Scottish Parliament Building
Scotland's controversial parliament building at Holyrood
The new parliament building at Holyrood is the most recent controversy in Scotland. It started out with a £40m budget which was exceeded over 10 times, the building took far longer to complete and the main architect died halfway through.
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Some Scots think that the building at the foot of the Royal Mile is ugly and its design doesn't fit in with the rest of Edinburgh's fine architecture. However, despite arduous criticism of the Holyrood project, the new Scottish Parliament building has won many awards in the past year and, well, it does grow on you.
As a visitor I can say that the best view of the Scottish Parliament building is from Salisbury Crags because of the way it completes the panorama.
Holyrood has lots of different and interesting design features and in many ways, other buildings such as Holyroodhouse, Nelson Monument and Queensberry House, that have been there long before it was completed, appear to give it visual support it.
Visiting the Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament building is in distinguished company. In the same area there's the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's Gallery and it's only half a mile from Edinburgh City Centre which means you can do them all in one visit.
You can take the guided tour or simply wander around on your own and use available leaflets for information. The difference is that the guided tour takes you to parts of the parliament building which are not otherwise accessible.
You should expect strict security upon entering the building. If you are carrying luggage with you, you can leave them at luggage locks near the entrance.
One of the highlights of your visit is seeing the main chamber where parliamentarian debating takes place. For a limited time you can also see the Arbroath Declaration of Independence which is on display in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliament building.
When to visit Holyrood
If you want to take pictures of the building then it would be best to go in the morning. The Main Hall also appears much brighter at that time of day.