Edinburgh and Lothians

View of the North Berwick Law

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland but is a third of the population of Glasgow. Perversely the city has no motorway access to the South and since the local transport links are excellent the city and surrounding area can easily be accessed without a car, arriving by train or plane. The highest concentration of Scotland's major attractions are found within the city and surrounding area - Edinburgh being the top tourist destination in Britain outside of London because its attractions are mostly concentrated in a central area. For the purposes of this guide, the city centre and East Lothian are listed seperately and the Lothians are defined as mainly the areas to the North, South and West of the city.


  • Beauty Spots

    In Midlothian the nature reserves that are recommended are: Linn Dean near Dalkeith, Roslin Glen, Milkhall Pond near Penicuik, Erraid Wood near Fairmilehead, and Red Moss South of Balerno. In West Lothian the recommended nature reserves are: Hermand Birchwood and Addiewell Bing near West Calder, Linhouse Glen near Livingston, Longridge Moss near Whitburn, Bogburn Flood Lagoon, Peterhill and Tailend Moss near Bathgate and Pepper Wood near Kirkliston

    • Museums and Art Galleries

      There are a couple of excellent Museum related attractions within the Lothians area which realistically you will need a car to find. However the real jewel is the Sculpture Park at Jupiter Artland. This is well worth the effort to find and the quirky winniebagoe cafe serves good food.

    • Canals

      The Union Canal leads off towards Falkirk from Ratho just outside of Edinburgh and after Linlithgow has a brilliant viaduct. At Falkirk you get to go on the Falkirk Wheel which is a canal enthusiasts dream and then you can connect to Glasgow. The links below are to centres for boat hire.

    • Ancient Castles

      There are a couple of decent ancient castles in the Lothian area, the most significant of these being Linlithgow Palace which acts as an excellent museum and gives plenty of insight in to the times when a Scottish Royal court was in residence.

    • Churches

      In spite of the hype created by the Da Vinci Code book, Rosslyn Chapel remains one of Scotlands most remarkable treasures. There are many claims made when trying to interprete the fascinating ancient carvings that adourn the chapel but one is that the chapel shows evidence that the Vikings were the first to discover America, centuries before Columbus. Private House Stays also has identified Torphichen Preceptory as worth a visit

    • Hill Walking

      Although it would not be greatly rated in comparison to other hill walking areas of Scotland, its easy accessibility and views over the metropolitan and industrial areas around Edinburgh, make the Pentland Hills regional park a great favourite for many. Probably best accessed by following signs to the A702 and Carlisle and then parking where your walk suits anytime after the Hillend artificial ski slope. Currie Wood is also a beauty spot identified.

      • Mansion Houses

        There are a couple of significant Mansion Houses open to the public in the Lothians area, the sort of places where the Great and good of Edinburgh tend to come by bus for Scottish dancing balls in the evenings. They nearly all have significant gardens that are worth visiting on their own and Private House Stays also recommends a few other gardens linked below

      • Outdoor Activities

        Private House Stays recommends the following outdoor activities in the Lothian region: Vogrie Country Park, Roslin Glen Country Park, Polkemmet Country Park, The Edinburgh Bird of Prey Centre, Beecraigs Country Park, Bonaly Country Park and The Almondell and Calderwood Country Park. The artificial ski slope at Hillend, just off the Edinburgh by-pass is an excellent facility and generally available during the day throughout the year. The Scottish indoor climbing centre at Ratho (Just West of Edinburgh airport) is also superb

      • Tourist Attractions

        The other tourist attractions recommended by Private House Stays within the Lothian region are linked below. In particular the Sea World centre at North Queensferry, The Boness Steam train excursion and the Gilmerton Cove attraction are all recommended.

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