If you have time to spare there are plenty of other places in Scotland which are within easy reach of Edinburgh and well worth a visit. Most attractions are no more than an hour’s drive away. The highlights are Hopetoun House of Robert Adam fame and the impressive ruins of Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots in 1542.
One of the best day trips from the Scottish capital is to the ancient town of Dunfermline, north of Edinburgh. It can easily be visited in a day, which will give you time to see its famous abbey and palace as well as the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum.
Portobello was once where the whole of Edinburgh would go on a sunny weekend, to paddle in the Firth of Forth. The long, sandy beach is still quite busy on sunny days, but in general it offers a relaxing escape from the city-center bustle.
Dalkeith Country Park makes for a great day out. The magnificence of the architecture is matched by the natural splendor of the estate. The breathtaking woodland walks are formed in part by remnants of the ancient Forest of Caledon – a site of special scientific interest. If you have kids in tow, the park also boasts a fabulous adventure playground with rope swings, ‘flying foxes’ and one of the longest slides you are likely to see.
If golf is your thing, then you may well be spoiled for choices. Nearby St. Andrews is called the home of golf, and its historical ruins and delightful university town are good diversions if the wind comes up, but other places around Edinburgh and the Lothians can give those clubs a hell of a good run for their money. There are no less than 28 private clubs in and around the area, and most of these will welcome visitors, especially midweek.