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Arthur’s Seat skyline


Arthur’s Seat & The Sheep’s Heid Inn

9 June 2023

The striking backdrop to Edinburgh’s inimitable skyline and one of the most famous walks in Scotland, Arthur’s Seat sits in close reach of The Townhouse and no visit to the capital is complete without a climb to the spectacular views enjoyed at its summit.

An extinct volcano that reaches the hefty height of 822 feet, Arthur’s Seat is thought to be 350 million years old. There’s poetry in the fact that this ancient hill boasts the best vista of Edinburgh’s palpably historic Gothic architecture and iconic landmarks. Although authentically Scottish in its wild and rocky trail, an ascent should only take 45 minutes and you will hardly believe you’re within two miles of the city centre once you reach the top. If it’s a clear forecast in summer, a sunrise climb is worth the early start to enjoy panoramic views in the serene peace of dawn. There are a handful of routes to take, all starting outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the base of The Royal Mile. The history is not limited to your view of the city, during the climb you’ll pass the ruins of 600-year-old Saint Anthony’s Chapel, as well as a 2000-year-old hill fort beside Dunsapie Loch.

What better way to conclude such a famously historic walk than with a visit to one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs?

Open since 1360, The Sheep’s Heid Inn lies at the base of Holyrood Park, where the trails from Arthur’s Seat snake back to the city. Believed to be a favourite haunt of Mary Queen of Scot’s, the untouched clutter of this traditional public house testifies to this history and a visit here truly transports you to the past. Although the interiors pay homage to The Sheep’s Heid’s antiquity, its menu is much more evolved, with excellent cocktails, Thornbridge Craft Beers and classic Gastropub fare on the menu. If you venture to the back of the restaurant, you’ll find a preserved 19th Century skittles alley, a game of which could be the perfect end to a day spent exploring some of the city’s richest history…


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