Local History

This historically rich section of Scotland is worth exploring as its diverse history spans thousands of years with ancient burial grounds, a ruined palace, castles, stately homes and mining villages. 

Early signs of inhabitation date back to 3,000 BC with the discovery of ancient burial grounds at Cairnpapple. At the top of the Bathgate Hills, it is one of Scotland’s most important prehistoric sites. 

Linlithgow is most notably known as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, born at Linlithgow Palace in 1542. Visitors to Linlithgow should visit Annet House Museum which traces the story of Scotland’s great kings.

The nearby House of the Binns, a 17th century laird’s house sits in 260 acres of landscaped parkland. Home of the Dalyell family for 400 years, visitors can experience life over the centuries through the eyes of one family.

Within the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow is the 15th century Blackness Castle. Known as the ship that never sailed, it served as a garrison fortress and state prison.

10 miles East of Linlithgow lies Hopetoun House, a stately home built over 300 years ago, set in magnificent grounds, overlooking the Firth of Forth.

West Lothian was originally a gentle, farming community, visit Almond Valley Heritage Centre to find out more information about early farming in the region.

One of the most important figures in West Lothian’s history was James Paraffin Young, whose discoveries during the 1850's fueled the world's first oil boom and emergence of the Scottish shale oil industry. The Scottish Shale Museum provides information about this period or alternatavely visit the Bennie Museum in Bathgate.

Gala Days are an important feature on the West Lothian calendar and colourful marches and processions take place in all the villages and towns in June. The largest ones are the Linlithgow Marches and Bathgate Procession.