West Lothian is also ideal to use as a base when you want to visit neighbouring areas. Edinburgh, Glasgow and their surrounds are easily accessible from West Lothian, but you can enjoy better value accommodation and a more leisurely pace of life by staying here.
Hit the central belt cities (2 – 3 days)
On your first day, enjoy a visit to Edinburgh. Trains to the capital run regularly from Linlithgow, Bathgate, Uphall and Livingston North train stations. You may need to take a taxi to Livingston North, but all of the other stations are within easy reach of their respective town centres.
An Edinburgh Pass is well worth purchasing – for just over £20 you can enjoy free entry to more than 30 attractions in the city and the Lothians area (West Lothian’s Almond Valley Heritage Centre and Hopetoun House included). Edinburgh Castle will no doubt be at the top of your ‘to do’ list, but remember to check out other, lesser known attractions like the city’s farmers’ markets. If you visit in the summer or around Christmastime, festival fun awaits you too.
After soaking up the hustle and bustle of the city, escape to West Lothian for a quiet evening – and begin planning your next city visit, this time to Glasgow.
To reach Scotland’s largest city from West Lothian, take the train from Linlithgow or Livingston North or the bus from Livingston town centre, or simply jump into the car and onto the M8.
When you arrive, take a wander through the city to admire its varied architecture, then shop ’til you drop along Glasgows famous ‘Golden Z’ of shopping streets. Glasgow’s cultural hub, the Merchant City, is just a short stroll away, or hop on the underground to discover the recently refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery and its huge collection of works.
Head back to West Lothian before rush hour and take your pick of the area’s best restaurants to end your day out with a memorable meal.
Leisurely discoveries in the Lothians (3 – 4 days)
Begin your extended visit to West Lothian by spending a day on the water. Make a booking with the Linlithgow Union Canal Society to enjoy a cruise along the canal to the Falkirk Wheel. Then take a ride on the world’s only rotating boat lift to experience a real feat of engineering for yourself.
Afterwards, catch a bus back to Linlithgow and take a leisurely walk around Linlithgow Loch to see what local wildlife you can spot. When evening falls, enjoy a drink or two at any of the friendly watering holes in town. On Wednesday evenings in July and August, end the night with a dance at Scotch Hop, held at Linlithgow Palace.
For your next day out, drive to neighbouring Falkirk to visit historic Callendar House before catching a film at the recently renovated Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness. Check film times ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment.
In the afternoon, drive to Beecraigs Country Park and take to the trees on the new Go Ape high wire forest adventure course. If you still have any energy left to spare after all that excitement, Bathgate offers plenty of pubs and clubs to sample come evening.
Depending on how much of Bathgate’s nightlife you sample, you might want to squeeze in a day of relaxation before hitting your final destination – Stirling.
To reach the city – one of Scotland’s newest – simply jump on the train at Linlithgow. Head straight to Stirling Castle to view its impressive battlements, Great Hall, Chapel Royal and Renaissance courtyards.
The nearby Wallace Monument pays tribute to local hero William Wallace. Take a pair of comfy trainers and climb the 246 steps to the top of the monument for a view that stretches from Ben Lomond to Edinburgh. Then visit the Hall of Heroes to learn about Wallace and other great Scots, including Robert the Bruce and Sir Walter Scott.
Let the train whisk you back to Linlithgow after another day of discovery, and end your stay in West Lothian on a high note, with dinner at any of the excellent restaurants on Linlithgow High Street.