No trip to Scotland is complete without a visitto The Lothians, an inspirational area that stretches from Linlithgow, just west of Edinburgh, to Dunbar on the east coast.
Shopping and sightseeing in West Lothian
West Lothian has much to offer visitors looking for a scenic drive or a spending spree. The palace in the beautiful royal burgh of Linlithgow was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, and has commanding views over the neighbouring loch and parkland.
Here you can also enjoy a scenic barge trip to the spectacular Avon Aqueduct or take in the town's long history at a stroll on one of Linlithgow's Heritage Trails. There's also the impressive 15th century fortress Blackness Castle, which stands guard over the Firth of Forth where the impressive Forth Road Bridge connects Lothian with Fife and the beautiful scenery of the Lomond Hills and St Andrews beyond.
The neighbouring City ofEdinburgh is the destination for boutique and high street shopping, but Livingston Designer Outlet is the place to go for a bargain, the largest mall in Scotland with over 70 boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
Situated just seven miles west of Edinburgh airport and with easy access to the M8, Livingston - Scotland's second largest city - is the ideal place from where to collect your hire car and get out to explore West Lothian.
The magic of Midlothian
Immediately to the south of Edinburgh, Midlothian offers travellers a glimpse of the Highlands in miniature. Here among the peaks of the Pentland Hills you can hike to your heart's delight orenjoy one of the many outdoor activities at the Midlothian Snowsports Centre or Glencorse Golf Club, which counts former Walker Cup and Ryder Cup captains amongst its members.
You can also take the opportunity to explore the region's rich heritage at Crichton Castle, retrace the adventures of the 'Da Vinci Code' at Rosslyn Chapel or experience industrial heritage at the National Mining Museum Scotland.
Exploring East Lothian
Keep driving towards the coast and you'll find East Lothian, the sunniest part of Scotland. Here you can enjoy the golden beaches of Yellowcraig, Seacliff and Belhaven Bay, 22top quality golf courses,including Gullane and North Berwick, and the thunder of hooves at Musselburgh Racecourse. North Berwick is also home to fantastic family destinations, such as the National Museum of Flight and the award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre.
East Lothian also offers an abundance of picturesque towns and villages with boutique shops and galleries. The traditional seaside town of Dunbar with its twin harbours overlooked by castle ruins, and over 40 miles of stunning coastline, is a superb place to enjoy the finest in Scottish hospitality.