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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

borders railway

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


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


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


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.