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Scottish Parliament Tours

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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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32 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

star-4
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
$21.77
From
$21.77
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
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
$22.07
Price varies by group size
From
$22.07
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience

Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience

star-4.5
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
$50.34
From
$50.34

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

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

star-5
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
$70.32
Price varies by group size
From
$70.32
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Tour of Edinburgh Old Town Architecture

Private Tour of Edinburgh Old Town Architecture

star-5
You can certainly wander around Edinburgh's medieval Old Town on your own, but for a more enriching experience, book this guided walking tour, which introduces you to the architectural concepts and history behind the curious buildings. Your guide leads you along the winding Cockburn Street, to the Royal Mile, and Canongate, delving into each street's architectural influences and the development of Scottish styles.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$73.47
Price varies by group size
From
$73.47
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
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
$759.54
per group
From
$759.54
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

star-5
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
$294.18
From
$294.18

Edinburgh Full-Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

Edinburgh Full-Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

star-5
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
$204.09
Price varies by group size
From
$204.09
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
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
$102.04
Price varies by group size
From
$102.04
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Half-Day Architecture Tour of the Old Town

Private Half-Day Architecture Tour of the Old Town

star-5
Get a richer experience of Edinburgh's fascinating architecture than possible alone on this private guided tour led by a local architecture graduate. In the company of just your party and guide, learn about such native styles as Scottish Baronial, as well as foreign architectural influences on the capital's buildings, as you walk through the Old Town, along the famed Royal Mile and dipping into hidden closes (alleys) and courtyards en route to the strikingly modern Scottish Parliament Building.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$155.10
Price varies by group size
From
$155.10
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
$617.78
per group
From
$617.78
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
$882.53
per group
From
$882.53
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh City Tour

Edinburgh City Tour

star-5
Edinburgh, the Capital city of Scotland & United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination attraction, over 2.1 million visitors in 2018. We provide a first class service on every journey with full of excitement & memorable adventure all over the Edinburgh City, also you can make your own tour location and flexible time all over the day. Tour will be our traditional black taxi within full Air-Conditioned & heating vehicle,free Wi-Fi on broad & complementary water bottle. Vehicle are fully insured and have full public liability insurance. Our driver are officially recognised by the City of Edinburgh Council. All tours are priced per vehicle which can hold up to 6 passengers. We assured fully safe & secure every tour with bespoke tour, also provide any pick up or drop off in Edinburgh based location,including Air-port transport.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$517.02
per group
From
$517.02
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh half day / full day tour with Hugh

Edinburgh half day / full day tour with Hugh

I qualified as a Blue Badge tourist guide in 2014, after 2 years of training. Since then I have shown this city where I live to hundreds of visitors, of all ages and backgrounds. As a former British diplomat, a retired ambassador, I also work in German or Spanish. I can tailor your tour to what you wish to do - the main sites, themed tours, hidden gems or a bit of a mix. . For example:- • we can head up to the castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny • Old Edinburgh: we can walk down the Royal Mile from the Castle to Holyrood House (the Queen's official residence in Scotland) and the Scottish Parliament • we can admire the architecture of the New Town and hear about the people who lived there • or visit some places that are said to have inspired JK Rowling when she was writing Harry Potter • or visit the National Museum of Scotland or the Scottish National Gallery Or we can take a walk along the Water of Leith to the Dean Village or trendy Stockbridge.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
From
$353.01
per group
From
$353.01
per group

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
$761.92
per group
From
$761.92
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
$382.44
per group
From
$382.44
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Christmas Tour Experience

Edinburgh Christmas Tour Experience

star-5
It’s the time of year to begin making plans to come together with colleagues, friends and family to celebrate the magic of Christmas. Marvel in the sights of Glasgow whilst tucking into a delicious three course Christmas dinner prepared aboard our vintage Routemaster bus. Departing at 7pm most nights in the run up to Christmas, this experience will last 2.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$106.19
From
$106.19

Edinburgh half day / full day tour with Joe

Edinburgh half day / full day tour with Joe

All of our guides are qualified as Blue Badge guides, certified by the Scottish Tourist Guides Association and all hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. This means they have completed 2 years of study in a number of areas including storytelling, history, architecture, literature, group management, Emergency First Aid and archaeology. Jane has a flair for bringing history to life but also noticing when you need a coffee break or a stop for some food ! All of our tours are adapted to suit your interests and needs - whether that be only a few hours or a specific interest that you have. Please get in touch for a tour tailored to your requirement. When you book, your guide contact details will be sent to you and you can agree meeting point and time.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
From
$345.67
per group
From
$345.67
per group

Edinburgh half day / full day with Mike

Edinburgh half day / full day with Mike

Engage the services of a Blue Badge qualified tourist guide - we are qualified, friendly, knowledgeable and great storytellers ! We can tailor your tour to what you wish to do - the main sites, themed tours, hidden gems or a bit of a mix. Here are a few ideas :- • King of the castle - Head to the castle and hear about "the dirty wee rascals" as the rhyme goes ! • Old Edinburgh - explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site - alleys, riots, religious turmoil and academic Enlightenment • Edinburgh New Town - hear about the people who used to live there and the architectural gems of 18th century buildings and beyond • Tour some places that are said to have inspired JK Rowling when she was writing Harry Potter • Go on a guided tour of some of Edinburgh's wonderful museums and art galleries • Visit some Outlander filming locations and hear about the Jacobites in Edinburgh • Off the beaten track - a walk down the Water of Leith to trendy Stockbridge Book your guide now !
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  • 2 to 8 hours
From
$345.67
per group
From
$345.67
per group

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

Royal Mile Walking Tour

Royal Mile Walking Tour

The mission of my tours is to ensure that you feel special, and enjoy the best of what Edinburgh has to offer. Many of you come to Scotland for a once in a lifetime trip and I want to help make it a trip you will treasure.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$248.22
per group
From
$248.22
per group

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
$30.84
From
$30.84

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
$1,269.34
Price varies by group size
From
$1,269.34
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
$19.03
From
$19.03
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?