Things to see and do

Linlithgow offers a wide range of attractions.

The town centre is steeped in history and has one of the few largely surviving High Streets in Scotland.  The town developed along this main street which was originally enclosed by a wall, with three main gates or "ports" - the West Port at the west end, the Low Port at the east end on the road leading to Blackness and the High Port at the east end on the road leading to Edinburgh.

Burgh Halls Cross House

 At the centre of the Royal Burgh is the Cross and Cross Well. Click here for a live view by webcam.

It was once the location of the town's Mercat Cross - the hub of the weekly market and location for public ceremonies and announcements. 

Leading up from the Cross is the Kirkgate which takes you past the Burgh Halls and on up to St Michael's Parish Church and Linlithgow Palace with its surrounding park or "Peel".  

The Palace sits on a promontory jutting out into the scenic Linlithgow Loch.  This whole area is worth a stroll around and visit to the various buildings.


 


Located next to the Palace at the top of the Kirk Brae, St Michael's Parish Church, is well worth a visit.  

Originally built as a cathedral, it was first dedicated in 1242 by David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews.  The church was largely rebuilt after a fire in 1424.  King James III was responsible for the addition of a magnificent stone crown which sat atop the tower until it had to be removed for safety reasons in 1821.  It took over 140 years to replace it and in 1964 a distinctive laminated timber and aluminium crown was added.  

Volunteers are on hand to welcome visitors in the mornings during winter months and up till 4pm in the summer.


 

Built and developed over two centuries by successive Stewart kings of Scotland, Linlithgow Palace was a comfortable and attractive retreat from affairs of state, conveniently placed between Stirling and Edinburgh. Both James V and his daughter Mary Queen of Scots were born here, overlooking the tranquil beauty of the loch and peel (park). This superb Renaissance residence allows a unique insight into the domestic life of Scottish royalty.

 

Linlithgow Palace has been preserved as a ruin.  It is administered by Historic Scotland and is open all year round.  

 

Old Cross representation

To the west, along the High Street, you will find the interesting "Linlithgow Story" at Annet House.  Annet House was built in1787 as a home for a local merchant, but was converted to a museum in 1991.

 

This is an excellent display of local history by the Linlithgow Heritage trust and is open daily from April through October.  

 

It's a great way to find out about the history of the town and the development of the various trades within the town - leather and dyeing were two major features in previous centuries.

 

 

 

LUCS Victoria

A short walk up from the High Street at the corner of Platform 3, past the railway station and under the bridge, will take you up to the Canal Basin. This is the old inland port of Linlithgow, dating from 1822, the year that the Union Canal opened. This canal connected Edinburgh with Falkirk and the Forth Clyde Canal.

 

Today, the Canal Basin is home to the Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS) and here you can experience a bye-gone age of transport where LUCS operates boat trips, Scotland's only Canal Museum and a Tea Room.

 

The Linlithgow Canal Centre is open each afternoon from Easter to the October break. Click here for a live feed by webcam.

 


 

Kingsfield Ochils

Another attraction open throughout the year is the Kingsfield Golf Centre.

 

Located on the eastern fringe of the town it is accessed from the Blackness Road just before the M9 motorway junction.

 

This 4 Star Visit Scotland location offers the full Golfing Experience, including a full size 9 hole USGA Specification Golf Course, Golf Driving Range with indoor and outdoor tees, Golf Tuition Studios, Short Game Practice area and the Ochils Family 18 Hole Putting Green plus the Tea Caddies Coffee Shop. 

 


 

Linlithgow in 1 Day

If you only have one day in Linlithgow, then here is a suggested schedule for your visit:

Visit Linlithgow Palace and the adjacent St Michael’s Parish Church (~ 2 hrs)
Pub lunch in one of the town’s hostelries (~ 1.5 hrs)
Walk around Linlithgow Loch for the fitter (~ 1 hr)
orStroll around Linlithgow Peel (parkland around the Palace by the loch)
Visit Linlithgow’s own museum – The Linlithgow Story at Annet House (~ 1 hr)
Short walk to Canal Centre and along the High Street (~ 1 hr)

Linlithgow in 3 Days

If you have three days for your visit, then here is a suggested schedule:

Visit Linlithgow Palace and the adjacent St Michael’s Parish Church (~ 2 hrs)
Pub lunch in one of the town’s hostelries (~ 1.5 hrs)
Walk around Linlithgow Loch for the fitter (~ 1 hr)
orStroll around Linlithgow Peel (parkland around the Palace by the loch)
Visit Linlithgow’s own museum – The Linlithgow Story at Annet House (~ 1 hr)
Short walk to Canal Centre and along the High Street (~ 1 hr)
Canal Cruise on the Union Canal (LUCS) (from 1 hr to half a day)
Kingsfield Golf Centre and Kingsfield Clays with a light meal at the Tee Caddy (~ half a day)
Guided tour of Linlithgow (~ half a day)
Visit to nearby (3 miles) Beecraigs Country Park (~ half a day)
Walk around Linlithgow’s two Heritage Trails (~ 3 hrs)

Linlithgow as a Base

In addition to the activities listed in the 3 Day Visit, Linlithgow is a great base for visiting other parts of central Scotland. Here are some ideas:

Within 5 miles you can visit:

An historic castle and a famous old country house – Blackness Castle by the shores of the river Forth and the House of the Binns - the ancestral home of the Dalyell family (half day)

A working steam train line and rail museum, plus a steam trip to an old clay mine – Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) at Bo’ness. (half day) Note that the Birkhill Clay Mine is now closed. While in Bo'ness, you can also visit Bo'ness Motor Museum, Kinneil Estate, Kinneil House (Historic Scotland) and Kinneil Museum & Roman Fortlet

Torphicen Preceptory (Knights of St John) and the prehistoric ceremonial and burial site at Cairnpapple Hill (~ 2.5 hrs)

Within 10 miles you can visit:

Hopetoun House by South Queensferry “Scotland’s Finest Stately Home”South Queensferry to view the Forth Bridges - the 117 year old Forth Rail Bridge and its younger neighbour, the Forth Road Bridge

West Lothian’s family friendly museum at the Almond Valley Heritage Centre in Livingston.

The world’s first and only rotating boat lift – the Falkirk Wheel

Further afield, but within easy reach:

Take a day trip by train from Linlithgow to Edinburgh (20 minutes), Glasgow (30 minutes) or Stirling (30 minutes)

Visit St Andrews, home of golf (50 miles, approx 1.5 hours travel time by car)

Visit Loch Lomond National Park (50 miles, approx 1.5 hours travel time by car)

The Forth Valley - A Brief History

Most people will know of Edinburgh and Stirling, but how many of you are familiar with the land that lies between them?  This is the Forth Valley – a land bounded by the Forth Estuary to the north and the Bathgate Hills to the south, a land rich in history and heritage, a land away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, a land waiting for you to discover its charms and its delights.

Over the centuries, the routes north and west have passed through this land.  From the first century AD – the days of the Roman Empire – when the northern limit of the empire was defined by Antonine’s Wall which ran between the rivers Forth and Clyde.  And from the days of the drovers’ roads, which brought livestock from the north and west of Scotland down to the markets of Falkirk and Linlithgow.  In more recent times, the modern transport routes across Scotland were established through this land.  Firstly the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal, linking Edinburgh and Glasgow, swiftly followed by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway line, running alongside the canal for much of its journey and then in the last hundred years, the A9 (the route north from Edinburgh via Stirling), replaced in the 1970s by the M9 motorway.

Rail BridgeThe river Forth, too, has played its part in development of the area, with ports at Blackness (the port of Linlithgow) and Bo’ness providing direct trade links to continental Europe and Scandinavia.  Long before the Forth Bridge, the river was crossed by boat at the narrows at Queensferry – a town named after the crossing first used regularly by Queen Margaret – in the 11th century – giving the name “Queen’s Ferry” to the towns on both sides of the river at the place of crossing when she travelled between the royal palaces of Holyrood in Edinburgh and Dunfermline north of the river.  In 1890, the Forth Bridge was built to carry the railway north to Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen.  It took over 70 years from then, until this famous crossing was matched with the Forth Road Bridge opening in 1964.  In 2016, the new Forth Replacement Crossing will open.

Today, you can still see these places and features which helped shape the history of Scotland.  There are traces of the Antonine Wall and old Roman forts at Kinneil (Bo’ness).  The canals have been brought back to life in recent years and the link between the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal is now made by the iconic Falkirk Wheel – the world’s only rotating boatlift, near Falkirk at Camelon.  While at South Queensferry you can gaze on the Forth Bridges and marvel at the 19th century construction of the famous rail bridge.

The Forth Valley - Heritage Sites

Blackness CastleBlackness Castle

Castle fortress by the sea built by one of  Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons. 

Blackness was the seaport for Linlithgow in the days of the Stewart Kings.

You can visit Blackness Castle (Picture on left) anytime between 1st April and 30th September. For more information see the Historic Scotland website.

Torphicen Preceptory

Tower and transepts of a church built by the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

See VisitWestLothian website for more information.

The Forth Valley - Country Parks

BeecraigsMuiravonside Country Park

Muiravonside Country Park, near Linlithgow, covers 170 acres of woodland, parkland and gardens.

More information

Beecraigs Country Park

Nestled high in the Bathgate Hills near the historic town of Linlithgow, Beecraigs, shown on the left, caters for a wide range of leisure and recreational activities within its 913 acres. 

Check out the website for more information.

The Forth Valley - Famous Houses

Hopetoun HouseHopetoun House

Hopetoun is a place of outstanding  natural beauty, which has Scotland's finest stately home at its heart. The house, shown on the left, and grounds can be visited from late March till late September and there are occasional events outside these times.

www.hopetoun.co.uk

House of the Binns

The House of the Binns stands as a living  monument to one of Scotland’s oldest families, the Dalyells, who have lived here since 1612.  The house, contents and grounds are now run by the National Trust for Scotland. 

For information on visiting please check the website.

Callendar House

Situated amidst magnificent park and woodland, Callendar House tells stories spanning 600 years of Scottish history.  

The Forth Valley - Other Attractions

The Falkirk Wheel

Helix Park and the Kelpies

Almond Valley Heritage Centre

All the family will enjoy a wonderful day out at Almond Valley Heritage Centre, situated at the heart of Scotland just outside Livingston,

Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway

The Scottish Railway Preservation Society operates the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway, which has been developed since 1979 on a green-field site by the south shore of the Firth of Forth.