Set in beautiful rolling countryside, West Lothian boasts a rich heritage that can be appreciated at an array of attractions ranging from stunning castles to prehistoric sites, and in charming towns and villages. Get active and enjoy long walks through this scenic area, or spend a day in one of the expansive country parks.
Follow the Linlithgow Heritage Trail to find out more about the history of this Royal Burgh. Take in the beautiful 15th century St Michael’s Parish Church with its distinctive aluminium crown and the Peel, one of only two royal parks in Scotland. The trail also includes Linlithgow Palace, the ruins of the 12th century ‘pleasure palace’ of the Stewart dynasty where Mary Queen of Scots was born.
Other historical highlights include Scotland’s finest stately home, Hopetoun House, the imposing fortress of Blackness Castle, the turreted House of the Binns and Cairnpapple Hill – the site of a 4,000 year-old temple and burial site with breathtaking views that stretch as far as Arran.
Spend a day in the great outdoors at one of West Lothian’s fantastic country parks such as Beecraigs near Linlithgow where you can choose from a wide range of outdoor pursuits such as biking along the park’s beautiful forest routes and fishing for rainbow trout on the sheltered 20 acre loch. Spend a family day out at Almond Valley Heritage Centre and enjoy a range of fun activities. Get up close to farm animals and race each other on pedal carts. See a variety of unique animals at Five Sisters Zoo, from West African dwarf crocodiles to pygmy marmosets, the world’s smallest monkeys.
Why not bring a busy day filled with sightseeing and outdoor activities to a close with a visit to Livingston Designer Outlet? Perfect for some much needed retail therapy, spend a few hours perusing the fantastic selection of shops in the centre.
Located just south of Edinburgh, Midlothian is best known as the home of beautiful Rosslyn Chapel. It also boasts river valleys, woods and hills making it an ideal setting for all kinds of outdoor activities.
Keen walkers should head to the Pentland Hills Regional Park, a wild and secluded area right on the doorstep of Scotland’s capital city in Midlothian. Walk across rugged moorland to reach Crichton Castle where you can see one of the oldest tower houses in the country which dates back to the 14th century. The castle sits in a wonderfully isolated spot overlooking the River Tyne. Another popular walking route follows the River South Esk and offers the chance to spot deer, dippers, woodpeckers and even otters.
Midlothian’s must-see attraction, Rosslyn Chapel, lies within the sleepy village of Roslin, close to Roslin Glen. Catapulted to fame by Dan Brown’s wildly popular novel and film The Da Vinci Code, marvel at its flying buttresses and gargoyles, and learn about the symbolic significance of its ornate carvings.
Visit Arniston House, a wonderful Palladian style mansion, which has been home to the Dundas family for more than 400 years. See the work of Scottish artists including Sir Henry Raeburn, famed for his painting The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, before touring its magnificent interior.
The whole family will enjoy a day out at the National Mining Museum Scotland where Multi Media Tours bring the story of the country's coal mining industry to life. You can even experience a tropical rainstorm at the enchanting Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World as well as getting close to tarantulas, snakes, millipedes and other exotic insects and reptiles.
With its beautiful towns, sandy beaches and varied attractions, East Lothian is ideal for touring. Its picturesque countryside and charming coastline make it a fantastic place to enjoy a range of outdoor activities from walking and cycling, to golf and even kite surfing.
Take the time to explore the area's historic towns such as Dunbar, the birthplace of John Muir, Haddington, a small market town, and North Berwick which boasts stunning coastal scenery. Take a trip to Athelstaneford where the original Scottish Saltire flag is said to have been first adopted. Visit the National Flag Heritage Centre to find out more about how the distinctive blue and white St Andrew’s Cross helped the Picts to win a crucial battle in AD 832.
Admire the grandeur of stately homes and romantic castles such as Lennoxlove House and Dirleton Castle. A great way to explore East Lothian’s magnificent historical attractions is by bike. Follow extensive cycle routes through the area for an invigorating tour. Or, for a more relaxing ride, follow the John Muir Way from Musselburgh to Dunbar and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Spend a family day out at the award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre where you can witness around 150,000 gannets nesting on the spectacular Bass Rock. Watch from the comfort of the centre’s state-of-the-art Discovery Centre, observe live footage of the nesting areas via CCTV, or take a thrilling boat ride out to the huge granite Bass Rock, described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘one of the 12 Wildlife Wonders of the World’.
Relax and unwind at pristine beaches including Seacliff, Yellowcraig and Gullane, a favourite with kite surfers. Or enjoy a few rounds of golf on links courses that rank among the best in the world. Play on the famous Muirfield Green which has hosted 15 Open Championships and be sure to visit the historic North Berwick Golf Club, established in 1832.