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.
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