Dalkeith Travel Guide

Discover the hidden gems of Dalkeith with this comprehensive travel guide, including a list of places to visit, hiking/biking routes, best things to do, food and drink scene, local culture and customs, safety tips, transportation options, and nearby destinations to explore.

Introduction to Dalkeith

Nestled in the stunning Lothians, in the heart of Scotland, Dalkeith is a charming town that boasts a rich history dating back to the Iron Ages. With its scenic countryside, lush parks and gardens, and a variety of cultural and natural attractions, Dalkeith is a perfect destination for travellers who want to explore the beauty and heritage of Scotland’s Central Belt.

List of Places to Visit in Dalkeith

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Dalkeith Palace and Country Park: This 16th-century palace is a must-visit attraction for history buffs. The palace features stunning architecture, impressive artworks, and a 1,000-acre park that offers a perfect setting for a relaxing walk.
  • Dalkeith Museum: This museum chronicles the history of Dalkeith, from ancient times to the present day. It has an extensive collection of artefacts, photographs, and documents that preserve the town’s rich cultural and social heritage.

Natural Attractions of Dalkeith: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • The River Esk: Take a stroll beside this picturesque river, which flows through the heart of Dalkeith. Enjoy the scenic views and watch the wildlife and birds that call the river their home.
  • Butterfly and Insect World: Located in the outskirts of the town, this attraction is a must-visit for families with kids. With over 1,000 butterflies and insects, it provides a fun and informative day out for all ages.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Dalkeith

Dalkeith offers excellent opportunities for hiking and biking enthusiasts to explore its stunning countryside and scenic views. Some of the popular routes include:

  • The Dalkeith Country Park Trail: This challenging trail takes you through the Dalkeith Country Park, featuring stunning views of the River Esk, woodlands, and wildlife.
  • The Bonnyrigg Park and River Trail: This gentle trail follows the River South Esk, leading you through the lovely Bonnyrigg Park and providing an excellent opportunity to appreciate Scotland’s natural beauty.

Best Things to Do in Dalkeith: Activities and Tours

  • Dalkeith Farmers Market: Held every second Saturday of the month, this market boasts a variety of fresh, locally sourced produce, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and baked goods.
  • Dalkeith Community Campus: This centre offers a range of activities, including fitness classes, sports facilities, music classes, and a cinema.

Week-Long Itinerary for Dalkeith

Day 1: Visit the Dalkeith Palace and Country Park and enjoy a leisurely walk through the stunning gardens. Day 2: Go on a wildlife spotting adventure on the River Esk. Day 3: Explore the town’s culture at the Dalkeith Museum. Day 4: Take a strenuous hike through the Dalkeith Country Park Trail. Day 5: Learn about local food at the Dalkeith Farmers Market. Day 6: Visit the Butterfly and Insect World. Day 7: Enjoy the facilities at the Dalkeith Community Centre, including fitness classes and the cinema.

Food and Drink Scene of Dalkeith

Must-Try Dishes

  • Cullen Skink: A hearty, creamy soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream.
  • Haggis: Scotland’s national dish, made of seasoned sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, mixed with onions, oatmeal, and spices, then boiled in a sheep’s stomach.

Local Beverages

  • Whisky: Scotland is famous for its malt whiskies, and Dalkeith offers many options to explore, including the Glenkinchie distillery.
  • Ale: Enjoy a pint of locally brewed ale at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel, a historic pub that dates back to the 19th century.

Where to Stay in Dalkeith: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • The Dalhousie Castle Hotel: Located in a serene countryside setting, this luxurious hotel offers superior amenities, including a spa, a gourmet restaurant, and a whiskey snug.
  • The Sun Inn: This charming and quaint inn offers cosy rooms, comfortable beds, and a warm Scottish welcome.

What to Buy in Dalkeith: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Heather Honey: This delicate honey is made from the nectar of heather flowers, and it has a unique flavour that is synonymous with Scotland.
  • Tartan: A woolen cloth that features a colourful, checkered pattern that is unique to Scottish clans and families.
  • Whisky: A bottle of Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the perfect souvenir to bring home from your visit to Dalkeith.

Local Culture and Customs of Dalkeith

The people of Dalkeith are proud of their Scottish heritage and observe many customs and traditions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Respect the Tartan: Scottish clans and families are identified by their tartan, and it’s essential to wear it with respect and honour.
  • The Highland Games: These games are a traditional way to celebrate Scottish culture and heritage, featuring events such as the caber toss, tug-of-war, and the hammer throw.
  • The Ceilidh: A traditional Scottish dance that brings together people of all ages to enjoy traditional music, dance, and food.

Best Time to Visit Dalkeith

The best time to visit Dalkeith is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warm and the countryside is in full bloom. However, Dalkeith’s charm extends throughout the year, with its stunning autumn colours and winter wonderland, making it a great destination to visit in all seasons.

Do’s and Don’ts of Dalkeith


  • Respect the wildlife and natural habitat
  • Learn about the local customs and observe them respectfully
  • Enjoy the local food and drink


  • Litter or damage the natural environment
  • Disrespect the local culture and customs
  • Wander off the beaten tracks in natural areas

Safety and Health

Safety in Dalkeith

Dalkeith is a relatively safe town, with low crime rates. However, it’s important to take reasonable precautions to stay safe, such as:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Avoid walking alone at night
  • Take care when hiking or biking in the countryside

Health in Dalkeith

Dalkeith has reliable healthcare facilities, including pharmacies, medical clinics, and hospitals. Travellers are advised to have comprehensive medical insurance before visiting the town.

Getting to Dalkeith: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Dalkeith

The nearest airport to Dalkeith is Edinburgh Airport, which is located approximately 13 miles away from the town centre. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Dalkeith.

Bus Stations Near Dalkeith

The Dalkeith bus station is located in the town centre and offers frequent bus services to Edinburgh and nearby towns and villages.

Other Options

Travellers can also opt for car rentals, bike rentals, or private taxis to explore Dalkeith and the surrounding areas.

How to Get Around in Dalkeith

Dalkeith is a small town that can be easily explored on foot or by bike. However, there are also local bus services, taxis, and car rentals available for travellers.

Where to Go Next from Dalkeith: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Edinburgh: The Scottish capital is a bustling city that boasts stunning architecture, cultural attractions, and a vibrant nightlife.
  • Rosslyn Chapel: A medieval chapel renowned for its Gothic architecture and its link to the Knights Templar.
  • Scottish Borders: A scenic region known for its rich history, beautiful countryside, and renowned literary figures.


With its rich history, stunning countryside, and a variety of cultural and natural attractions, Dalkeith is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a history buff, or a food enthusiast, this charming town in the heart of Scotland’s Lothians will provide you with a memorable travel experience that you’ll cherish forever.