The Scottish Parliament with people looking at map

Scottish Parliament

Royal Mile
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The seat of Scottish democracy, the Scottish Parliament is open to the public for guided tours, watching debates and meetings, and events and exhibitions.

Scottish Parliament with pond
  • Scottish Parliament with pond
  • The Scottish Parliament building
  • Tour group at the Scottish Parliament
  • Morning sun on the Scottish Parliament


Situated centrally in the Holyrood area of the city at the bottom of the Royal Mile, and neighbouring Holyrood Palace, the parliament building, designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles and opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, was a controversial design choice at the time for the new seat of the Scottish Parliament.

Today the building is an integral part of the city and well worth a visit. As interesting inside as it is out, it is possible to take a guided tour of the building with its Scottish granite floors, furniture made from Scottish yew and oak, and the state-of-the-art debating chamber.

There is a reasonably priced restaurant and coffee shop along with a gift shop.

It is necessary to pass through airport style security at the entrance but once inside the building’s secrets start to unfold. The Main Hall with its concrete vaulted ceiling and embedded stylised saltires is a bright open space where you can book tickets for tours, visit the shop and find the entrance to the restaurant.

Free 45-minute guided tours are available and can be pre-booked online. Self-guided tours are also available, and maps are available in the Main Hall on arrival or can be downloaded from the website. A BSL version of the map is also available.

Regular ’10-minute talks’ are available for visitors who may not have time for a full tour. The topics and timings are available from the Visitor Services. The talks take place in the Main Hall.

A Family Trail Activity Book is also available with a map of the area surrounding the building along with learning activities for completion.

Lockers and baggage storage are available for those who wish to store belongings while visiting the building. Toilets have been designed to be accessible and a Changing Places toilet with a hoist and changing bench is available along with baby-changing and feeding facilities.

A free water fountain can be found in the Main Hall and there is a Scottish Water Top Up Tap outside the building.

For those who are attending First Ministers Questions, all electronic devices are required to be stored securely and will be returned after the session.

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