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, we're sure you're enjoying your trip to the capital. But, maybe you're wondering what else there is to explore nearby or you'd welcome a break from the noise and crowds of the city centre. Sound like you? Read on to learn about why you should try Falkirk.
Falkirk sits right in the middle of Scotland’s Central Belt meaning that you can easily get there from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling in no time at all.
- By train: There are two routes from Edinburgh to Falkirk: Falkirk Grahamston station (35 minutes) or Falkirk High station (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!
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.
At the Falkirk Wheel, you can soar 115 feet into the air in one of its barges.
Try out some of the many activities on offer – choose from boat trips, woodland walks, kids activity zone, mini golf, water play park, and much more for a jam-packed family day out.
When it comes to food and drink, there’s plenty to choose from. Grab a bite to eat from the airstream food truck and wood-fired pizza oven. Or sit inside and enjoy a lunch at the visitor centre café while watching the Wheel at work.
A visit to the Falkirk area must include the majestic Kelpies! The two 30-metre-tall horse heads are the largest equine sculptures in the world. Pre-book a tour to see a Kelpie from the inside and admire the remarkable engineering.
The Kelpies are located in the 350-hectare expanse of Helix Park along with a lagoon, wetlands, splash play, trails, kids adventure zone, and accessible play area to keep your family busy.
Stop off at the visitor centre café to sample the mouth-watering menu of homemade and locally-sourced ingredients, including cakes, soup, sandwiches, and pizza.
Enjoy a history lesson with the permanent displays, such as The Story of Callendar House and Falkirk: Crucible of Revolution 1750-1850. Then, head to the Georgian kitchen to taste early 19th-century cuisine alongside an interactive experience from costumed interpreters.
Kids are guaranteed a fun-filled day in the Roman-themed play park with a wide range of activities, including an adventurous new Natural Play trail which takes the whole family on a half hour wander through the woods. Plus, in the summer, there is a range of activities, such as a bouncy castle, children’s giant inflatable slide, crazy golf, and more. Or the whole family could put their skills to the test at the 9-hole golf course set in the woodlands.
If you’re feeling peckish, grab a coffee and scone at the newly refurbished Callendar House Tearoom.
If history is your thing, Falkirk is the place for you. Steeped in heritage, from Kinneil House to Falkirk Steeple, and more. there's something for every history buff here. Take a look at all of the heritage attractions in the Falkirk area here.
On the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, you can soak up 10 miles of scenic, Scottish countryside views. Travellers can enjoy the on-train buffet where afternoon tea can be pre-booked on special dates. Or you can visit the on-site café which has now won Visit Scotland’s ‘Taste Our Best Award’ for using locally-sourced produce.
Check out their varied programme of special events for tiny tots up to avid train enthusiasts, including a Day Out With Thomas™, Murder on the Manuel Express, and more.
Keep the fun going at the Museum of Scottish Railways, Scotland’s largest railway museum. Climb aboard a Post Office Coach or try your hand at being a signalman.
Make some magic at The Lonely Broomstick and the School of Witchcraft & Potions
Visited by fans far and wide, The Lonely Broomstick has been voted best gift shop two years running and has been described by many as the most magical place in Scotland. If Harry Potter is your thing, a trip to Scotland wouldn't be complete without a visit and a taste of their famous buttery beer!
Are you a fan of the hit TV series Outlander? Did you know that scenes in the show were filmed here in Falkirk?! Take a look at the Film on Forth website which features itineraries to follow around the Falkirk and West Lothian areas, showcasing the filming locations of many well known series and films made in the areas; two of these itineraries are Outlander themed.
VisitScotland also have a 'Set in Scotland' film guide, with information on every big screen production set in Scotland!
If you're looking to stay out of the way of the city centre for a few nights, or want to extend your stay in Scotland, Falkirk has something for every taste and every pocket.