Linlithgow is a very pleasant royal burgh in West Lothian, to the west of Edinburgh, and east of Polmont. It has a long and interesting history, and is home to some fantastic tourist attractions like Linlithgow Palace, as well as lovely walks along the Union Canal and round Linlithgow Loch.

History of Linlithgow

The site of Linlithgow Palace has historically been the civic centre of Linlithgow. Since around the time of the 12th century there has been a royal manor on the site. King Edward I of England built a new fortress on the site in the 14th century, called The Peel. But then, in 1424, a great fire destroyed much of Linlithgow.

Work began constructing Linlithgow Palace and the nearby Church of St Michael, under King James I of Scotland. Further parts and features were added under subsequent kings. King James V was actually born in Linlithgow Palace in 1512, and the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots, was born here in 1542. The Palace then entered a state of disrepair, and between 1618 and 1622 the Palace was rebuilt under King James. In 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie visited Linlithgow Palace, but in 1746 much of the Palace was again destroyed, this time by the troops of the Duke of Cumberland.

Old Linlithgow is still visible in the town centre, with a number of historic buildings and town planning incorporating the kind of closes and wynds found in the Old Town of Edinburgh. The Cross Well, of 1807, lies on the road to Linlithgow Palace.

Visiting Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace is today owned and operated by Historic Scotland. At the time of writing, the Palace is open for the Summer season (1st April – 30th September), 7 days a week from 9:30am until 5:30pm. The Winter season (1st October – 31st March) seeks the Palace open 7 days a week from 9:30am until 4:30pm. Admission prices for the Palace at the time of writing were £5.50 for adults, £3.30 for children, and £4.40 for concessions.

Other things to do in Linlithgow

In nice summer weather, the land around Linlithgow Palace, called The Peel, offers lovely grassy (and hilly) territory for a picnic, taking the children or simply lying in the sun.

There is a lovely walk going right round Linlithgow Loch, and you can also walk along the pleasant canal towpath on the Union Canal. A canal museum and narrowboat barge tours are operated from the Manse Road Basin by the Linlithgow Union Canal Society.

Linlithgow is home to some lovely parades and festival celebrations. On the first Tuesday after the second Thursday in June, the Riding of the Marches takes place, with a procession through the town with music and floats. This is based on the old 16th century Riding of the Marches which checked the security of the perimeter of the royal burgh, and the formal, ceremonial duties of the Marches are still observed as part of the procession.

Linlithgow also has a Victorian Street Fayre just before Christmas, and there is also a Children’s Gala Day and the annual Linlithgow Folk Festival.

Getting to Linlithgow

The easiest way to get from Polmont to Linlithgow by public transport is by train – both towns served by their own respective train stations, and with regular service frequency. This line is the main line between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley, via Falkirk High.

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