Car-free adventures aroundLinlithgowWest Lothian

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Between Glasgow and Edinburgh in rolling countryside, with its palace perched above a natural loch, the lovely town of Linlithgow is a fairy tale destination (although the name means something like “lake in a soggy valley”). The sights are close together with lots of cafés on the way. There are plenty of waterside walks to enjoy in the area: around the loch, along the canal, or beside the epic Firth of Forth. Head to Bo’ness for a steamy whiff of nostalgia on the Bo’ness and Kinniel Railway – and you can get two tickets for the price of one if you show a Scotrail ticket.

  • County: West Lothian
  • Great for: boat trips | castles | history | museums | palaces | steam railway | walking |
  • Refreshments: lots of lovely places in Linlithgow and Bo’ness. Pub near Blackness Castle sadly shut, but the castle sells tea, coffee and hot chocolate from a machine.
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch:
Train station entrance sign - Linlithgow car-free adventures
  1. 3. The John Muir way

    There are more adventures to be had on foot or by bike along the 134-mile John Muir Way. The route is named after a pioneering Scottish naturalist and runs from Helensburgh to Dunbar, passing through Linlithgow on the way.

    • The section from Falkirk to Linlithgow has a walkers’ route from the aqueduct along the River Avon and a cyclists’ route along the canal.
    • In the other direction, from Linlithgow, it heads north out of town along Millers Road and beside Fishers’ Brae, arriving, after about four miles, at the town of Bo’ness, famous for its annual fair and railway museum.
    • The route passes through the grounds of the Kinneil Museum on the way into town, charting the history of Bo’ness in a 17th-century stable building. (Alternatively, buses 45 and 46 stop five minutes away on Provost Road. See 4 below).
    • The Kinniel Estate, surrounding the museum’s cottages, contains some remains, including a small fort, of the Antonine Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This turf and timber barrier on stone foundations ran parallel to Hadrian’s wall to the south and was the Romans’ other “great wall”.
    • Reaching the Firth of Forth, the trail turns eastwards towards Blackness Castle. On the way it passes the railway and motor museums and four miles of waterside woods and fields. Follow Good Journey’s instructions.
    • The Kinneil Brew Hoose is also right on the route, tucked behind the Corbie Inn, which serves real ale and pub grub.
    • If you make it all the way to Blackness, bus F49 runs back to Bo’ness or Linlithgow four times a day. While you wait, you can visit the castle with its great views across the wide water to the Ochils beyond.
  1. 4. Back in time to Bo’ness

    You don’t have to walk there to visit firth-side Bo’ness – there’s a bus there every half an hour from Linlithgow. Boasting Scotland’s largest railway museum, its oldest cinema, and some important Roman remains, the town of Bo’ness is always worth a visit. Ride the Bo’ness and Kinniel steam railway or stroll along the sandy-shored forth. There’s a 1950s feel about the whole town, from the vintage adverts in the heritage station to the classic Studebaker in the Motor Museum.

    • Buses F45 and F46 leave a few times per day from Linlithgow Cross, heading for the nearby town of Bo’ness with a great view of the Firth as they reach the top of Airngath Hill.
    • The buses stop in Park Lane, a couple of minutes walk from the Bo’ness and Kiniell Railway.
    • The steam trains generally run on Tuesdays and at weekends from March to October and every day in August. The neighbouring museum is open every day.
  • Blackness castle - Linlithgow car-free adventures
  • Canal boats - Linlithgow car-free adventures
  • Train station entrance sign - Linlithgow car-free adventures