Things to Do in and Around South Queensferry, Scotland

Hopetoun House is one of the top places to visit in South Queensferry
Hopetoun House is one of the top places to visit in South Queensferry | © Duncan Astbury / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Tamarin Fountain
8 September 2020

The Scottish harbour town of South Queensferry, known locally as “The Ferry”, offers unparalleled views of the Forth Rail Bridge, a Unesco World Heritage site. It boasts stately homes, beautiful countryside and plenty of opportunities to get your pulse racing. From Hopetoun House to Dundas Castle, here are Culture Trip’s favourite things to see and do in South Queensferry, Scotland.

Learn to sail at Port Edgar Watersports

Sports Center
Map View

Nestled in the shadow of the Queensferry Crossing, a short walk from the high street, is this RYA (Royal Yachting Association)-recognised watersports centre. The social enterprise is the largest of its kind in Scotland. Book two-hour taster sessions, or even full training courses with qualifications in dinghy or keelboat sailing, powerboating, windsurfing, SUP and kayaking.

Visit Hopetoun House

Building, Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark
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This majestic 17th-century stately home would not be out of place in the grandest period drama – it was used in the filming of Outlander, as well as numerous photoshoots. It’s a five-star visitor attraction, with elegant Georgian architecture, lavish interiors and fascinating antiques. The grounds serve as a popular location for geocaching and orienteering. General admission to the house and estate is £11.50 for adults.

Cycle the Forth Bridge

Architectural Landmark
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A road bicycle lent against the railing of the Forth Road Bridge with North Queensferry in the background.
© Porridge Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Cross one of the world’s best-known long-span suspension bridges over the Firth of Forth from South Queensferry to Fife. It’s over 100m (328ft) one way and proffers unbeatable views of the Industrial Revolution-era rail bridge, a Unesco World Heritage site, as well as the new Queensferry Crossing. It is susceptible to high winds (and resulting closures to pedestrians), so aim for a calm day.

Explore the Dalmeny Estate

Architectural Landmark, Park
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Dalmeny House near Edinburgh
© BCS / Alamy Stock Photo

This 19th-century estate is home to the seventh Earl and Countess of Rosebery and can be found to the west of the town. It backs onto a spectacular shoreline and pretty woodland for charming walking opportunities. Dalmeny House itself is currently closed to visitors, but the West Craigie Farm Shop within the grounds is great for gastronomes looking to do some shopping.

Cruise on the Maid of the Forth

Music Venue
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Maid of the Forth sightseeing boat moored at Hawes Pier South Queensferry Scotland  July 2018
© Stephen Finn / Alamy Stock Photo

From its departure point at Hawes Pier, the Maid of the Forth takes voyagers on three different excursions. The first is a one-and-a-half-hour sightseeing trip, the second is a voyage landing at the mysterious Inchcolm Island, and the third is an atmospheric sunset folk music cruise. Whichever you choose, you’ll see viewpoints including a seal colony and bird reserve, and the evening option passes the Oxcars Lighthouse and Blackness Castle.

Drink and dine at Orocco Pier

Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Brasserie, Cafe, Seafood, $$$
Map View

Enjoy a relaxed lunch at Orocco Pier’s Antico Café Bar, or a sophisticated seafood dinner at the adjacent Samphire Restaurant and Bar. The boutique hotel venue is known for its huge picture windows and large outdoor terrace offering magical views over the Forth. Keep your eyes peeled, and you may even spot a steam train passing on the Forth Rail Bridge.

Dive with sharks at Deep Sea World

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Deep Sea World, North Queensferry, Edinburgh, Scotland. Underwater tunnel walk. A shark passes overhead.
© David Kilpatrick / Alamy Stock Photo

Just over the bridge in North Queensferry is Deep Sea World. Those aged eight and above can get into the aquarium for a face-to-face shark encounter. Younger visitors and those who’d rather keep their distance can watch the largest collection of sharks in Europe feed from behind toughened glass. Deep Sea World’s themed exhibitions will take you on an international marine expedition, including the longest underwater tunnel in the UK.

Play Battlezone Paintball

Paintball Venue
Map View

South Queensferry need not be sedate. Make like a marine and spend the day (or half-day) chasing your mates around 60 acres (24ha) of woodland. The venue differs from most other paintball providers in that it offers airsoft rifles – the M4 carbine models from Tippmann that look and feel like real assault rifles. There are also buggies, quads and knife- and axe-throwing areas on site.

Experience Outlander at Dundas Castle

Map View

For an unforgettable luxury experience, book an Outlander package at this fine 19th-century castle. Private Concierge Scotland – the castle’s events partner – compiles a bespoke two-day itinerary to include everything from bus rides to helicopter rides, taking in the series’ locations. Return to dine medieval-style in the stag chamber, and slumber in fine surroundings at this majestic five-star hotel.

These recommendations were updated on September 8, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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