Heading north and west out of Edinburgh you enter a fascinating region, home to some less-visited, but hugely rewarding gems.
Take a tour of Linlithgow Palace with one of our guides to fully appreciate this grand pleasure palace of the Stuart kings. A place where they could enjoy themselves, and impress important guests with falconry, hunting and feasting, the palace is also famously the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Whilst you are here, let your guide show you more of the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, a highly attractive and historic town in its own right, or perhaps you would like to take an easy hike around Linlithgow Loch to enjoy the natural beauty and abundant wildlife.
Guarding the route up the River Forth is Blackness Castle, a remarkably complete fifteenth century fortress. Designed as a defensive stronghold and prison, you will feel shivers down your spine as your guide tells you about the harsh conditions in which captives were held in this forbidding place. Blackness may hold particular appeal to fans of the television series Outlander, as it was used as a film location to represent Fort William. However, Blackness holds universal appeal with its situation, perfectly placed for fine views of the remarkable bridges that span the Forth.
At the other end of the spectrum, but a just a few miles downstream along the river, is the awe-inspiring stately home, Hopetoun House. This magnificent architectural achievement, designed by some of Scotland’s most important architects, has been home to the Hope family since the seventeenth century, and remains the residence of Lord Hopetoun today. Your guide can explain the remarkable collection of art and furniture and help you navigate the extensive grounds. After all that a cream tea in the Stables Tearoom might be a relaxing way to end your visit!
Alternatively, if you like the idea of the outdoors, nature, the slow-pace of barges passing by, combined with a little industrial history, perhaps a walk along the Union Canal would be just the thing.
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