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“Well worth the time AND its free”

The Scottish Parliament
Ranked #53 of 421 things to do in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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'.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

There is a choice of a thirty minute or 1 hour guided tour. We opted for the longer version which proved to be VERY interesting. The group was made up of folk from various countries and the guide was more than able to answer all their questions. The information given re architecture and history of the building together with the political situation made for a great trip. We ended in the debating chamber, seeing what we are so used to seeing on TV.
Entry is free and can be booked online easily. Bear in mind that there is a security process to go through before hand (like the airport security) so allow time for this. There is a lift to assist you bypass the many stairs, a cafe and a lot of seating in the wide, modern areas. If you plan to visit the capital of Scotland this political journey will be well worth it in my opinion.

Thank Glasg0wJ0hn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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919 - 923 of 1,402 reviews

Reviewed April 21, 2013

Have been more than once mainly to check out my prejudices - is it really was bad as I think it is and for a coffee when down that end of town. Coffee is good but the building is bad; it's ugly; it's not ageing well; it should be abandoned as a horrible mistake. It is a blight on the old town; totally out of keeping with its surroundings. The entrance is gloomy with its low ceiling; the internal walls look as if the bare concrete is waiting to be plastered; the bamboo poles outside make no sense; the debating chamber has an interesting ceiling but overall looks rather like IKEA - and it is far to big for the number of MSPs who bother to turn up for debates. Building known locally as the Numptorium - AKA house of numpties. An architectural disaster but go if you want a laugh - an expensive laugh funded by the poor taxpayer!

2  Thank ChasRab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2013

maybe a tad unfair to only award this building a one star rating. I've been to Edinburgh many times since this was built and love the whole royal mile.In the past I've visited the Palace of Holyrood, dynamic earth and Arthurs seat and stayed in hotels very close to the parliament buildings so know the surrounding area quite well. The Holyrood area is still quite drab and often quite quiet compared to the rest of old town.
As yet i've not been inside the parliament buildings but give this attraction a one star because i feel quite strongly about it. Edinburgh and the Scottish parliament has a great chance to turn this area around and build another fantastic building on the Royal mile. The Royal mile in my mind should showcase its wonderful buildings and get rid of any of the recently added concrete buildings. yet this new building to the area is in my view the ugliest building I have ever seen and no matter which angle you take it in its a shocking mistake. You on Earth voted yes on this design because each time i go near I now I still can't believe the money spent, the shocking design and final finish.
Well done, what I often believed to be one of the most beautiful postcard type cities have spent shocking amounts of money and ruined the whole bottom end of the amazing Royal mile. If the Scottish parliament ever have to make another important decision in its future lets hope they never make such a huge mistake as they did with this one.

2  Thank andy h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2013 via mobile

Excellent tour of the Scottish parliament. The building itself is fascinating in terms of its architecture - the design, materials used & overall concept.
The tour is very very interesting - especially for me as a person not from Scotland.
The tour is free of charge & well worth a visit. Our guide was very attentive & interesting. He contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I visited this building as I stumbled upon it when making a trip to Holyrood house palace - which is located directly across the road. It's worth visitor both places on the same day! - given their proximity to each other.

Thank LorraineOConnor123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2013

I have been to the extended tour of the Scottish Parliament on a Saturday (Yes, they have two versions of the tour, One is a shorter-30mins and the other is for an hour. It gives you access to the private areas). I must admit, the building is an architectural marvel. Nothing sort of Old Scottish style buildings. Seriously, if you are not interested or indifferent to Architectures and Designs, please never mind going there. You will regret listening to long lectures about specific design details of each room there (like the material of the chairs, screens, etc. phew!)
My Edinburgh tour was for a day. Because I booked for this Scottish Parliament tour, I missed out 'The Scotch Whisky Experience' which was a better option. And remember, to get to this place, you will have to travel to the end of the royal mile. The frequency of the Lothian buses to this place is about a bus per 30 minutes. So plan accordingly.
P.S: I would not recommend buying the hop-on hop-off passes for exorbitant money, given that you can buy a daily pass from the driver of any of Lothian buses for just £3.50. Of course the frequency of hop-on hop-off buses are higher, but It is worth waiting a little more time for Lothian buses ( you saved approximately £10 per day, people!).

1  Thank Balaji A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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