Over 2,000 people to be part of historic Riding procession to Parliament


Community groups, Scotland’s ‘Local Heroes’, musicians and entertainers will be among 2,000 people taking part in a colourful, historic ‘Riding’ procession down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. 

The 21st century version of the historic Riding – which first took place in the 17th century - will mark the Opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 2 July.

The day’s events will include:

  • After the Riding makes its way down the Royal Mile to Holyrood, Her Majesty The Queen addressing MSPs in the Chamber.
  • Local Heroes: all 129 MSPs are being asked to nominate one of their constituents in recognition of the important work they do to help others or their community.  All Local Heroes will be invited to participate in the Riding as part of the Scottish Parliament’s Opening Ceremony.
  • Holyrood’s ‘Big Day Out’ – a fun packed afternoon for all the family.  With a programme that has something for everyone, the gardens and doors of the Parliament will be open to all to explore, observe and participate in a full programme of events including a mini-Highland games, Music and Dance, Science and Nature, Art activities for Kids and much more. 

Commenting on all of the day’s planned events, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP said:

“Some people might see the Scottish Parliament as boring or stuffy - it’s neither - and The Big Day Out is a great chance for people to come to Holyrood and experience Parliament for themselves. 

“With a mini-Highland Games, art, science, music and dance all on offer, our Big Day Out should be fun for all the family.”

Mr Macintosh continued: 

“The Riding will be as far from the Parliament’s ‘grey suit’ image as you can get, with Chinese dragons, Bollywood-style dancers, banners, music and some truly amazing people who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to make a positive difference in Scotland. 

“We’re inviting everyone to defy the changeable Scottish weather, put on their party clothes, and help make this Opening of the Scottish Parliament an occasion everyone will remember for years to come.”

Background information

The Riding will be themed by Edwin Morgan’s poem, Open the Doors!. Riding participants will carry banners featuring lines and phrases from the work, which was specially commissioned by the Scottish Parliament for its 2004 opening.

The Riding is based on the traditional procession marking the opening of Parliament, which signified that the Parliament was sitting and occurred at each meeting of Parliament until the Treaty of Union in 1707.

Big Day Out 

For more information on the free events for all the family at the Big Day Out, visit: www.visitparliament.scot/big-day-out 

To request a free leaflet with details and timings of the Big Day Out events, and other events taking place at Holyrood throughout the year, visit www.visitparliament.scot/keep-up-to-date 

To add the Big Day Out to your calendar, visit www.visitparliament.scot/event/save-the-date  


Contact information

Members of the media should contact:

Public information

  • Telephone enquiry line: 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
  • info@parliament.scot
  • Text 07786 209 888
  • Ask a question online through live chat
  • We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL

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