1000 acres of nature on Edinburgh’s doorstep
Not far from Edinburgh you’ll find Dalkeith Country Park, the perfect place to enjoy a spot of nature without straying too far from the city.
This 1,000 acre park is home to beautiful scenery, woodland, a children’s play area, cafes, choice of shops and the magnificent Dalkeith Palace.
By car, the Park is easily accessible – only a 30 minute drive from the city centre. It is possible to get there without a car, however. The number 3, 33 and 49 buses will get you within a 10 minute walk of the park. Alternatively, hop on the train to Dalkeith’s Eskbank Station or Westfield Park and then walk for around 25 minutes. The number 33, 49, 52 or 3 busses will get you within a 10 minute walk away.
First things first, check out the magnificent Dalkeith Palace. The Palace can be traced back to Roman times, but for the last 300 years has been under the ownership of the Buccleuch family. Last used by the family during World War 1, the palace has since been used by the University of Wisconsin since 1986 for a study abroad project, so unfortunately, you can’t go inside. But, walking around and admiring the exterior and grounds is something in itself.
Head further into the grounds and you’ll get to the Restoration Yard which boasts a selection of cafes, shops and even a wellbeing lab. The wellbeing lab runs a varied programme, from yoga to mother and baby workshops. There are always loads of fun events on which you can check out here.
With the Yard’s selection of cafes, food halls and coffee bars you’re spoilt for choice. All of which serve up tasty, fresh food using locally sourced ingredients, as well a a selection of drinks, cakes and snacks.
If all that sipping and snacking has got you in the mood for a spot of shopping make sure you check out the Restoration Yard’s fabulous shop stocked with treasures and treats. From fashion, homeware, kids to beauty.
Situated handily next to the Restoration Yard you’ll find Fort Douglas, an impressive children’s playground that the kids will love.
Jam packed with tunnels, forts, swings, slides, dens, treehouses, roundabouts, and an area for toddlers, you won’t need to worry about the kids getting bored! You might even get a second to enjoy a drink at the Restoration Yard in peace!
There are several walking routes around the Park, all varying lengths. You’ll find maps and signs scattered around the Park to help guide you, whether you feel like an hour-long stroll or something a bit longer.
Whichever route you decide to take, you’re guaranteed a beautiful walk through in a stunning landscape.
If you’re lucky you might spot some of the wildlife that calls the Park home – from rose, deers, otters, buzzards, foxes, hares to rabbits. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled!
Looking to get a little more active? Why not enjoy a cycle along the scenic 6km cycle route, or try your hand at archery in the Park’s ten lane archery range? At the weekends you can even try zorbing! Yep, we’re curious too.
The Park puts on monthly courses, so if you’re looking to pick up a new skill how about taking on Bushcraft and Survival which will take you back to basics and teach you invaluable survival skills. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Dalkeith Country Park is the perfect day. A happy compromise between getting back to nature but not wandering too far from the city.
For more weekend guides make sure you check out our other blog posts.