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Tour of Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

It’s a polarising building that cost the nation a fortune and took a lot longer to build than anticipated, however, love it or hate it, I would recommend touring the Scottish Parliament. Visitors are welcome six days a week, Monday to Saturday. 

When I lived in Edinburgh I toured the parliament building,  however there was a fault with a beam in the debating chamber so we couldn’t visit it, so it was great to take the opportunity to do another tour that included the chamber. 

Personally, while it was being built  I wasn’t keen on the external design of the building, feeling that in a world heritage city such modern architecture, placed opposite Holyrood Palace and at the foot of the Royal Mile, was in the wrong location.  Elsewhere I would feel more comfortable with such a statement building.  Now, more than 10 years on, it isn’t such an issue to me! Ah, the winds of time… 

However, on touring and learning more about the design features, how they encapsulate Scotland’s history, heritage and architecture, as well as looking to the here and now, it made more sense to me.  There are great connections with the outside of the building from inside, and fabulous use of light.  I am still not a huge fan of the external appearance of the building, but love the features, design and materials used on the inside.  


love the materials used

Interestingly, on the previous tour i did there was a lot more detail provided on the architecture and build of the parliament, whereas this tour focussed more on the function of the Scottish parliament. It was still interesting, but I previously enjoyed the architectural aspect of the tour. 

There are tours that focus on the art in the building.  One artwork of note to me was “Travelling the Distance”.  One hundred women were asked to write a sentence about a woman – someone they know personally or admired from history – and then this was cast in porcelain in their handwriting style and placed on three concrete panels, hanging in the public circulation area. There are funny, charming and inspiring sentences to read, and I did feel a little proud that such a work is found in our parliament.   

“Travelling the Distance”


Close up of the porcelain art


The tour only takes an hour, the online booking system is straightforward and I received a confirmation fairly quickly.  

Scottish Parliament, Horse Wynd, Edinburgh 

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