10 miles,
16 km
Average time to complete:
2 hours
Route type:
Total elevation:
157 metres


Setting off from the historic town of Linlithgow, historically the county town of West Lothian, this loop route gives a true insight into the area’s rich history.

Beginning close to Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of James V and Mary, Queen of Scots, the route heads east along the Union Canal, before turning northwards towards the village of Blackness on the banks of the Firth of Forth, passing House of the Binns on the way.

Explore the long and bloody history of Blackness Castle, which dates back to the 15th Century, before riding the gentle, uphill roads back to Linlithgow.


The initial section is flat, following the Union Canal towpath. There are some hills to negotiate, particularly at the coast. Surfaces are tarmac roads and unsealed towpath, so a bike with reasonably wide tyres is recommended.

Much of this route follows minor roads and canal towpath. However, if you plan to do this with a young family, be aware that there are some short sections on main roads and some major road crossings to navigate.

Getting There

BY RAIL: Linlithgow sits on the Edinburgh-Glasgow train line.

BY BUS: the X38 bus service links Linlithgow and Edinburgh.

BY CAR: parking is available in Linlithgow beside the Burgh Halls and some free spaces are available beside the loch. Avoid starting this route in Blackness as parking and congestion can be an issue there.


Set aside some time to explore this route’s historical places, which include Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle and House of the Binns. There are plenty of options for refreshments along the way in Linlithgow, Blackness and on route to the Union Canal near Philipstoun.

For a full listing of businesses and attractions on this route, view it on the Plan Your Trip page.

Points of interest

Blackness Castle

This imposing 15th century castle has hosted garrisons, prisoners and more recently many a film crew. Climb the towers for fantastic views of the Forth. Please note parking in the castle car park and external grounds is limited to paying customers only.
Open 10am-4pm daily

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Linlithgow Palace and Loch

Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Its magnificent ruins are set in a park beside a loch which is rich in wildlife.
Open daily 10am-4pm

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House of the Binns

Home of the Dalyell family since 1612, this house reveals their lives and interests through the centuries. The Estate is open all year but the House is open from 1st June-30th September.

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Linlithgow Museum

Home to a restored statue of Mary Queen of Scots plus interactive exhibitions for all ages, the museum is open 6 days a week.

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Linlithgow Canal Centre

Canal Cruises to Avon Aqueduct, Linlithgow Boat Trips, Tearoom, Canal Museum, Charters and Self-Drive Canal Boat Hire. Open from Easter until the end of September.

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