The Best Things to Do in West Lothian, Scotland

Snap unique selfies in Jupiter Artland in West Lothian, Scotland
Snap unique selfies in Jupiter Artland in West Lothian, Scotland | © KCphotography / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Tamarin Fountain
23 September 2020

Home to singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi and Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle, this Scottish region lies in the central belt between Edinburgh and greater Glasgow. The area boasts some of the best shopping in Scotland, along with plenty of family-friendly activities, cultural sites and alternative days out. Here’s our pick of the best things you can do in West Lothian.

Go to a light night at Five Sisters Zoo

Zoo
Map View

This much-loved local zoo brings those of all ages up close to animals like lions, bears, lemurs, monkey, reptiles, reindeer, birds, wallabies, wolves, sheep and snow leopards. Set in the charming countryside near West Calder, it’s transformed into a magical kingdom in the autumn and winter months, with seasonal after-dark illuminations. But if you’d rather get involved with feeding and handling, head along for a daytime visit.

Atmosphere:

Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Deaf), Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Snap unique selfies in Jupiter Artland

Art Gallery, Park
Map View
Founded in 2009 by philanthropic art collectors Robert and Nicky Wilson, this is arguably the most Instagrammable spot in the region. The park features incredible oversized contemporary sculptures and epic modern landscaping from artists including Phyllida Barlow, Charles Jencks, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Antony Gormley. It’s made up of 100 acres (40.5ha) of outdoor space and indoor galleries, so allow a few hours to wander, and aim for a dry day.

Shop at Livingston Designer Outlet

Shopping Mall
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Livingston designer outlet McArthur Glen Scotland. Image shot 11/2008. Exact date unknown.
© DGB / Alamy Stock Photo
With over 70 major brands at knock-down prices, the Designer Outlet in Livingston is a destination shopping mall. Perfect for wet-weather days, the sleek modern venue is all under cover. It has plenty of food and drinks pitstops, as well as adventure golf and a multiplex cinema. Take home cut-price items from the likes of Barbour, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Ted Baker. If you’d prefer to shop high-street brands, head to The Centre, another large mall adjacent to the Designer Outlet.

Atmosphere:

Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Deaf), Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Visit Linlithgow Palace, a royal residence of past Scottish monarchs

Historical Landmark
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View of Linlithgow Palace in Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, UK. Birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
© Urbanmyth / Alamy Stock Photo

Best known as the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, Linlithgow Palace was built as a royal residence in the 15th century. It’s the focal point of the town centre, a few minutes’ walk from the train station, but surrounded by an area of parkland and overlooking a stunning loch. You may recognise the palace from the small screen – it was used for the corridors in Wentworth Prison and for entrances in the first series of Outlander. Entry is ticketed, but you can picnic in the grounds and snap some exterior photos for free.

Take a tour of Matugga Distillers

Wine Seller, Cocktails
Map View

Matugga is a lesser-known attraction. The exciting artisanal rum distillery is found on the Brucefield Industrial Estate in Livingston, and they offer gourmet spiced rum with a difference – it’s crafted in small batches in Scotland, but using high-quality natural East African ingredients. Discover with Paul, the knowledgable distiller and founder, how the liquor is made, and try some award-winning white, spiced and cask-aged golden rums, or sip on a decadent cocktail or two.

Forage with Hipsters and Hobos

This Livingston-based organisation runs wild foraging adventures in parks, woodlands and forests across the area. Attendees can learn to identify the many bounties of Scottish nature and how to safely use them in meals, beverages, cosmetics and in fermentation. The courses also cover harvesting and the ways in which these freely available natural items can boost your diet. Book a full afternoon, concluding with a delicious and sociable eco picnic, or try a taster session.

Mountain bike through Beecraigs Country Park

Park
Map View
Forest path in Beecraigs country park, West Lothian, Scotland
© Ian Rutherford / Alamy Stock Photo

This four-star visitor attraction in the Bathgate Hills covers 914 acres (370ha). The parkland provides ample opportunity for walking, cycling and horse trekking. But, if you’d rather get the blood pumping with a more daring activity, try its many mountain bike trails. You’ll spot some local deer, cattle and sheep as you fly through and can make a day of it by hiring a BBQ pit. If you’re here for longer, the park has its own glamping lodges. Beecraigs also has two nearby sister sites, Polkemmet Country Park and Almondell & Calderwood Country Park.

Atmosphere:

Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Deaf), Dog Friendly, Family Friendly, Kid Friendly
These recommendations were updated on September 23, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.