The Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament
4
Historic SitesPoints of Interest & LandmarksArchitectural BuildingsGovernment Buildings
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
The Scottish Parliament building is open Monday to Saturday. 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. 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 café and shop. We look forward to welcoming you to this 'landmark for 21st century democracy'.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Plan your visit
The area
Neighbourhood: Southside & Holyrood
Many of Edinburgh’s student hangouts gather around university buildings in Southside, the sort of neighbourhood 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.
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See what travellers are saying
  • jarb27
    Burnopfield, United Kingdom64 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent, well worth a visit!
    Excellent! Well worth a visit. It is free to visit and walk around the Scottish Parliament. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming. There is a security check at the entrance and then you’re in. We didn’t have to queue or wait at all. There are free guided tours which are very informative but my favourite aspect was the architecture. This building is amazing, well designed. It’s full of art and design features. There’s a cafe and gift shop too.
    Thank your for visiting the Scottish Parliament and thank you for your kind review. We are delighted you enjoyed exploring the architecture of our building!
    Written 22 August 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 August 2023
  • TokyoSean
    Minato, Japan105 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must visit for a trip to Edinburgh
    Free attraction. Had to go through airport-like security to enter. Guides were very polite and helpful. Light-filled, airy, modern architecture unlike most government buildings elsewhere. Was hosting one of the better exhibitions for the Edinburgh International Festival, the Press Photo Exhibit.
    Thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament - we are very glad you enjoyed your visit, including the World Press Photo exhibition 2023!
    Written 22 August 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 19 August 2023
  • Jingxing Z
    Nice, France19 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    First Minister's Question
    Free tours, takes about 45 minutes to see all the open rooms, no need for reservation. Fortunate to hear First Minister's Question in person (this you need to book in advance, but it is free!).
    Thank you very much for visiting the Scottish Parliament - we are very glad you were able to watch First Minister's Question Time. Our guided tours are usually available on days when Parliament is not sitting - Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays or during recess periods. While it is sometimes possible to join these tours without booking in advance, they can become full quickly and so we always recommend reserving tickets via our website in advance.
    Written 21 September 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited January 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 14 September 2023
  • julie
    9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Guided Tour is Top!
    We enjoyed a fantastic guided tour of the Scottish Parliament building today; our guide was the very knowledgable Tom Hughes. He told us so much about the rich history of the building, and pointed out a range of interesting facts on route. A highlight was finding out that when the cameras are on at the stairs, people are munching away in the cafe beside the stairs! Amazing! And loved learning about the MSBees! 🐝😊
    Thank you for your kind review - we are delighted you enjoyed your visit and learning about the MSBees! :)
    Written 24 January 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 17 October 2023
  • Chilled04
    128 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent tour of a very interesting building
    Excellent tour of a very interesting building. Our tour guide (lovely Spanish? lady) was really good. Was able to tell us all about the building and how the design represents different things and was happy to answer any questions. Really thought provoking. Enjoyed visiting the chamber and being able to picture where the MSPs sit. An excellent tour and so glad we have been.
    Thank you for your kind comments, we are delighted you enjoyed your tour of the Scottish Parliament.
    Written 24 January 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 26 October 2023
  • Molly
    343 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Informative visit
    We visited The Scottish Parliament on 18 November. This was a lovely, if short, visit. Incredibly informative, as guests from England who knew little about how the Scottish Parliament system works. They squeezed a lot of information into the 40-minute tour around the building. The building itself leaves something to be desired, it’s quite artistic but a little impractical. The main chamber was the real highlight, and we loved that you could take pictures inside this room (if nowhere else). We also tried the cafe and found this very pleasant.
    Thank you for your comments - we are very glad you found your visit to the Scottish Parliament building to be interesting and informative.
    Written 24 January 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 November 2023
  • Malcolm and S
    Stroud, United Kingdom1,113 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting insights to Scottish government
    We booked tickets (free), to go to 1st Minister's Questions, and it was well worth doing so, even though the First Minister was away at Cop 28! Arriving in good time we went through 'heavy' security and had a chance to look at the small exhibition before gaining access to the chamber itself. The architecture and layout is flamboyant in style, and a high quality finish throughout. The level of debate that we saw did not, however, match the quality of the surroundings, and the following day's report in The Times was excoriating in its criticisms! It was good to see the number of visitors in the public gallery, and we noted the casual use of mobile phones by members in the chamber, not setting a great example to the school children present, even whilst one question addressed the issue of banning of phones on school premises!!
    Thank you for your comments and thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament - we are very glad the experience was of interest.
    Written 24 January 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 December 2023
  • Tony P
    Saffron Walden, United Kingdom65 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable visit.
    Tremendous new building with lots of info on sale and design. Interior mostly wood is beautiful to behold. Lovely little cafe with very reasonable prices all situated in an area where there is plenty of other things to see locally.
    Thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament. We are very pleased you enjoyed looking around our building and had time to enjoy a trip to the Parliament Café.
    Written 24 January 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 6 December 2023
  • london057
    Dublin, Ohio682 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very Interesting Building
    First of all this legislative branch looks works differently than U.S. state legislative branches in the United States 🇺🇸 of America. Second it is a very modern parliament building. Third you get to see where the members of the Scottish parliament meet. Lastly, I would not mind working for the Conservative or Labor Party 🎉 in this building.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 December 2023
  • Carol B
    Birmingham, United Kingdom43 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    5* visit - don’t miss out !
    With friends we booked on the free tour of the building. It took around an hour and we stopped in the cafe for coffee too. The tour guide was so informative and friendly. You get to walk into the Assembly room where the MSPs meet and also the balcony above as well as other areas you see on Tv. You can access the public areas without doing a tour or you can opt for a shorter tour. This one was well worth the hour to understand more about the workings of the parliament and the symbolism behind the architecture.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 March 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles1,834 reviews
Excellent
800
Very good
651
Average
240
Poor
70
Terrible
73

Christopher N
Edinburgh, UK18 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
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 19 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Malcolm and S
Stroud, UK1,113 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
We booked tickets (free), to go to 1st Minister's Questions, and it was well worth doing so, even though the First Minister was away at Cop 28! Arriving in good time we went through 'heavy' security and had a chance to look at the small exhibition before gaining access to the chamber itself. The architecture and layout is flamboyant in style, and a high quality finish throughout. The level of debate that we saw did not, however, match the quality of the surroundings, and the following day's report in The Times was excoriating in its criticisms! It was good to see the number of visitors in the public gallery, and we noted the casual use of mobile phones by members in the chamber, not setting a great example to the school children present, even whilst one question addressed the issue of banning of phones on school premises!!
Written 4 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your comments and thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament - we are very glad the experience was of interest.
Written 25 January 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Denise H
Atlanta, GA24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
At the suggestion of a friend who lives in Edinburgh we went to visit the Scottish Parliament since it's across the street from Hollyrood Palace which we were also visiting. The building is very contemporary and deceptive in size. After clearing security you entered the main lobby. Because Parliament was in session there were no tours but there was a brief overview near the model of the building. We were also able to get same day passes to visit the gallery and watch the debate and vote. The legislative chamber is beautiful with a unique design. As in typical with most legislative debates, most members were not present. There was no vote that day either. But once they adjourned you were able to take pictures of the chamber. It was very interesting to see government in action in another country.
Written 13 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament! We are delighted you enjoyed your experience here and discovered how the parliament works! Many thanks for your comments!
Written 25 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

sfuhere
uk802 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 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 15 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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 23 September 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

SamW
18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
You can enter the building for free (after going through security). When entering the building we were greeted by friendly staff and offered a map. We first visited the World Press photo exhibition before going on a free tour of the building. Our guide was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We were told about the History of the Scottish Parliament before touring the building. We went around some of the public areas and then toured some of the areas inaccessible to the general public.
Written 7 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review - we are delighted you enjoyed visiting the Parliament building, the World Press Photography 2022 exhibition and the guided tour!
Written 16 August 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

RoadtripMommy
California163 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2023
I have a penchant for "behind the scenes" tours and I booked this in advance. Gareth was a great tour guide leading our small group behind the scenes to see the meeting rooms, offices, parliament gallery, etc. The building is a sight to behold - the natural light permeates everywhere and you can all the places the MSPs can collaborate. If you have time, it is worth a visit. Book ahead as the guide tours are limited.
Written 4 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks very much for your kind comments - we are delighted you enjoyed joining our free guided tours.
Written 13 July 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ruthybab
Alton, UK211 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Family
We were going to go up to the top of Arthur's Seat but the ice made it too treacherous so we popped into the parliament buildings and we were so glad that we did.
We were approached by an official who asked if we'd like to have tickets to go into the debating chamber. Next thing we found ourselves in the public gallery listening to the debate on the budget. It was a real drama and we were completely mesmerised! The building itself is an architectural gem. I understand that it's a bit Marmite in that people either love it or hate it - well I loved it !
Written 29 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks very much for your review - we're glad you stopped by and enjoyed watching parliament in action!
Written 31 May 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

thegees1
Reading, UK194 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
Worth a visit. If you book a tour ( it's all free) you are shown around the very unique building and given an insight into what the various artistic aspects of the building symbolise and how the Scottish parliament works. The building famously over ran its budget ten fold and is full of gorgeous oak. The guide was very friendly and afterwards you are free to wander round to see anything you have missed.
Written 2 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your review - we're very glad you enjoyed your tour of the Scottish Parliament building.
Written 31 May 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Malgorzata
12,086 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
Beautiful building with lovely design features. The Scottish Parliament building is a real gem among all other buildings of this type. UNESCO included it on the list of world cultural heritage. The entire complex was designed by the Spanish architect Enrique Miralles and consists of eight parts. All of them make a big impression. 129 Scottish MPs sit in the hemicycle, finished with oak wood and glass. Around the parliament itself are small water features, grassy areas paths and loads of seating. Great plsce on a sunny day.
Written 23 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your kind words. We are delighted you enjoyed visiting the Scottish Parliament building.
Written 31 May 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mike O
Roanoke, VA1,333 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2022
We took the free tour, and were glad that we did; we booked several days in advance. Although Scottish history goes back almost forever, the Scottish Parliament in its current form, only goes back 25 years. That newness is proudly reflected in the modernistic design of the building's exterior and interior. Photography inside the building was limited to the Chamber itself. Well worth 45 minutes.
Written 17 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for visiting the Scottish Parliament - we are very glad you enjoyed your guided tour!
Written 13 July 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

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