What You Can Do

Parliament building at nightThe Scottish Parliament is open to visitors Monday to Saturday and is free of charge to visit. You are welcome to enter the building without the need to book in advance and explore the public areas at your leisure. This includes the Debating Chamber (free ticket required when parliament is in session), the shop, café and exhibition.

There are free maps and information leaflets available to assist with your visit. Please note that all visiting arrangements are subject to change due to parliamentary business and events.

Free guided tours provide a greater insight into the workings of the parliament. To experience the work of parliament you can arrange free tickets for a seat to attend committee meetings or debates in the Debating Chamber

When the Parliament is in recess there will be no Committee meetings or debates in the Debating Chamber.

Recess Dates as agreed by the Parliament are as follows:

  • 19 December 2015 ­– 4 January 2016
  •  13 February - 21 February 2016

(All dates are inclusive)


The current five-year session of Parliament will end at midnight on Wednesday 23 March 2016 and dissolution will begin immediately thereafter on Thursday 24 March 2016, with the election taking place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

What day would you like to visit?

Please be aware that as we are a working Parliament there are some differences in what you can do depending on which day you visit. If you are not sure what you would like to do or are planning to visit on a particular day you can find out what you can do each day below.  

Monday, Friday, Saturday and Public Holidays

Parliament does not normally sit on Monday and Friday so it is not possible to attend a debate or committee meeting on these days. If the Monday or Friday that you are visiting is a public holiday then visiting arrangments are the same as a Saturday. On Monday and Friday you can: 

Opening hours for Monday, Friday, Saturday and on Public Holidays

10.00am to 5.00pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 

This applies when Parliament is sitting. For Tuesday to Thursday when Parliament is in recess (see dates above) available activities and opening hours are the same as Monday and Friday. Public guided tours do not operate when Parliament is sitting. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday you can:

Opening hours for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

9.00am to 6.30pm (last entry 6.00pm) 

Opening hours for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the same as Monday and Friday when Parliament is in recess. Please check nearer the time for the December and February recess dates as opening hours could be altered at this time.

Visit Parliament

  • No booking is necessary to visit the building, however you should adhere to the Parliament's Code of Conduct
  • Open Monday to Saturday
  • Free entry
  • Visit all the public areas without a guided tour
  • Visit the public gallery of the Debating Chamber
  • Shop, café and exhibition
  • Guided tour booking not necessary to visit the public areas. If you do wish to join a guided tour it is advisable to book in advance. The guided tour pages have further information.
  • To book tickets for Parliamentary business, there is further information on the Parliament Debates and Committee Meetings pages


Access to building subject to demands of Parliamentary business

Opening hours, guided tours, availability of exhibitions and access to certain parts of the building may be altered at short notice due to Parliamentary business

Security Information

Police HatAll visitors are required to proceed through security screening on entering the building. This may add time to your visit, depending on the volume of visitors