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Parliament House

Edinburgh’s original parliament building is often missed by most tourists, but it’s well worth a visit for the art and architecture. 

As you travel through the streets of The Royal Mile and its narrow alleyways take a slight detour and step into Parliament Square, next to St. Giles’ Cathedral. On one side of the square is Parliament House, home of the Scottish Parliament from 1639 to 1707.

Following the union of England and Scotland in 1707, Parliament was dissolved and the politicians moved to London. Today, this grand building houses the Supreme Courts of Scotland.

Amble around Parliament Hall to see the lawyers when they’re not in court. You will usually see them pacing up and down the ancient hall in their wigs and gowns. This cavernous room used to be the chamber where politicians discussed affairs of state.

Look up at the hammer-beam ceiling made of Danish oak. It’s one of the few surviving internal structures of this early 17th-century building.

Watch for some of the hall’s other standout features such as the Great South Window. This is a stained-glass depiction of the inauguration of the College of Justice and the Court of Session by King James V in 1532.

Examine the statues dotted around the hall. They include the marble statue of Duncan Forbes, a politician and judge, captured in mid-gesture. You can also see a number of portraits of 18th- and 19th-century lawyers.

The courtrooms are open to the public, but primarily they hear civil cases. Criminal trials take place in the High Court.

Parliament House is located on Parliament Square in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Parking is limited but buses service the area. As Parliament House is a working court building, visitors’ bags are subject to a search. The building is open year-round.


Guide to Exploring around Parliament House


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Best Lodging Options Near Parliament House

See all 3,633 Properties near Parliament House
Point A Hotel Edinburgh Haymarket ¥5,068
Point A Hotel Edinburgh Haymarket

Point A Hotel Edinburgh Haymarket

152 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Haymarket, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), Usher Hall, and Royal Lyceum Theatre. Princes Street and George Street are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 6 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Waverley Station is 22 minutes.

    Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel ¥6,114
    Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel

    Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel

    Grosvenor Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Haymarket, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and Princes Street. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Usher Hall are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Haymarket Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Waverley Station is 26 minutes.

      Jurys Inn Edinburgh ¥7,211
      Jurys Inn Edinburgh

      Jurys Inn Edinburgh

      43 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Museum of Childhood, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Real Mary King's Close and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 29 minutes.

        Hilton Edinburgh Carlton ¥8,794
        Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

        Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

        19 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Real Mary King's Close and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 27 minutes.

          ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge - Royal Mile ¥6,967
          ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge - Royal Mile

          ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge - Royal Mile

          77 South Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Edinburgh Vaults and Princes Street. Royal Mile and Festival Theatre are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 4-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 25 minutes.

            YOTEL Edinburgh ¥6,758
            YOTEL Edinburgh

            YOTEL Edinburgh

            Erskine House, Queen Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in New Town, this hotel is steps from Assembly Rooms, Princes Street, and George Street. Princes Street Gardens and Scott Monument are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 12 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 23 minutes.

              Apex Grassmarket Hotel ¥9,405
              Apex Grassmarket Hotel

              Apex Grassmarket Hotel

              31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Grassmarket, Royal Mile, and Greyfriars Kirk. Scotch Whisky Experience and The Hub are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 11 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 17 minutes.

                Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel ¥9,902
                Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

                Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

                61 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Grassmarket, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, and Scotch Whisky Experience. Greyfriars Kirk and Royal Mile are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 10 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 18 minutes.