LANDMARKS IN STEEL AND STONE
Despite industrial development along the busy Forth, much of West Lothian 's coastal lands retain their sense of rural solitude and historic charm. Prehistoric remains, medieval strongholds and modern achievements give the area exceptional variety. To the south, away from Edinburgh's teeming streets, the gentle slopes of the Pentland and Moorfoot hills provide superb walking country.
Almond Valley Heritage Centre
Museum in restored 18th-century water mill: story of Scottish shale oil; local history displays; and working farm with livestock.
Almondell and Calderwood Country Park
Two adjoining estates form park of woodlands, rhododendrons and azaleas beside River Almond.
Grounds of 17th-century Malleny House famed for shrub roses and yews planted in 1603. 'Doocot' (dovecote) has 915 nesting boxes.
Beecraigs Country Park
Way marked forest of 700 acres round loch. Park centre has exhibition area and craft displays. Trout and deer farms nearby.
Set around broad main street. Greenhill Covenanters' House is rebuilt farmhouse with displays focusing on troubled 17th century. Gasworks museum tells history of Scotland's only surviving gasworks. Puppet theatre seating 100 people is Victorian theatre in miniature. Moat Park Heritage Centre records local geology and history. Gladstone Court Street Museum displays old shopfronts and interiors.
Turreted mansion built 1612-30 by ruthless royalist Thomas 'Bluidy Tam' Dalyell on two 'binns' or hills. After the execution of Charles I, Dalyell refused to cut his hair until the monarchy was restored. Fine Scottish furniture.
Massive 15th-century castle, known as Ship Castle from elon-gated shape, dominates seaside village. Charming path through woods to Hopetoun House.
Former port and coal-producing town, name contracted from Borrowstounness. Kinneil House has Biblical frescoes and estate history museum in stables. James Watt installed steam pump in cottage nearby in 1764. On the foreshore is a restored steam railway with veteran rolling stock. Birkhill fireclay mine can be visited.
Riverside village where author John Buchan spent holidays as child with farmer grandfather. Church restored as John Buchan centre with photographs and mementos. Broughton Place, designed by Sir Basil Spence in 1930s, contains art gallery.
Road climbs to car park and then short walk to Iron Age fort with an underground refuge -- passage opens into round chamber lit by windows above.
Gentle climb from Beecraigs country park to Iron Age fort on 912ft summit. All-round views include Arran, 66 miles away.
Extensive 14th-century ruins of favourite retreat of Mary, Queen of Scots. Gunport in tower shows early use of defence artillery.
White 17th-century cottages. Stone steps and alleys lead to anchorage on River Almond. Remains of Roman fort: town was supply depot for Antonine Wall. South is Lauriston Castle with 1590 tower house. Low-tide causeway to Cramond island. Bird sanctuary on Inchmickery.
Imposing medieval ruins with 16th-century facade overlook Tyne
Water. Castle has four kitchens and prison pit below tower.
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Palace remodelled in 18th century stands at end of high street. Park has nature trails and woodland adventure playground.
Romanesque kirk has fine carving and sculpture. Tudor and Gothic-style Dalmeny House, 1 mile east, built 1817 by Earl of Rosebery, contains Old Masters, French furniture, porcelain, Goya tapestries and Louis XIV carpet.
Dawyck Botanic Garden
Superb arboretum contains rare mature trees, including the tall, columnar Dawyck beech with its upward-growing branches.
Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden
Founded 1670. Noted for rock garden, rhododendron walk and arboretum. Tropical house has huge Victoria water lilies from South America.
Edinburgh Royal Observatory
Visitor centre set in a public park explores astronomy and space research. Exciting photographs of deep space. Astronomy shop and Scotland's largest telescope.
Two awe-inspiring bridges linking Edinburgh and Dunfermline were record-breakers when built. Rail bridge of 1890 has three 1,700ft spans; suspension road bridge of 1964 is 11/2 miles long.
Planted on hills of Tweedside, 10,000 acres of spruce, pine and larch. Way marked walks lead from Glentress village.
Classical-style mansion built 1699 and enlarged by William Adam. Silk wall coverings, paintings by Canaletto, Titian, Gainsborough. Rooftop observatory with views over Firth of Forth. Grounds include walled gardens, wood-land walks and deer park.
Small town where Leithen Water meets River Tweed. Robert Smail's Printing Works are reconstruction of Victorian press, including reconstructed water wheel and office containing many historic items.
Inveresk Lodge Garden
Created by National Trust for Scotland to show range of plants for small gardens. Conservatory and exotic birds collection.
This 12th-century church has a saddleback tower and fine carved doorway. Niddry Castle ruins 2 miles west -- refuge for Mary, Queen of Scots in 1568.
Shell of 15th-century palace over-looks lochside town. Medieval St Michael's Church. Museum housed in 1822 stables tells story of 31 mile Union Canal between Edinburgh and Falkirk; carried on aqueduct 1'/2 miles south-west of town. Canal trips, boats for hire.
Turreted 14th-century stronghold on rock high above Tweed valley. Converted into home in 17th century. Riverside footpaths, roe deer and other wildlife.
River Tweed, noted for salmon, rushes through town where tweeds and knitwear are produced. Cross Kirk is 13th century. Chambers Institute with library and local history museum. Town trail includes Bank House in High Street where John Buchan lived.
Name recalls priests' salt pans set up in 12th century. Cairn marks Jacobite victory in 1745 uprising. Grim Preston Tower is medieval. Graceful Northfield and Hamilton are 17th-century lairds' houses.
Mining village on River North Esk is overlooked by Earl of Orkney's ruined castle. Its 15th-century chapel notable for finely carved Prentice Pillar, named after apprentice mason killed in rage by jealous master.
Scottish Mining Museum
Set in Lady Victoria and Preston-grange collieries, linked by coal heritage trail through old Lothian coalfield. Visitor centre, pithead tour, 1874 beam engine.
Dating from 10th century and one of Scotland's oldest inhabited houses: 27 Scottish and English monarchs have stayed there. Iron gates have stayed closed since 1745 pending Stuart return to throne. Tapestries, silver, relics of Mary, Queen of Scots. Riverside walks, maze, craft workshops.
Woollen textiles museum displays history of shearing, spinning, dyeing, weaving and knitting.
Wooded valley leads from Yarrow hamlet to wide open pastures and then on to Broad meadows, Scotland's oldest youth hostel, built in 1931. Footpath joins Southern Upland Way.
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