Linlithgow, Scotland - and Edinburgh

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The Star & Garter Hotel, in Linlithgow, where we stay for three nights, is well-rated and appears to be pretty much in the center of town, with a ScotRail station next door.  Waverley Station in center-city Edinburgh is 20 minutes away.  

Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots was born, is just across the street, surrounded by a sizeable Loch.  Here's a brief intro:

"Born in Linlithgow in 1542 and sent to France when she was aged five, Mary grew up there as a Catholic. Before his premature death, she married the French Dauphin.  Mary came back to Scotland in 1561 but spent less than a decade there.  She fled to England after the Scottish Protestant Lords rebelled against her, and was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth for nineteen years prior to her execution in 1587.  Exotic, beautiful, doomed, Catholic, and unlucky in love, Mary remains the most famous Scottish woman who ever lived." (from Scotland's Books, a History of Scottish Literature, by Robert Crawford, Oxford U. Press, 2009)          

Linlithgow Palace and Loch, see note      the Star & Garter Pub/Hotel the Palace
  Turner painting Mary, Queen of Scots  

note - In this Alamy image, the white building seen 'above' the old church tower is the Star & Garter Hotel/Pub.  To the left, across the street, is a Tesco grocery store, as well as a huge parking lot for rail commuters.  This suggests that we're staying in a small oasis surrounded by a commercial zone, with train sounds and somewhat constant human activity. 

But online comments from overnighters had little that was negative to relate, and a few times I read that the rooms are so quiet that even on weekend nights, when the Pub's a lot more active, you don't hear it.       


Waverly Station, in the center of Edinburgh as some guide books point out, is the only train station in the world named after a novelists' famous first novel.  Walter Scott's novel "Waverly" took the world by storm.  Eventually his 'Waverly Novels' became a collection of books, widely read.   

Just two blocks west of the Station is the well-known Scott Monument, showing a sculpture of Walter & his favorite dog, Maida, which as Rick Steves says, "looks like a Victorian space rocket, about to take off."  You can also climb up almost 300 steps to get a good view of the city and castle. 

This interesting City has its list of must-see places like Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle and there's a long list of secondary sights.   

We will have two full days to explore Edinburgh & Linlithgow.     

The images below are from Old Town Edinburgh.

Linlithgow station Waverly station Princes Street garden The Mound
  Wynds, alleys, sometimes narrow John Knox house the Royal Mile  
autumn rain the Castle St. Giles at sunset  Holyrood House
  Arthur's Seat in the distance view of City from Arthur's Seat  Edinburgh at night  
bagpipes at Waverly Station near Arthur's Seat Edinburgh winter sunrise    

We might walk to New Town, or to Dean Village.   

Old Town/New Town New Town Waters of  Leith at Dean Village  
  a small part of the 34 mile trail Georgian House travel author Rick Steves at Georgian House; see note  
Royal Botanical  Garden one of many 'climates' in glass houses      

note - after posting this I realized that by this point on our itinerary, we've seen enough grand interiors by the Adams brothers, so let's skip Georgian House. 

On our second day we might return to the City in the morning and use the afternoon to see local sights, such as Blackness Castle, The Kelpies, or the Firth of Forth bridges, all three within a short driving distance from Linlithgow. 

Blackness Castle The Kelpies   Firth of Forth Bridge

The Kelpies, by structural artist Andy Scott in 2014, at 85 and 98 feet high, are the largest publicly-funded art works in Scotland. 

They pay homage to Falkirk's industrial past. The heads are modeled on Clydesdales, the huge draft horses that hauled barges along canals before the advent of the railway. The Industrial Revolution, centered in Glasgow, relied on a large network of canals, the Caledonian Canal being the largest.  (all from Wikipedia)

At nearby South Queensferry, you can park under the Firth of Forth bridge and walk along the water to take photos of the historic rail bridge.  You can take a boat tour aimed at photographers who want to get late evening and sunset shots, and sunset comes early in mid-October.   

A guide book says there's a terrific seafood restaurant near the boating companies, with a bridge view. 

Seeing the Bridges from a boat late afternoon seems like a good idea to me and then we'd have an early dinner, leaving enough time to get organized & pack our bags, because the journey home begins the following morning.     

This is the end of the trip preview.     

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