The camera LOVES Edinburgh and that’s no surprise to us; it’s justifiably one of the most beautiful cities in the whole world. But do you know there are dozens of stunning spots just outside the city in the Lothians that deserve to be snapped and perhaps given a little slice of social media stardom?
We do – and we’re here to tell you about them! Stop your followers mid-scroll with some of these beauty spots and great places to visit just outside the capital.
Tantallon Castle, near North Berwick
No trip to the pretty coastal town of North Berwick would be complete without a visit to Tantallon Castle. Sitting on a dramatic clifftop, this semi-ruined fortress is all about the drama. Get the right angle, just like @travelswithakilt did, and you could also capture the impressive Bass Rock, home to 150,000 gannets.
How to get there from Edinburgh: It’s a 45-minute drive or it’s easy enough to get a train from Waverley Station to North Berwick, or the X7 East Coast Bus service, and then catch the 120 service bus, which would take just over one hour.
Preston Mill & Phantassie Doocot, East Linton
@emchal has definitely managed to capture the quaintness of Preston Mill, perched neatly on the banks of the River Tyne. A watermill, doocot and millpond, the history of this charming rural building dates back to the 16th century but was actually still in use up until 1959. Outlander fans, do you recognise it? (It was featured in season one of the TV series).
How to get there from Edinburgh: By car it’s less than a 40-minute drive, or the X7 East Coast Buses service to Dunbar will take you direct from the city centre.
Bridge to Nowhere, near Dunbar
Bridges don’t get much more intriguing than the unusually named Bridge to Nowhere, as captured here by @gws_photography. It can be found on the fine sands of Belhaven Bay, which is part of John Muir Country Park. This footbridge looks somewhat peculiar at high tide, but at low tide it straddles the Biel Water. Marvel at it as you explore the length of this very long and rather stunning beach.
How to get there from Edinburgh: A 40-minute drive if going by car, or just over an hour if taking the X7 East Coast Buses service to Dunbar, getting off at the caravan park stop. You could also take the train to Dunbar and then get the X7 bus service.
Strap on your GoPro or fire up your drone as you experience watersports on the coast of East Lothian – as @gosup_scotland have shown just how incredible an experience it can be in this footage, filmed at North Berwick. As well as kayaking or stand up paddleboarding, you could spend an afternoon learning to surf with Coast to Coast Surf School, or try wakeboarding at Foxlake Adventures, home to Scotland’s first wake park, both in Dunbar.
How to get to North Berwick from Edinburgh: It’s a 45-minute drive or it’s easy enough to get a train from Waverley to North Berwick, which takes just 33 minutes. To get to Dunbar, there are direct train and bus services from the city centre, or a drive will take 45 minutes.
Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow
The birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, Linlithgow Palace is a Renaissance ruin picturesquely set by a loch, as captured here @nichbrand. As you explore, it will no doubt spark your imagination, plus there are plenty of interesting architectural features to capture and superb views over the loch from the ramparts. If you go on a sunny day, plan a picnic beside the water.
How to get there from Edinburgh: A drive from city centre will take about 40 minutes, or the train from Waverley takes 22 minutes. From Linlithgow Train Station, it’s a five-minute walk.
Binny Craig Hill, near Ecclesmachan
So you might have been up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, but have you climbed Binny Craig Hill in West Lothian? Go at sunset for that golden hour light and you might get to capture a similar shot to that take by @waldemarmatusik. The walks is about 3 miles (4.8 km) long and will take between 1 – 2 hours. For geology buffs, it’s a great example of a spectacular example of a ‘crag-and-tail’ landform.
How to get to get there from Edinburgh: It’s a 40-minute drive, or you can take the train to Linlithgow, followed by the 31 service bus to Ecclesmachan. From the village, it’s a 30-minute walk.
Linlithgow Canal Centre
We’re just going to say it: canal boats are adorable! And who can argue with that after seeing this capture by @clairey_m_dee of the Linlithgow Canal Centre? This museum and boat trips are subject to seasonal opening times, but you can take a walk or cycle along the Union Canal at any time of the year, with the canal path starting in Edinburgh.
How to get to get there from Edinburgh: It’s a 40-minute drive, or a 22-minute train journey followed by an 8-minute walk. For those cycling along the towpath, it’s a 21-mile long journey.
House of the Binns and Binns Tower, near Linlithgow
A family home for over 400 years, the House of Binns is a treasure trove of history surrounded by gorgeous woodland, as seen here in @donny.hammell’s terrific sunset scene. Standing at the tower, you’ll also get to see jaw-droppingly gorgeous views of the Firth of Forth and the Queensferry Crossing – it’s a great spot to marvel at the old and the new. Or, discover other viewpoints to view the Forth Bridges.
How to get to get there from Edinburgh: It’s a 45-minute drive, or 45 minutes on the C19 bus service from Princes Street, followed by a 20 minute walk.
Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin
Rosslyn Chapel basking in pure sunlight is pretty splendid indeed, as shown in this image by @rafahbstarc. It’s one of Scotland’s most fascinating buildings, distinguished by intricate stonework by master carvers which contain many layers of hidden meanings. Film and literature fans will know it from its appearance in both the novel The Da Vinci Code, written by Dan Brown, and the big screen adaptation.
How to get to get there from Edinburgh: It’s a half an hour journey if going by car, or 50 minutes on the 37 Lothian Bus service from the city centre.
Pentland Hills Regional Park
Why not embrace the day and reap the awards of a hill walk with a great snap, just like @benhinder did as he explored the Pentland Hills? There are 100 km of paths to follow, many of which offer great vantage points along the route or lead to lovely reservoirs. You can take the 2.5-mile (4km) long Capital View route from Hillend Country Park or stroll along the Glencorse View trail from Flotterstone Information Centre.
How to get there from Edinburgh: Driving from the city centre to the edge of the park takes about 25 minutes or there are a variety of options if travelling by bus.
Dalkeith Country Park
If you’ve not discovered just how lovely a country park can be, you are missing out! @lamland_ took this stunning snap of Dalkeith Palace framed by a bridge in Dalkeith Country Park. This country park is home to the gorgeous Restoration Yard, which as well as a café and shop, boasts a Wellbeing Lab, perfect for restoring your inner balance.
How to get there from Edinburgh: It’s about 25 minutes in a car, or 40 minutes on a 49 Lothian Bus service, followed by an 8-minute walk.
Secret Herb Garden, Lothianburn
Just imagine yourself siting here with a lovely steaming cup of your favourite hot beverage and a generous wedge of delicious cake. As snapped by @lauren.alexander.weddings, the Secret Herb Garden is a specialist herb nursery offering so much more than just a few sprigs of rosemary. The Taste Our Best accredited café serves all kinds of yummy things, plus there’s a shop to browse, selling a beautiful homeware, things for the garden and vintage furniture.
How to get there from Edinburgh: Lying close to the edge of the Pentland Hill Regional Park, it’s also a 25-minute drive. There are several public transport options, including 15 Lothian Bus service.
If that’s whet your appetite for discovering what else lies outwith Edinburgh, discover more attractions in East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian, and plan a trip to Edinburgh & The Lothians. Explore public transport options with Traveline Scotland.