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Scottish Parliament Tours and Activities

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Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament complex, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, sits across from Arthur’s Seat at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Known for having one of the most innovative and controversial designs in Britain, Parliament is a must-see on any Edinburgh itinerary; various tours are available for those who want to explore the building.

The Basics
Scottish Parliament comprises a variety of buildings and chambers, including the Main Hall, which features vaulted ceilings and some of the building’s permanent art; the Debating Chamber, where you can watch a Parliament debate (with advance tickets); and the MSP building, best known for the abstract design on its facade. Note the unusual surrounding landscape, which mimics the terrain of Scotland and features concrete walkways surrounded by indigenous Scottish trees and plants.

In addition to free self-guided tours, the complex offers history-, architecture-, art-, and photography-themed tours. Small-group walking tours of Edinburgh’s Old Town provide deeper insight into Parliament, Holyrood House, and other top landmarks, while private tours of the city offer a more intimate, customizable experience. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours stop at Parliament as well.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • A visit to Scottish Parliament is a must for history and architecture buffs.
  • Parliament Café offers a selection of drinks and light meals, including soups, sandwiches, and baked goods.
  • The crèche provides free childcare for all visitors.
  • Parliament is accessible to wheelchair users.

How to Get There
Scottish Parliament is located on the Royal Mile, at the opposite end from Edinburgh Castle and across the street from Holyrood Palace. While the complex is within walking distance of most Edinburgh landmarks, the nearest transit stop is Scottish Parliament on buses 6 and 35.

When to Get There

Scottish Parliament is open to the public from 10am to 5pm Monday, Friday, and Saturday, and until 6pm Tuesday through Thursday. Be sure to check online before visiting, as most buildings are closed when Parliament is in session—though during this time you can advance-book (free) tickets to watch debates.

Independence Movements Unite
What do Scotland and Catalonia have in common? A committee chose Catalan architect Enric Miralles to design the Scottish Parliament because of the close ties between the Scottish movement for independence from Great Britain and the Catalan initiative for separation from Spain. Miralles died in 2000, before the project was completed, but the symbolism of his fervor for independence lives on in Edinburgh.
Address: Horse Wynd, Edinburgh, Scotland
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25 Tours and Activities to Experience Scottish Parliament

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City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

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1170
An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at several strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and many more. Buses depart regularly and tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$22.33
From
$22.33
Taking safety measures

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

star-4.5
538
See the best of medieval yet modern Edinburgh on this walking tour with optional skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle. As you walk, listen as your guide shares the history of this formidable city with ancient Roman roots and UNESCO-listed pockets. Explore atmospheric cobbled walkways along the Royal Mile, breeze into Edinburgh Castle to witness royal opulence (if option selected), and pass iconic locations like St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square, and John Knox House.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.67
Price varies by group size
From
$25.67
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience

Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience

star-4.5
153
Knowing the best spots for a quintessential British experience in Edinburgh can be tricky. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea on a vintage Routemaster bus tour, and cruise past city landmarks including Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace as you sample fresh scones, sandwiches, and tea. Choose a departure time to suit your schedule, and capture stylish snaps on board the classic vehicle.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$51.64
From
$51.64

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Covid-19 Regulated Private Tour Edinburgh

Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems: Covid-19 Regulated Private Tour Edinburgh

star-5
7
See both the highlights and hidden gems of Edinburgh on a private tour that reveals Scotland’s capital through the eyes of a local. Designed with first-time visitors in mind, this private tour promises the undivided attention of your guide and gives you the chance to compile tailored recommendations to last the rest of your vacation.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$65.40
Price varies by group size
From
$65.40
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Shore Excursion: Edinburgh City and Rosslyn Chapel

Private Shore Excursion: Edinburgh City and Rosslyn Chapel

star-5
1
Savor your time in port with a shore excursion around Scotland's capital city and visit to 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel. Travel via VIP minibus through Edinburgh's medieval Old Town, filled with cobbled alleyways that are bursting with legends and stories. Learn about the city's intriguing history while journeying past the Palace of Holyroodhouse, touring the Royal Mile and exploring its Georgian-style New Town. Then pay a visit to Rosslyn Chapel, which played a key role in the 2003 novel 'The Da Vinci Code' and the 2006 film of the same name.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$779.20
per group
From
$779.20
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

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1
Explore Edinburgh with a private guide during this walking tour. Meet your local guide right at your hotel and set out to see the city’s popular landmarks along with some off the beaten path places. Explore the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle and visit a historic pub for lunch. The itinerary of this private tour can be customized according to your interests.
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  • 4 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$301.80
From
$301.80

Edinburgh Full-Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

Edinburgh Full-Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

star-5
8
Spend a full-day exploring the best Edinburgh has to offer on this premium minivan tour. Save hours researching top sights to see and planning transport by having everything organized for you instead. The tour includes round-trip private transfers, bottled water, and a private guide. An advantage of a private tour is that the itinerary can be modified based on your interests. Potential sights to visit include the Old Town, the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$209.37
Price varies by group size
From
$209.37
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Half Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

Edinburgh Half Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

star-5
8
Explore Edinburgh is style by opting for a private guided tour. Avoid crowded public transport and enjoy the luxury of traveling in a premium minivan. As it’s a private tour, benefit from having direct access to a guide for questions. The tour can be customized based on your interests, but potential stops include the Royal Mile, the Old Town, Grassmarket, and Edinburgh Castle.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$226.36
Price varies by group size
From
$226.36
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

We make private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany you on all attractions, providing the most support and historical information. Departure and return of the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$633.77
per group
From
$633.77
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

Edinburgh Private Tour Brazilian Guide

We make private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany the customer on all attractions, providing the greatest support and historical information. Departure and return from the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$905.38
per group
From
$905.38
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Edinburgh & Rosslyn Chapel Tour

Private Edinburgh & Rosslyn Chapel Tour

Explore Edinburgh and nearby Rosslyn Chapel on this 9-hour private shore excursion by minivan. See Edinburgh Castle, home to several monarchs and the Scottish crown jewels. Wander down the Royal Mile and around the New Town, experiencing both ancient Edinburgh and the modern cosmopolitan city. Drive past the Scottish Parliament and around Arthur’s Seat before heading out to visit Rosslyn Chapel, built in the mid-15th Century and made famous by the Da Vinci Code.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$781.65
per group
From
$781.65
per group
Taking safety measures

Private City Tour in Edinburgh Brazilian Guide

Private City Tour in Edinburgh Brazilian Guide

We do private and personalized tours, according to the client's interests, in private vehicles with great comfort and safety. Our guides accompany the customer on all attractions, giving the greatest support and historical information in English and Portuguese. Departure and return from the tour will be at the client's hotel.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$392.34
per group
From
$392.34
per group
Taking safety measures

Discover Canongate and Holyrood

Discover Canongate and Holyrood

Get to know the history of Canongate, an under-looked part of the Royal Mile, through centuries, together with our knowledgable tour guide. Descend the Royal Mile, from the industrial times, back to the 16ht century and the Middle Ages, to reach the very origins of the city, Holyrood Park. Behind their name and features, the current buildings hide ancient meanings waiting only to be discovered! Why the World ends on High Street? Why there is an Italian buried at the Canongate Cemetery? And why that deer's head on top of Canongate Kirk? These and many more secrets await you. Towards the end of the tour you'll hear also about Mary Stuart and the horrid plots against her! Ending at the Holyrood Park, the geologic heart of the city, you'll have a chance to breathe and relax for the evening: a perfect ending for a perfect tour.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$97.71
From
$97.71
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Scavenger Hunt: A Fairy Tale Capital

Edinburgh Scavenger Hunt: A Fairy Tale Capital

Let’s Roam is the #1 app-led scavenger hunt company. Walk to all the best landmarks and hidden gems, answering trivia questions and solving challenges. Work with your team or compete against them, as you learn new facts and create memorable experiences. Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunts are great as an everyday activity, or for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, corporate team building events and more! Each player chooses an interactive role, with challenges varying by person.
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  • 2 hours
From
$12.31
From
$12.31

Semi-Private Edinburgh City Walking Tour with a Local Expert Guide

Semi-Private Edinburgh City Walking Tour with a Local Expert Guide

Edinburgh is one of the most ancient cities in England. Memories of the first settlement recall the Roman castrum – fortress – from which has started growing and evolving century by century. Despite time has passed by, the Medieval atmosphere of the cobblestoned streets and dark passages and alleys remains. And probably this is one of the characters that make this city unique in the world. Follow your guide in this journey through the centuries and listen to stories and legends of Edinburgh. Pass by Royal Miles, look at the amazing St. Giles Cathedral, cross the Parliament Square and reach one of the landmarks of the heart of the city: the John Know’s House – a Museum dedicated to the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Last but not the least, peek at the Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish landmark par excellence. During the tour your guide will also provide you useful tips and additional info about the Scottish culture.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.70
From
$32.70

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

The Highlands is the epitome of Scotland. Big skies, sparkling countryside, great food, friendly people and the Scottish Highlands. A natural playground that begs to be explored, with the finest and most romantic castles. Edinburgh is the inspiring capital of Scotland where hundreds of years of history unite an unforgettable world-class city. The magnificent architecture of the city is shifting from the enclosures of the medieval Old City to the grace of the new Georgian City. Above all, Edinburgh Castle stands with its magnificent splendour. Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a compact and lively town but home to the world's largest arts festival. Glasgow is true heaven with excellent food, drinks and unforgettable experiences as well. The lush and beautiful land is full of green areas, evergreen forestry of the Highlands with their sweeping mountains and deep “lochs”, and its compact wildlands, the islands with lots of beautiful beaches and vast views. Oh, what views!
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  • 3 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$1,405.90
Price varies by group size
From
$1,405.90
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Self Guided Tour (NEW self distancing tour)

Edinburgh Self Guided Tour (NEW self distancing tour)

So, you arrive in Edinburgh and want to know all about it. You have 3 choices available to you. 1. Go on a guided tour and see all those sights you read about before you came. 2. Walk around aimlessly hoping that the Gods of tourism will guide you. 3. Go to snikkit dot com and see what like minded locals want you to see about their home. Snikkit dot com will show you everything about a place on a simple, easy to use interactive map. The main sites The history The people But also the small stories, the best pubs and bars, where the locals eat and much much more. This is your tour at your own pace and at your convenience. We have done all the homework for you and found and researched all the stories and facts you need for an enlightening self guided tour of Edinburgh's history, architecture, music, ghosts, murders and culture. Once logged in you are the boss, you decide what you want to see and when you want to see it.
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  • 3 to 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.09
From
$21.09
Taking safety measures

Private Royal Mile walking tour in Edinburgh's Old Town

Private Royal Mile walking tour in Edinburgh's Old Town

star-5
6
Explore the Old Town of Edinburgh with a private guide leading the way during this walking tour. Hear stories about the people, history, and politics that shaped the city of Edinburgh. Go for a walk along the Royal Mile and see local landmarks including Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and Scottish Parliament.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$230.31
per group
From
$230.31
per group

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow 3 Days Scotland Private Tour

The Highlands is the epitome of Scotland. Big skies, sparkling countryside, great food, friendly people and the Scottish Highlands. A natural playground that begs to be explored, with the finest and most romantic castles. Edinburgh is the inspiring capital of Scotland where hundreds of years of history unite an unforgettable world-class city. The magnificent architecture of the city is shifting from the enclosures of the medieval Old City to the grace of the new Georgian City. Above all, Edinburgh Castle stands with its magnificent splendour. Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a compact and lively town but home to the world's largest arts festival. Glasgow is true heaven with excellent food, drinks and unforgettable experiences as well. The lush and beautiful land is full of green areas, evergreen forestry of the Highlands with their sweeping mountains and deep “lochs”, and its compact wildlands, the islands with lots of beautiful beaches and vast views. Oh, what views!
More
  • 3 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$1,405.90
Price varies by group size
From
$1,405.90
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh City Tour

Edinburgh City Tour

We offer ½ day, full-day, and multi-day tours depending on the time and the budget that you have. All tours are exclusive to you and your party (1-7 passengers) in our exclusive Mercedes Bens V-Class AMG model executive vehicles, which come with the following as standard – Client controlled air-con/Wi-Fi/on-board refreshments/AC charging facilities for mobile devices and cameras. Contact us and we will work with you so we can include the things you really want to see, spending more time at the places you want to spend time at, and leaving the things and places you don’t get to see for the next time you visit us.
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  • 1 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$376.74
per group
From
$376.74
per group
Taking safety measures

Private 6-Day Christmas Tour in Scotland and Edinburgh

Private 6-Day Christmas Tour in Scotland and Edinburgh

Tour of 6 days + 5 nights + accommodation + full breakfasts included. Airport and hotel transfers included. Hogmanay celbration. Optional dinners. 460 Miles / 740 Km. This great 5-day Tour and Vacation program can be booked throughout the year. Obviously, due to its title and content, the most indicated date is December 27 of each year, however the program can be carried out throughout the year enjoying free time during the Christmas performances. Live with us the magical and famous Christmas in Edinburgh and its HOGMANAY! You will also visit the most famous places in Scotland including Loch Ness! For the whole family, group or making new friends! Regions to visit: Magical Edinburgh - The Caledonian Canal - Loch Ness - Cairngorms National Park - Perthshire - The Highlands - Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park - Lochaber - The Kingdom of Fife and much more!
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  • 6 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$2,048.50
From
$2,048.50
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Tour Royal Canongate

Small-Group Tour Royal Canongate

On your tour you will see one of the oldest churches in Scotland, with Royal connection to this day. Also, you will hear of wonderful, true stories about its creation. We will visit the resting place of one of the most famous people in the world, Adam Smith, even seeing the home he shared with his mother the last twelve years of his life. As your tour continues we will stop outside the ancient, Royal palace of Holyroodhouse. There you will learn the fascinating story behind its name. You will also see in the distance part of the ruin of Holyrood Abbey behind the Holyroodhouse. We will also stop outside the Scottish Parliament, where our elected representatives debate and decide upon the fate of the future of Scotland. Also, you will enjoy a majestic view of Arthurs Seat. This was one of two former volcanoes in Edinburgh. I will give you background to its formation and the true story of how Arthurs Seat got its name. You will also enjoy magnificent, varied architecture.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.43
From
$25.43
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Hop-on Hop-off City Tour

Edinburgh Hop-on Hop-off City Tour

We’ve got the best seats in town! This tour is the number one way to explore Scotland’s Capital. Hop on and hop off as much as you like to truly take in the sights of our city tour, including Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile (or as we locals call it, The High Street!), Dynamic Earth, The National Museum, Greyfriars’s Bobby, Grassmarket and so many more! We have ticket options to suit you, with validity for 24 or 28 hours allowing you to squeeze in as many of the sights as possible from the best seats in town! We're the not-boring bus tour, and our friendly team are here to ensure you have the very best experience of Edinburgh during your time on board, and beyond!
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$13.96
From
$13.96
Taking safety measures

Half-Day Edinburgh Tour with Private Driver

Half-Day Edinburgh Tour with Private Driver

• Tours pick up and drop off at clients’ hotel. Tour pick up times are flexible but MUST be advised at time of booking. Tours do not include entrance fees. Suggested entrance tickets have been provided as a separate charge with each tour. •Chauffeurs provide a panoramic tour with historic highlights and luxurious transport to and from the sites visited but are not accredited tour guides. The tour descriptions are suggested itineraries, the passengers may visit any other sites within the tour areas that they may wish to visit, time permitting. The driver will discuss any specific requests with passengers on the day. • Visits may include Britannia, Leith Links Oldest Golf Course, Holyroodhouse, The Scottish Parliament, Dunbar Close Garden, St Giles/City Chambers/Advocates Close/Parliament Hall/ Supreme Court, Castle Hill, Grassmarket, Victoria St, Mound/Galleries/Scott Monument, George St, Princess St and Castle, Charlotte Sq/ Bute House, Dean Village.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$169.53
Price varies by group size
From
$169.53
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Scottish Parliament?