Highland cows are synonymous with Scotland. Their hairy faces adorn t-shirts and tea towels in every gift shop in Edinburgh, but where should you go to see a real “hielan coo” for yourself? They don’t just live in the Highlands, you’ll find these mighty beasts all over Scotland. Here’s our guide on where to find Highland cows in and around Edinburgh …
The Royal Highland Show
The Royal Highland Show is a 4-day agricultural show, which takes place at the Royal Highland Centre near Edinburgh Airport, every June. If you’re visiting Edinburgh during show dates, it’s an excellent place to see Highland cows. And not just any Highland cows, but the cream of the crop! This is where the finest of Scottish livestock is showcased. With hundreds of competitions, agricultural displays and exhibitions, activities, workshops and entertainment. It’s a great day out for all the family! Tickets available here.
Within the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, around a 20-minute drive from the city centre, Swanston Farm is a working farm with its own herd of Highland cattle. To see them, first head up to Swanston Brasserie, where the restaurant staff will give you a Highland cow leaflet and point you in the right direction. Visiting the farm is free and there are plenty of walking routes to enjoy. You may also eat in the brasserie, or take part in a range of outdoor activities.
Mortonhall Estate is a great place for country walks and cycle routes, just 20 minutes from the city centre. Paths are way-marked, and there is plenty of wildlife to see along the way. Look out for Highland cattle grazing in the fields. There are plenty of facilities on site, including The Stable Bar, which offers good pub food and drink.
Almond Valley Heritage Centre
In neighbouring town Livingston, half an hour from Edinburgh, Almond Valley Heritage Centre is a popular family day out. See friendly farm animals, such as Highland cows, sheep, goats, ducks and alpacas. Plus, enjoy lots of adventure play, attractions and activities for children. Simply purchase your tickets on arrival in the gift shop.
Beecraigs Animal Attraction
Around a 40-minute drive from Edinburgh, Beecraigs Animal Attraction inside Beecraigs Country Park has Highland cows, along with belted Galloways, red deer and Hebridean and North Ronaldsay sheep. Admission is free and they have a viewing shed, which allows closer viewing of the animals.
Smeaton Estate is in East Lothian, 45 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh. These picturesque grounds of an old mansion house are free to enter. The parkland and woodland area is home to lots of wildlife and animals, including Highland cows. There is also a walled nursery garden, tea rooms and garden centre to visit nearby.
Highland Cow Spotting in Edinburgh
So, book your Edinburgh accommodation and start your search for Highland cows! (Visit in spring for the best chance of seeing a wee baby coo!)