Whatever destination I find myself in – big or small, quiet or bustling, popular or relatively unknown – I always make it a point to walk around and explore. Well, I’ve been to Linlithgow in Scotland, and at that time I didn’t get to. :(
I was there for an Outlander tour with Mary’s Meanders (I highly recommend it, even if you’re not a fan of the show or the books), and I think the only thing I managed to do was visit Linlithgow Palace. It was actually part of the tour, but I later went back and looked at as many rooms and displays as I could.
Maybe I’m overdue for another trip to Scotland (and maybe another Outlander tour, hehehe). If I am fortunate enough to come back, I’ll make sure to get it right and check out the local life. :)
So if we were to spend a day or two in Linlithgow before and after the tour, what should we see, eat, buy and do? I’ve got the perfect person to answer these questions: Emma Chalmers. :)
She and Anne Daly run the highly-rated Mary’s Meanders, “a specialist independent tour company based in Linlithgow, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots” that offers “one-day to week-long historic, filming and ancestry tours”.
But even if you’re not there for any of their tours, Linlithgow is an easy place to get to from Edinburgh and Glasgow – and, according to Emma, an easy starting point for a lot of historic sites and filming locations (like those in Outlander, Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots), which are mostly just an hour or less away.
So no excuses. :) Get ready and follow Emma’s suggestions for a leisurely break from it all.
#1 Start at Linlithgow Palace
“The birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, this magnificent palace was a favourite of the Stewart kings and queens in the 15th and 16th centuries.
"You can also visit the beautiful medieval St Michael’s Parish Church (subject to restricted opening hours) where Mary was baptised, and you’ll see the beautiful new bronze statue of Mary overlooking Linlithgow Peel. Outlander and Outlaw King were filmed here in recent years.”
#2 Take a walk around Linlithgow Loch like the locals
“This flat walk takes about 45 minutes all the way around, and you get a wonderful view of the Palace across the water.”
#3 Stop for a cup of coffee
“After all that walking, head to one of the main cafés in town – Fenwicks of Linlithgow. They have delicious scones. If you get there around 10am, they may still be warm from coming out of the oven!
#4 Pick up a special gift
“If you’re looking for some mementos from your visit to Linlithgow, try Jewellery By Design. They have a fabulous collection inspired by Outlander, and also pieces featuring Linlithgow’s landmarks. Other shops in town are A Wee Mindin’ and Lilypond – both have some local designed pieces.”
#5 Appreciate the views
“The Union Canal runs behind the railway track – take a wander along the towpath and see some of the local wildlife. The Linlithgow Canal Centre houses a small museum sharing information about the history of the canal. You can also take short boat trips in the summertime, which is a relaxing way to spend some time.”
#6 Immerse yourself in a mystery or two
“eeek! Escape Rooms is Linlithgow’s newest attraction. Can you solve the Mary Queen of Scots-themed puzzles, and escape The Blunt Axe room?”
#7 Relax over a satisfying dinner
“For evening meal options, Mason Belles Kitchen serves locally sourced produce that’s beautifully presented. The Four Marys Pub was named after Mary Queen of Scots’ ladies-in-waiting. Why not try a Linlithgow Gin before your dinner?
"If you're in the mood for steak, Champany Inn just outside Linlithgow is home to the finest Scotch beef. They have both a fine dining restaurant and a more informal bistro restaurant. I'm a big fan of their pepper sauce!