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15 hidden gems in the Lothians

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1. John Muir’s Birthplace, Dunbar

Pioneering conservationist John Muir has inspired people all over the world. His home is now a new, five-star visitor attraction.

Where: EH42 1JJ

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2. Pressmennan Wood, Stenton, Dunbar

This beautiful wood has a lake, a network of paths and a Sculpture Trail, and is wheelchair accessible.

Where: EH42

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3. House of the Binns, Linlithgow

Want to find the secret escape tunnel or the “Laird’s lug” for spying on guests? A tour of this quirky house will turn up these and more treats.

Where: EH49 7NA

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4. The Scottish Owl Centre, Whitburn

Enjoy spectacular flying displays and visit Prof Hoot’s Owl School to test your knowledge of these fine birds.

Where: EH47 0AD

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5. Seashore Gallery, Cockenzie

This charming gallery in the fishing village of Cockenzie and Port Seton offers bespoke gifts.

Where: EH32 0HT 

View towards the Firth of Forth from the top of Binny Craig
(Alamy)

6. Binny Craig, near Linlithgow Palace

It’s a bit of a trek, but the views from the top are so worth it. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see virtually all of the Firth of Forth rippling below, the Ochil Hills and the Trossachs beyond. Afterwards, head into lovely Linlithgow for a drink and snack.

Where: EH49 7AL

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7. Whynot? North Berwick

Whynot? brings together lots of independent shops selling items you can’t find anywhere else.

Where: EH39 4HD

(David Robertson)
(David Robertson)

8. Inveresk Lodge Garden, Musselburgh

Musselburgh, EH21 7TE Tucked away behind stone walls in the charming village of Inveresk, this is a picturesque oasis of calm

Where: EH21 7TE

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9. St Mary’s Church, Sidegate, Haddington

On the banks of the River Tyne is Scotland’s largest parish church. St Mary’s is a tranquil oasis with a turbulent history.

Where: EH41 4BZ

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10. Cairnpapple Hill, Bathgate Hills, West Lothian

This once-sacred site with a 5500-year history covers a Bronze Age grave into which you can descend – brilliant!

Where: EH49 7AL

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11. Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin

Star of The Da Vinci Code, this 15th Century chapel is rumoured to be the last resting place of the Holy Grail.

Where: EH25 9PU

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12. Scottish Korean War Memorial, Witchcraig Wood, Bathgate

Scotland’s only memorial for Scots who died in the Korean war 67 years ago is surrounded by lovely walks.

Where: EH48 4JW

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13. National Flag Heritage Centre, Athelstaneford

Legend has it that Scotland’s flag, the oldest in Europe and the Commonwealth, originated here in 832AD.

Where: EH39 5BE

(Alamy)
(Alamy)

14. Seacliff Beach, North Berwick

This beautiful beach is in a little-known corner of East Lothian. Accessed by a private road, it has what must be the world’s tiniest harbour, the ruins of a grand house and great views.

Where: EH39 5PP

(Abandoned Scotland)
(Abandoned Scotland)

15. Yester Castle & Goblin Ha, Haddington

Creepy Yester Castle and its underground chamber was built in the 13th Century by “wizard” Hugo de Giffard.

Where: EH41 4PH

 

Want to explore more of Scotland? Head to our Scottish Gems section.