Edinburgh has one of the largest numbers of listed buildings in the UK
Edinburgh has been Scotland’s capital since the 15th century and has many royal connections. The most notable is Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the skyline. The many highlights of the castle include St Margaret’s Chapel, built by King David I in around 1130, making it the oldest building in Edinburgh.
From the castle, stroll down the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The palace has been a royal residence for centuries, and visitors can see the Royal Apartments which are still frequented by the Royal Family every summer.
Linlithgow also has many royal associations. You can visit the ruins of Linlithgow Palace, once home to Mary, Queen of Scots. The infant princess was baptised in the neighbouring St Michael’s Kirk and this 15th century church has a distinctive aluminium crown, visible from miles around. To find out more about the town’s past, follow the Linlithgow Heritage Trail.
Mary, Queen of Scots also spent time in East Lothian. The Old Golf Course in Musselburgh is recognised as one of the world’s earliest courses, and Mary reputedly played golf here. In addition, the area has a proud industrial heritage which you can uncover at the Prestongrange Museum, a former colliery, and at the Preston Mill.
Hopetoun House in South Queensferry was built for the Hope family in 1699, and descendants of the original family still live there today. This stately home and grand garden allows you to see the changing fashions over the generations.
Blackness Castle, only a short drive away, is a contrast to this family home. This fortified structure offers beautiful views over the Forth but housed prisoners rather than noblemen.