The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies, Calendar House and Park, Linlithgow Palace and Loch. Virtually everything in Scotland is close by North American Standards. We were staying near Broxburn and these tourist sites are nearby, within close proximity are the towns of Falkirk and Linlithgow which are all in the county of the West Lothians. We checked off these items on our tourist list over two days although you could easily start early and hit them all in one busy day. You’d need a car to see all these sites in a day but you could more than cover them in two by buses which serve these attractions. Each site needs about an hour and a half depending on your interests unless you plan to spend a leisurely day at any of them.
Our First stop was The Falkirk Wheel, it’s an engineering marvel that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal by lifting or lowering boats on a giant wheel. It opened in 2002 as part of a project connecting the two canals for the first time since the 1930’s and is named after the neighboring town. Its free to view the wheel, just a few dollars to park but you can spend some money if you’d like to take a short cruise that starts and ends on the wheel. The surrounding park capitalizes on the attraction of the wheel with other touristy things to do for the whole family. You could spend some time walking the canals but we were uninspired and decided to move on to see the Kelpies.
The Kelpies are 2, 30m high horse sculptures by artist Andy Scott that opened in 2014. They are placed along an extension of the Forth and Clyde canal in The Helix, a large park that connects 16 Falkirk communities. Its free to view the sculpture, again just a few dollars for parking and capitalizing on the tourists is a souvenir/information center. We enjoyed seeing them but were soon ready to move on. The park is expansive and has a spectacular playground for the kids, no problem to spend a day here with a picnic and everyone would enjoy themselves. We grabbed a light lunch and coffees at the outdoor cafe and then headed home.
Calendar House wasn’t on the top of Tripadvisors lists but we throughly enjoyed Calendar House and Park. The home is architecturally magnificent, has a lot of history behind it and is surrounded by a stunning urban park. It’s free to tour and the house contains a museum and working Georgian kitchen you can view. It also has a nice tea room where we enjoyed a coffee looking out onto the park and you could imagine life of the privileged in the Georgian era. It was quiet and we had a satisfying morning with a short walk through the park, it’s likely busier when the adjacent park of rides and concessions are open in the summer. On a nice day it would be an awesome spot for a picnic and wander through the park.
We then headed to Linlithgow Palace, a can’t miss stop on your itinerary through this area. The castle is tucked behind the town, up a narrow, unassuming road with some parking in front of the Castle and beside St. Michaels Parish Church. The castle is amazing with the added cache of being another of the sites used for the filming of Outlander. It’s a five story maze and labyrinth of rooms that overlook a picturesque loch and park.
The palace was a principal residence for the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries and was the birth place of Mary Queen of Scots. It is part of the Historical Sites of Scotland where you can use your explorer of membership passes. After exploring every nook, cranny and hidden room of the castle you can then wander outside around the loch and park or into town.
Heres a short video of our time at each of these sites, you can watch the whole five minutes or fast forward to the parts that interest you. Alternatively you can click here for the picture gallery. Any questions post a note on the blog and we’d be happy to reply.