Dive into nature
This neck of the woods is blessed with many spots of natural beauty. Enjoy a variety of walking routes in The Pentlands, each with rewarding views and wildlife-spotting opportunities along the way. With over 100km of signposted paths as well as cycle and pony trails, there are lots of ways to explore this beautiful outdoor sanctuary and take a breather from the stresses of life.
For handy tips to help you plan your visit, download the Pentland Hills Visitor Guide & Map >
Once home to Scotland’s largest gunpowder mill, Roslin Glen Country Park is now a place a peace and tranquillity. Wander through picturesque woodland and river trails and see how much of the diverse wildlife population you can spot. Or explore over 4 miles of beautiful woodland walks in the 105 hectares of woodland and Victorian parkland at Vogrie Country Park near Gorebridge. With a nine-hole golf course, adventure playground, water features and miniature railway also in the park, there’s enough to keep the whole family entertained.
For wildlife of a more different kind, a visit to Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World in Lasswade is a must for all creepy crawly fans. As you stroll through the exotic rainforest, marvel as hundreds of the world's most spectacular butterflies flutter around you, see lizards, chameleons and scorpions and – should you want to - get the chance to handle tarantulas, snakes and millipedes!
For wildlife on a slightly bigger scale, Peggyslea Clydesdales offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with Scotland's native horse breed, Clydesdales. Lean all about these gentle giants on a carriage drive around the grounds – you even get the chance to drive one of the Clydesdales yourself. Alternatively, if you fancy learning or boosting existing equestrian skills, Edinburgh and Lasswade Riding Centre offers riding lessons from age 2 upwards. With 50 horses ranging from little Shetlands for the tiny tots, up to 17hh, there's a wide range for all ages and abilities.
Visit a church or two
You don’t have to be religious to appreciate a beautifully-built church. Rosslyn Chapel is perhaps one of the most famous in the area, thanks to Dan Brown’s 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code and the subsequent film. Founded in 1446, the chapel – famous for its intricately carved stone-work and strange symbolism – has been beautifully conserved and continues to be a working church, with services held weekly. Tours of the chapel are held throughout the day and offer the best way to discover more about this fascinating building.
Top tip: keep an eye out for the famous apprentice pillar.
The A-listed medieval Crichton Collegiate Church is also worth visiting. Founded in 1449 by William Crichton, then Lord Chancellor of Scotland, it has been in continuous use as a place of worship for more than 550 years. Today, not only is it a place of worship, the church also hosts a variety of events, including concerts and recording sessions. It is open to visitors between 2pm and 5pm on Sundays from May to September.
Today it serves as a college and events venue, but Newbattle Abbey has a fascinating history, spanning 900 years. Founded as a Cistercian Monastery in 1140, it became a family home in the 16th century and an adult residential college in 1937. The Abbey was requisitioned by the army during WWII, before resuming as a college again in 1950. To learn more about the varied history of this ancient building, why not book a guided tour and follow in the steps of its previous inhabitants.
Explore the National Mining Museum
At the site of Lady Victoria Colliery – initially opened in 1895 as Scotland’s first super-pit – you can now explore the history of the coal trade in Scotland at the 5-star National Mining Museum. From its beginnings in the earth and efforts to extract it, to what life was like for mining communities, there’s lots to learn about coal! A great day out for all ages - take a guided tour and experience the atmosphere & noise of a working pit and drive Scotland's largest winding engine which once hauled coal and men from 500 metres underground.
The museum’s collection has over 60,000 items, including tools, lamps, geological specimens and much more. And with tours led by real ex-miners, you’re sure to learn a thing or two about the life down the pits.
Walking trails not quite enough to satisfy your energy levels? Then why not head to RYZE Edinburgh - bounce, flip and soar on super trampolines that promise hours of fun.
Or whizz down the dry ski slope at Midlothian Snowsports Centre. With artificial slopes that can be enjoyed all year, it offers all the fun of skiing without the cold!
If you fancy a round of golf amongst Midlothian’s picturesque rolling green hills, there’s several courses to choose from, including Glencorse Golf Club, Melville Golf Centre or Kings Acre Golf Course.
Enjoy a family day out at Dalkeith Country Park
(Image Credit: Visit Scotland Kenny Lam)
All of our picks are great options for family fun, but if you’re looking for one place with a whole day’s worth of activity, Dalkeith Country Park is the place to go. Discover hikes for walkers of all levels, beautiful countryside, fun cycling routes and a fantastic adventure playground.
To wind down after all that activity, take a yoga class at the Restoration Yard’s Wellbeing Lab, housed in a lovingly restored 18th century stableyard, or browse around The Store for an exciting selection of fashion, homewares, books and beauty.
A delicious range of breakfast and brunch dishes, as well as light bites, lunch and of course dessert, can be found at The Kitchen. While, if you prefer lunch to-go, The Larder is open daily for takeaway salad boxes, sandwiches, soups, kids’ boxes, ice cream, cakes & treats – perfect for enjoying in the park’s extensive grounds.
Top tip: keep an eye on their events page for a range of yearly outdoor festivals, kids events and workshops.
(Image Credit: Visit Scotland Kenny Lam)
Lights, camera, Midlothian
Midlothian has acted as a film set for several large-scale productions. Visit these real-life sets to follow in the footsteps of the stars… quite literally!
* The Da Vinci Code (2005) – Rosslyn Chapel and Arniston House
* Outlander (2014 - 2018) – Glencorse House and Glencorse Auld Kirk
* The Princess Switch 3, coming soon – Newbattle Abbey and Lord Ancrum’s Woods
Try out local tastes
The Secret Herb Garden is a seven-acre plot that’s home to a glasshouse café, gin distillery and local produce shop. Take a walk around the gardens, and be sure to buy some fresh herbs to take home.
If beer is more your thing, pay a visit to Stewart Brewing – Edinburgh’s original craft beer brewery. Take a tour to find out how the beer is brewed, and treat yourself to a few souvenirs from the shop.
Travel from Edinburgh to Midlothian
Midlothian is based to the south of Edinburgh. It’s easy to get the train on the Borders railway line – it takes 40 minutes to Eskbank Station near Dalkeith Country Park. And Newtongrange Station is a 20-minute journey and just a few minutes’ walk from the National Mining Museum.
Buses to the area take around 45 minutes, or it’s a 20-minute journey by car. The area is well-served by Lothian Buses – use their online Journey Planner to prepare for your trip.
Plan your trip to Midlothian
For more information, visit the Scotland Starts Here website. and follow and tag them on Facebook @ScotlandStartsHere, Twitter @herescotland and Instagram @discoversouthscotland. #Midlothian #VisitEdinburgh #ThingsToDoInMidlothian