Small Towns and Villages to Visit near Edinburgh

Planning a day trip from Edinburgh?

Our historic Scottish capital Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Bustling streets, historic attractions, magnificent theatres, and diverse shops attract millions of visitors every year. But, if you fancy a taste of the city and a visit to some charming villages near Edinburgh too, why not base yourself at Parliament House Hotel? Here, you can enjoy central Edinburgh accommodation, allowing you to venture off to explore some picturesque towns and villages nearby.

Beautiful villages near Edinburgh

There are many delightful villages near Edinburgh, rich in history and heritage. And some of these are found within a few miles of the city. Perfect for day trips from Edinburgh.


Situated just seven miles south of Edinburgh, the village of Roslin is famous for its Rosslyn Chapel, which featured in the Da Vinci Code book. The stunning Gothic-style building features pinnacles, gargoyles, and flying buttresses, and has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. In Roslin, you’ll also find the Roslin Institute, where the world’s first sheep was cloned. Dolly, who was created in 1997, sadly died in 2003, but not before producing six gorgeous lambs.

Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh


Dirleton is a small village around 45-minute’s drive north east of Edinburgh, most notable for the romantic ruins of Dirleton Castle. Located on the magnificent East Lothian coastline, it is also close to beautiful beaches such as Gullane and Yellowcraigs. Making for a fantastic day trip from Edinburgh.

The ruins of Dirleton Castle on a sunny day in East Lothian


Head just over an hour north of Edinburgh to the seaside village of Pittenweem. Home to a bustling working harbour, where you can watch the fishing boats go about their day, this village is a must-see. Here, you can buy delicious fresh catch of the day at the daily fish market. Whilst strolling around the streets, you’ll see houses boasting traditional Fife design with red pantile and grey-slate roofs. You can also visit the nearby historic Balcaskie House and Kellie Castle.

Pittenweem Harbour in Scotland


In Culross, 45 minutes north west of Edinburgh, you’ll find cobbled streets and unique red-tile-roofed 17th and 18th century buildings. And, you might recognise the picturesque village from the US TV series Outlander. Here, you can also stroll around the grounds of the beautiful Culross Palace and its period gardens. Full of charm and history, Culross is one of the finest Scottish villages to visit.

Row of houses in Culross Scotland

Charming small towns

When planning short trips from Edinburgh, you’ll find plenty of idyllic small towns that are just perfect and not too far away. Whether you fancy a trip to the coast or the countryside, you can visit these towns by car, train or bus from Edinburgh.

South Queensferry

South Queensferry is a small town, around half-an-hour’s drive from Edinburgh. Easy to reach by car or bus from the city centre. This is where you’ll find the iconic Forth Bridges, which stretch across the Firth of Forth, over to Fife. A great place to visit for boat trips, where you can take in views of the bridges and see some of the magnificent local wildlife. There are also plenty of independent shops, places to eat and local attractions to enjoy.

View of the Forth Rail Bridge from South Queensferry


The town of Peebles is 45 minutes south of Edinburgh in the Scottish Borders. Here, you can enjoy long walks along the River Tweed, or visit ancient monuments and sites like the Mercat Cross and the Cross Kirk. The town is also home to John Buchan, the Scottish author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. Or, go fishing in the river, hiking or mountain biking in the Glentress Forest, or visit the towns art galleries and craft studios.

Panorama of Peebles with the river Tweed in Scottish borders, Scotland


Head 40 minutes west of Edinburgh to Linlithgow, which is famous for its 15th century palace and the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. In this pretty town, you can spot wildlife on the Linlithgow Loch, or take a tranquil boat trip along the Union Canal.

Linlithgow Palace across the water

North Berwick

Stop off at North Berwick, a seaside town just half an hour by train from Edinburgh. Here, you’ll find plenty to see and do, from bird-watching to exploring castles. Play golf at the North Berwick, Glen, or Muirfield courses, or take a boat trip around the local islands. Then, wander around the town’s eclectic shops, cafes and bars, or sink your toes into the soft sand on the beach.

Seaside town of North Berwick in Scotland

So, why not visit the small towns and villages near Edinburgh during your stay at Parliament House Hotel? Combine your city break with a tour of some of Scotland’s most beautiful places, and discover beautiful scenery, friendly locals, and historic attractions. Check out more places to visit here