A former village now a suburb of southeast Edinburgh, Duddingston lies on the south side of Holyrood Park, 1¼ miles (2 km) from the city centre. Designated a Conservation Area, it has retained much of its essential village character. Although Bronze Age artefacts were found in Duddingston Loch in 1778 and Iron Age cultivation terraces are clearly visible on the slopes of Arthur's Seat, the settlement dates from the founding of a church here in the 12th century. In the 18th century Duddingston was noted for its production of coarse linen cloth known as 'Duddingston Hardings'. In addition to the old church, notable buildings include Duddingston House, built in the 1760s by Sir William Chambers; Bonnie Prince Charlie's Cottage, an early 18th-century building where the Prince held council before the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745; and the Sheep's Heid Inn, one of the oldest inns in Scotland whose landlord in 1580 was presented with an embellished ram's head by King James VI. Duddingston Loch, a bird sanctuary since 1925, was used, when frozen in winter, as an ice rink by the Duddingston Curling Society. Also popular with skaters, it features in a famous painting of The Rev. Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch by Sir Henry Raeburn.
Duddingston Station opened on the Southern Suburban Railway in 1884, but closed in 1962. Constrained by the loch to the southwest, and Holyrood Park to the west and north, the modern district extends to the east and northeast of the old village.