Skip to Content

A Guide To The Linlithgow Loch Walk

We were spoilt with the weather over the weekend, so the Haggis and I decided to do the Linlithgow Loch walk.

Walking the circuit around this loch is one of my favourite things to do in West Lothian. It’s a flat, easy walk and has fantastic views of Linlithgow Palace from every angle

Linlithgow Palace sits on the south shore of Linlithgow Loch. If you intend on doing the Linlithgow Loch walk, I recommend timing your visit so you can explore Linlithgow Palace too.

A visit to Linlithgow is a great day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow; the train station in Linlithgow is just a few minutes’ walk from the loch and the palace. Linlithgow is just how you’d expect a small Scottish town to look like and it’s accessible on foot, with some great cafes, pubs and shops.

Linlithgow Palace will reopen to visitors on April 30, 2021. For an update on the latest travel restrictions in Scotland, read my Covid-19 guide that is updated every week with the current information.

Linlithgow Loch with the palace in view

A Quick History of Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace was built during the 15th century. After a fire destroyed the earlier residence, James I was responsible for rebuilding the palace as a residence for Scottish royalty. Placed perfectly between Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle, the new palace was used as a stopping point between the two castles.

The palace is most famous for being the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, who became Queen of Scotland when she was just six days old. Her father, James V, was also born here. Mary often visited and stayed at the palace as an adult.

The palace was used less and less when Mary’s son, King James IV and I, moved the royal court to London in 1603. Charles I was the last reigning Scottish monarch to spend a night here in 1633.

Bonnie Prince Charlie visited the castle in 1745. The fountain inside the palace was made to flow with wine in his honour (can you imagine that?). It was partially destroyed by English forces when they set fire to the palace the following year.

Today, is is a magnificent ruin, visited by tourists from all over the world.

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Loch Walk

The Linlithgow Loch walk is a flat, easy walk suitable for mostly everyone. It’s a great family walk, suitable for buggies, and it’s also suitable for dogs. Just make sure you keep your dog on a leash so he or she doesn’t disturb the wildlife- many birds will build their nests around the loch, espeically during spring.

There is an abundance of wildlife around Linlithgow Loch, including swans and their babies when they hatch in spring.

It is free to do the Linlithgow Loch walk, but it does cost to enter Linlithgow Palace [see the end of this article for prices for 2021].

I’ve created a map of the Linlithgow Loch walk below:

Distance around Linlithgow Loch

Linlithgow Loch is precisely 3.5km / 2.25 miles long. It should take 1 hour [excluding photo time] to walk the path around the loch.

Which direction should I walk around Linlithgow Loch?

I suggest starting at the palace and walking around the loch clockwise. This way you’ll save the best view of the palace from across the loch until last.

I also recommend taking a picnic with you to enjoy on the massive lawn in front of Linlithgow Palace, or having something to eat at Cafebar 1807 – my favourite cafe in Linlithgow.

How long should I spend in Linlithgow?

Allow 1 hour to complete the walk, or 3-4 hours if you’d like to visit the palace and have some lunch nearby.

Parking

There is pay and display car parking at the Vennel Car Park, which is located next to the west side of Linlithgow Palace. It costs £1.80 to park for 2 hours, and £5 for the entire day.

Parking is free on Sundays.

If you enjoyed this walk, you might enjoy the walk around the grounds at the House of the Binns, located nearby.

Linlithgow Palace Prices for 2021

*Linlithgow Palace will reopen to visitors on April 30, 2021.

Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
Adult: £7.20
Concession: £5.40
Child aged 5-15: £4.30
Child under 5: FREE
Family (1 adult, 2 children): £14
Family (2 adults, 2 children): £21
Family (2 adults, 3 children: £24

So what do you think? Have I inspired you to visit Linlithgow Palace, or have you already been?