Edinburgh really lives up to its name as the Festival City. Once again, Scotland becomes the cultural capital of the universe during August, with SEVEN festivals. With so much to see and do in the central belt this summer, you may be thinking of squeezing a last minute trip to the capital. But, you’ve probably noticed that good value for money accommodation has already been scarce for a couple of months. And the right accommodation to suit you, your family or your group of friends can be hard to find if the added pressure of time isn’t on your side.
If you’re desperate for some culture this year, whether it be opera from the EIF, comedy from the Fringe or some literary witticisms from the Edinburgh International Book Festival, we recommend casting your net a little further than usual. Falkirk would be delighted to have you.
Edinburgh is just a hop, skip and a jump from Falkirk
Falkirk sits right in the middle of Scotland’s Central Belt meaning that you can easily get to Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh in no time at all. And if soaking up Edinburgh’s festival atmosphere is your main goal, you can get there quickly, but also get away again.
- By train: There are two routes to Edinburgh from Falkirk Grahamston (35 minutes) or Falkirk High (25 minutes)
- By car: 50 minutes via the M9
- By bus: Hop on a regular bus between Falkirk and Edinburgh
- By bike: Just a two-hour cycle along the Union canal!
A hotel for every pocket
Treat yourself with a stay at a Falkirk Hotel. Falkirk’s fantastic range of hotels means that there’s something for every pocket and every taste. If you’re looking for a unique hotel experience, Glenskirlie House and Castle is set in lush and verdant grounds and contains 15 individually styled bedrooms coupled with two award winning restaurants serving up the best of locally sourced seasonal produce. And, because it’s only a forty-minute drive to Edinburgh in the car, you’ll always receive a restorative welcome on your return from the hustle and bustle of Auld Reekie. If you’re traveling on a tighter budget and are looking for a great value for money hotel experience, Falkirk offers a number of options for the smaller pocket, including the award-winning Leapark Hotel which provides good quality three star en-suite rooms and free onsite parking.
Glenskirlie House & Castle
You’ll be sure to find a hearty Scottish welcome at Falkirk’s wide range of guest houses and B&Bs, so here’s the lowdown on finding the best spot to escape the Edinburgh crowds. An array of room sizes in our Falkirk venues means that you’ll be able to find something to accommodate your family, your pal’s holiday or a quick getaway for one. And, even though you’re using the area as a base, we guarantee you’ll be enticed by Falkirk’s best sites nearby, including The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel.
Charming Ardtalla, a restored Victorian police station is proudly owned by Laird and Lady Westerlea. Offering up a cosy series of rooms with a delicious breakfast (including eggs from their own chickens) as well as homely reception rooms. Ardtalla is the perfect for slotting in some Falkirk sights in-between jetting off to the capital.
If you’re looking for somewhere that offers a quick getaway to Edinburgh, Bo’mains Farm B&B is just a few minutes’ drive from the M9. Family run and proud of their much-loved traditional Scottish breakfasts, this well situated B&B makes for a great stay in Falkirk. Grangeburn House is also equally positioned as a fantastic starting point to getting to the capital that promises a homely welcome with all the thoughtful touches to make you feel cosy.
Are you someone that needs a break from the hustle and bustle of the cities? Our B&B farms offer the perfect bolt holes. Drum Farm B&B is only a 40 minute drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow and popular with families as well as being pet friendly. Meanwhile Woodcock Faulds House is a peaceful rural haven that promises stunning views of the Ochil Hill and those all-important Forth Road Bridges.
Woodcock Faulds Farm & B&B
If you’re bringing the campervan or the caravan to Falkirk, there’s plenty of places to safely pitch up your mobile home.
Underwood Caravan Park is nestled close to the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal with beautiful views over the fields. With the Forth and Clyde canal running alongside, the more energetic of you can travel to Edinburgh, (or Glasgow) by bike.
Introduce your motorhome wheels to the biggest wheel of them all, The Falkirk Wheel, at the site’s motorhome accommodation. Hosting stays of up to three nights, this site is a great option for a short break if you’re passing through the central belt and hoping to grab a slice of the action.
If you’re someone who likes to steer the direction of their own adventures, we recommend hopping on a canal barge and cruising down the canals of Falkirk. Trust us- slow travel is exhilarating. As well as taking in the stunning sights of central Scotland, your routes will offer tunnels, the tallest aqueduct in Scotland over the River Avon and marvellous swing bridge locks. And what’s at the very end of the Union Canal? Edinburgh of course. Sail past the famous Kelpies and arrive in style right in the heart of festival fervour.
If you’re looking for something simple, Falkirk offers a range of serviced apartments across the area. Carmel Apartments are some of the best situated for getting to Edinburgh by public transport. Just minutes from the two main train lines, in the city centre, you’ll be moments from the numerous restaurants as well as a 24-hour supermarket and other amenities. Find out about the full range of apartments here.
Activities in Falkirk
After some busy festival days soaking up the atmosphere, there’s plenty to see and do in Falkirk where the pace is just a little slower. Here’s a small snapshot of how you can fill your time, but you’ll find even more options here. Or, if you’re looking for family activities, why not try our previous blog.
Explore Falkirk and beyond on an E-bike, -they’ll provide you with the little extra push you need and are perfect for if you’re new to exercise or haven’t’ cycled in a while, or if you fancy taking things a little easier. Pick up an E-bike at any Falkirk bike station and simply put it back when you’re done.
E-bike at The Kelpies
Staying close to the canal? Whether you’re at the caravan park or barging it down the waters, the canal offers a fantastic direct bike route through to Edinburgh or around the sites of the area.
Forth & Clyde Canal by Peter Sandground
Callendar Estate offers miles of stunning countryside.If you love the outdoors, there’s a great opportunity to get on your bike and experience the countryside trails for bikers of any ability. The network of trails contains family friendly easy routes as well as single-track mountain bike trails. Don’t have a bike? Hire them at Greenrig cycles!
Cafe@Canada Wood by Vass Media
It’s one of Falkirk’s best ice cream stops. From gluten free alternatives and vegan options, everyone is guaranteed to find an icy treat.
Milk Barn by Vass Media
A Quick Guide to The Edinburgh Festivals
You’ve booked the hotel, you’ve picked your activities in Falkirk, but which Edinburgh festivals will you visit? Here’s what’s on offer.
This year’s highlights include performances from Lucy Dacus, Alan Cummings, Nicola Benedetti, Sir Simon Rattle conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and a special chance to hear the Ukraninan Freedom Orchestra.
What will you find in their 75th year? Absolutely everything- from amateur dance troupes to some of the biggest names in showbiz . Not sure what to see? Wait until you’re ‘flyered’ for the true Fringe experience or check out the website now.
This free art festival brings together the capital’s galleries to showcase the best of new and emerging talent as well as special programme of newly commissioned artworks that respond to Edinburgh’s beloved landmarks.
Tatoo means last duty of the day, and for British, Commonwealth and international military bands, the last duty is performing an incredible musical extravaganza during August. As it’s one of the most popular global events this summer, booking early is highly advised. After a busy day exploring Falkirk, this makes for a brilliant evening out.
This global festival celebrates the silver screen and has hosted the UK premiers of some of the great films ever made. Highlights include free outdoor screenings of cinematic classics on the 12-14 August. If a rainy day is on the cards in Falkirk, a trip to the capital to attend one of the many indoor screenings is a great option!
This year 550 world class authors will be packed into 600 events across the city. This year’s programme includes a huge choice of workshops, interviews, creative sessions and events for children. Guests include Noam Chomsky, Alexander McCall Smith, Armando Iannucci, Julia Donaldson and Michael Morpugo. If you’re a book worm, there’s few festivals that can compare.
Connect Festival returns at the Royal Highland Centre for the final weekend of August. This new incantation of the festival brings together some huge names across three-day festival including The Chemical Brothers, The National, Bombay Bicycle Club, Black Country New Road and Jamz Supernova. Cut out the camping and bus into the festival from one of the many regular public services from Falkirk to Ingliston home of the Royal Highland Centre.