The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

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Temporarily closed until further notice

The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament
4
Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Architectural Buildings • Government Buildings
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice
About
The Scottish Parliament building is currently closed to visitors. Information on the parliament can be accessed through our website. Parliamentary business and debates can be viewed online. In the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Scottish Parliament building opened in 2004 and has since welcomed over 3 million visitors. Usually open from Monday to Saturday, visitors can join a free guided tour or see parliament in action, depending on which day you visit (booking essential). Discover the parliament through our exhibition, and enjoy our cafe and shop. A free creche is also available, Monday to Friday. We look forward to welcoming you to this 'landmark for 21st century democracy'.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Southside & Holyrood
Many of Edinburgh’s student hangouts gather around university buildings in Southside, the sort of neighborhood that supports a long string of second-hand shops and eateries serving ethnic food for just a few pounds. In August the student population is replaced by vast numbers of boisterous visitors here for the Fringe, Edinburgh’s world-class comedy and arts festival which headquarters itself here. Flanking Southside are two great parks. The Meadows is a vast flat and sporty space where football, rugby, tennis, cricket, croquet, and golf often all take place side by side. Kids in its big playgrounds add to the joyful noise. Far bigger and much wilder, Holyrood Park extends to the east and provides a real hike up Arthur’s Seat, but the district is best known as the site of Scotland’s Parliament and its premier Royal Palace—and their steady stream of sightseers.
Popular mentions

4.0
1,783 reviews
Excellent
772
Very good
638
Average
232
Poor
70
Terrible
71

Leslie W
60 contributions
COVID-Closed, exterior only
Oct 2021
The building is directly across the street from Holyrood. I’m sure it’s nice inside, but it was COVID-closed, so I just looked at the outside. The wall facing the Canongate has a lot of inscriptions on it, quotes from people famous and not about Scotland and the Government. Some were in Gaidhlig. Some were really inspiring or beautiful, too.
Written November 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

maerceci2014
Maidenhead, UK148 contributions
'Different'
Sep 2021
So you love it or hate it. I only went past a couple of times on a tour bus, and even having it 'explained' made little difference. So the ponds are lochs and the weird shapes at the windows are supposed to be drawn back curtains demonstrating how transparent the parliamentary process is. Art student level. Although I did smile at the thought of the 'thought pods' detaching with the politicians inside. Could they not find a Scottish architect to do Scotland proud? National Monument is looking good now!
Written September 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

johnhouston2
Knaresborough, UK4,131 contributions
There is so much to admire here.
Oct 2020 • Couples
OK - let’s deal with the Marmite issue first. Some people love the design of this building, whereas others loathe it. I’m in the “like” camp and whereas I accept that others have a different view, I really can’t grasp the complaints that there shouldn’t be a modernistic building in a historic part of the city. Such change is inevitable and happens in historic cities all over the world.

As for the design - I think it is imaginative and attractive, and the integration of comments etc from famous Scots on the exterior walls is inspirational.

Although the interior of the building is currently off-limits (I think) due to Covid restrictions, we have been inside on a previous visit and the design is both beautiful and eminently practical. A previous reviewer commented that, because of the small windows, the interior was dark and gloomy, and I can only assume that he or she was in a different place.

This place has a spacious and airy atmosphere and the facilities for the public are top class. We managed to get into the public gallery during a Parliamentary debate and whereas the public gallery at Westminster is situated above the chamber, the fact that the one here is at ground level and very near the politicians makes the process of debate seem almost inclusive.

Quite simply - a great place to visit.
Written November 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sfuhere
uk655 contributions
I like it.
Sep 2020 • Friends
The Parliament is currently closed to visitors. However, the outside can still be visited. I realise that the architecture divides opinion, but I’ve always liked it. The last thing they should have done is try to do a carbon copy of Westminster, and they’ve certainly avoided that - it’s completely different. I like the inventiveness of the design and the attempts to show transparency. My own view is that it will be regarded by everyone as a truly great building in 50 years’ time. The inside, which I visited not long after it opened, is even more impressive and the debating chamber itself is the highlight. It reminded me in some ways of a modernist cathedral, with light streaming in. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think this is a building that people should be proud of.
Written September 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your comments. We are glad you have enjoyed viewing the parliament building. We are currently closed to the public, but hope to welcome visitors again in the future. Information on the design and architecture of the parliament can be accessed through the Scottish Parliament website.
Written September 23, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chris
St. Albans, UK4,414 contributions
Ugly!
Jul 2020
I don't wish to insult Scots by saying this but what an ugly, grotesque building to construct in an area of ancient architecture and next to an area of outstanding natural beauty (Holyrood Park).

The only reason this gets two stars is because the pool area outside was quite a nice touch.
Written July 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michael H
Mauritius293 contributions
Strange looking Parliament
Aug 2019
We passed by the Parliament while walking to the Holyrood Palace. It is strategically situated nearby Arthur’s Seat as well and hence as a nice view of this historic hill.
However, it is a very strange Parliament – Art has different facet.
Nothing much to visit/discover except if you like Politics
Written May 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christopher N
Edinburgh, UK20 contributions
Seriously, avoid!
Nov 2019
This is surely the ugliest building in Edinburgh, the blight at the end of the Royal Mile. Designed by a Spanish architect who simply did not grasp the fact that in sun-starved Scotland, unlike as in sunny Spain, light is at a premium. Tiny windows thwart rather than encourage sunlight with the result that the interior depends to a great extent on
artificial lighting. Internal spaces are weirdly misshapen and built so poorly that key bits have already taken to falling off, resulting in the main chamber being closed for a short time for debating purposes . The surrounding grounds are a sad, ill-kept concrete affair.
Far better step across the road to feast the eye on the Queen’s residence in Scotland, Holyrood House , or explore the elegantly designed Queen’s Gallery. They, at least, are buildings of which the city can be justly proud.
Written April 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mrs Pringle George
Elgin, UK13 contributions
International Women's day
Mar 2020 • Friends
My daughter and friend Dr A Mciver Attended 2020 International Women's day at the Scottish Parliament. We received a lovely warm welcome
As it was our first visit we were impressed by the garden room where we had lunch. There is an exhibition and a shop and savoured both
At 1.45pm we made our way to the debating chamber. It looks modern but beautiful with good facilities. We enjoyed the speakers including our first minister.
So if you get the opportunity to visit you will certainly made welcome.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Many thanks for your comments - we are very glad you enjoyed taking part in the 2020 International Women's Day event at the Scottish Parliament., especially as it was your first visit. We hope you will be able to visit again, once the Scottish Parliament is open for visits in the near future.
Written March 25, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GingerMango
Northampton, UK36 contributions
Worth a visit - free tour & fab cafe !
Mar 2020
We had a great 1 hour tour, when else would you get to see it ? Also nice café . All staff really friendly .
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for visiting the Scottish Parliament and thanks for your review - we are glad you enjoyed your visit here and received a warm welcome!
Written March 25, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

KellyNN16
Northampton, UK1,367 contributions
Great tour
Mar 2020 • Friends
We booked a free tour for today and were guided by Barbara. Barbara knows everything about this place and gave us a comprehensive talk about all aspects of the building and of the Scottish Parliament. She was amazing. And the building is amazing. It’s well worth a tour to go into all the nooks and crannies and get a feeling for the materials used. A worthwhile thing to do.
Written March 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for your kind comments - we are delighted you enjoyed joining one of our guided tours! Thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament.
Written March 25, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament is open:
  • Mon - Mon 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Tue - Thu 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Fri - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking The Scottish Parliament tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 29 The Scottish Parliament tours on Tripadvisor