Arthur's Seat is the highest of a number of weathered old volcanoes dotting the cityscape (including the Castle Rock and Calton Hill).
It's also by far the wildest. Holyrood Park, which includes the royal palace of Holyroodhouse as well as the glens, mounds, and crags surrounding Arthur's Seat, is a surprisingly untamed little landscape--though it, like most hills, was overrun by Germans, even on a cool, blustery day.
From the couch in our living room, it takes about 40 minutes to reach the summit, if you take the direct route and don't stop for a break. I estimate it would take about an hour to go around and up the gentler east slope at a similarly brisk pace.
A view of the summit from the low glen to the southwest.
The peak isn't the only point of interest in the park, though. The flanks of Arthur's Seat are home to several scenic glens, three lochs, some dizzying cliffs, and even a ruined medieval chapel.
The view down the gentle eastern slope towards Duddingston Loch, with the Duddingston and Portobello neighborhoods in the background.
The obligatory heather, which I would see plenty more of in the following days . . .
A view towards the summit from St. Anthony's Chapel.
The ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel (15th century).