, introducing a new drainage scheme and the present layout of roads.


  • The amazing view of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat – the park’s highest point at 251m above sea level – and the Salisbury Crags, world famous since their association with famous geologist James Hutton in the 1700s, which dominate the Edinburgh skyline.
  • ultivation terraces – the best-preserved examples in the Lothians, providing evidence of past farming practices. Some of the most striking lie on the east flank of Arthur’s Seat.
  • •St Anthony’s Chapel – a picturesque medieval ruin commanding fine views.
  • Duddingston Loch – with its geese and other birdlife, a haven for locals and visitors alike.
PDF icon Map and Guide
PDF icon Climbing Guide
PDF icon Bird Feeding Guide
PDF icon Camping Guide
PDF icon Fishing Guide

PDF icon Traffic Regulation FAQs

Information on the Ranger service



Sunday Road Closures

From late March/early April until end of September all roads, except the High Road (where possible) and access to the car parks, will be closed from 8.30am to 6pm every Sunday.

From October until late March/early April all roads, except the High Road (where possible) and access to the car parks, will be closed from 8.30am to 4pm every Sunday.

Other Road Closures

For Historic Scotland closure updates please follow us on Twitter (#hsclosure) or visit our closure page.

From October until late March/early April the High Road will close overnight from 3.30pm and it will re-open each morning, if it is safe to do so, by 8.30am.

In certain circumstances Roads within the Park may be opened or closed for longer periods or at other times as a result of ice, rock fall, a large public event, an accident or maintenance work taking place.

Information on additional or extended road closures are advertised via local media, radio and traffic information services, as well as yellow advance notice signage where appropriate.

Footpath Restrictions/Closures

There is a diversion in place around the St Anthony's Chapel area due to poor underfoot ground conditions.

PDF icon Detailed road and footpath names [pdf, 1.6mb]

PDF icon External events and park restrictions June - September 2015 [pdf, 154kb]


Toilets are located at the Education Centre, behind Holyrood Palace.


Parking is available near Holyrood Palace Broad Pavement, St Margaret's Loch, Dunsapie Loch and Duddingston Loch.

Parking near Holyrood Palace Broad Pavement is charged. £1.00 an hour, with a minimum charge of £1.00. The charges apply between 8.30am and 5.30pm. The Regulations do not apply on Saturdays, Sundays and Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New years Day and Easter Monday. Charges applies to Historic Scotland Members as well.


Off road cycling is not permitted, please keep your bike on the roadways or designated paths.

Holyrood Park Exhibition

An exhibition of the park is available at Holyrood Lodge Information Centre located next to the New Scottish Parliament.

The exhibition explores the history, management, archaelogy and geology of Holyrood Park. Leaflets and maps of the park are available from the centre. Open daily, 9.30am to 3pm

Please contact the Rangers Service on 0131 652 8150 for additional information on the Park.

Bicycle Rack Bicycle Rack Bicycle Rack Car Parking Car Parking Car Parking Disabled Toilets Disabled Toilets Disabled Toilets Display on History Display on History Display on History Strong Footwear Recommended Strong Footwear Recommended Strong Footwear Recommended Toilets Toilets Toilets


Region – Edinburgh and the Lothians

In Edinburgh, East of Holyrood Palace and Abbey.

Grid reference - NT 2773.

Green Tourism Award - Gold