This post is part of a paid partnership to explore Dunfermline and West Fife, and write about my experience.
For anyone interested in Scottish history, I recommend a visit to Dunfermline. It is the burial place of arguably Scotland's most famous king, Robert the Bruce, who rests among six other Scottish kings and two queens. This fact alone should give you a clue that Dunfermline was once a pretty important place. Its status as an ancient capital of Scotland and a historic seat of power might also convince you that it needs to be on your Scotland itinerary.
Approx 30 minutes from Edinburgh and an hour from Glasgow makes it an easy destination to reach from either city. You could just visit for the day as the town centre is easily walkable but it would be a shame to miss out on some of its neighbouring West Fife gems, including the charming village of Culross which has become famous as an Outlander filming location over recent years.
I recently spent 2 days exploring the area taking in historic attractions and pretty coastal villages. I have shared my itinerary below and I think it provides a great taster for a part of the country that often flies under the visitor radar despite having loads to offer and many interesting stories to tell.
For example, did you know that Andrew Carnegie, once the world's richest man was born here? You can even visit the family cottage he spent the first years of his life in. Just one of the places I've covered in my suggested 2 day itinerary below.
DAY 1 - DUNFERMLINE
STOP 1 - WELCOME WALK AROUND THE HERITAGE QUARTER
The main historic attractions in Dunfermline are located in the Heritage Quarter, a compact area that is easily walkable. You could just dive right in and start exploring it by yourself but I decided to join one of the free Welcome Walks, led by Marcus, one of the volunteer town ambassadors.
The tour was a brilliant introduction to some of Dunfermline's history and Marcus covered stories that I wouldn't have found out about otherwise. It also gave me a better appreciation of the sites I planned to visit later that day and a few pointers of things to look out for.
I think it is brilliant that passionate locals give up their time to welcome visitors and tell them about the town. It also gave me the opportunity to ask for some for expert tips and recommendations - a great way to discover hidden gems!
The walk is easy going and lasts 45 minutes, at the moment they only run on Wednesday mornings. Although they are free, you can donate at some of the visitor attractions if you want to leave a contribution and as I always advocate giving more than you take when you visit a place, this is one way you can do that in Dunfermline.
On a recent short break in the Falkirk area I was impressed by the many places I visited that welcomed dogs. I didn't have my own furry adventure buddy with me on this particular trip but I did think it would be a destination that I could take her to in the future and not feel like I was having to compromise on too many things that I wanted to see and do.
As a dog owner myself, I know how frustrating and time-consuming it can be having to research dog friendly options when I'm visiting somewhere so I thought it would be helpful if I put together this guide to the places that I came across that welcome dogs in the Falkirk area.
I'm sure there will be other options out there that I have missed and if you are a dog friendly business or know of a business that is definitely dog friendly in the Falkirk area, do drop me an e-mail and I'll add it to the list.
For those with furbabies, I hope you find this blog post helpful.
DOG FRIENDLY WALKS IN AND AROUND FALKIRK
From town parks to country estates and canal side strolls, there is a huge variety of walks around Falkirk where furry members of the family can enjoy a good leg stretch. It might surprise you to discover that Falkirk has been crowned Britain's best walking neighbourhood.
There are 383 miles of signposted and well-maintained paths so it would take me a while to list all the walking options but here are a few of my top picks with nice walking trails.
DOG FRIENDLY PLACES TO EAT & DRINK IN AND AROUND FALKIRK
I don't know about you but I don't really class places that make you sit outside as dog friendly, I mean, realistically, how often is the weather nice enough to dine al fresco in Scotland?!
From personal experience and feedback from other dog owners, the following places all allow your dog to join you inside for a drink or a meal so you will be made to feel welcome come rain or shine. Some even keep treats and water bowls for four-legged visitors which we all know is a way of bribing your dog to bring their owners back again!
DOG FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS IN AND AROUND FALKIRK
It is always good to be able to add a bit of sightseeing when you're travelling with your dog and Falkirk has a few great options, including its most famous sites!
When I'm in Edinburgh I find the quiet grandeur of the Georgian streets of the New Town an ideal antidote to the hustle and bustle of the Old Town which can start to feel a bit claustrophobic and overwhelming after a while.
If I'm staying in the city, this is the location I prefer to base myself as it is still handy for the main tourist attractions but offers a more local and sedate feel. When I was invited to review 34A Abercromby Street I was keen to check it out as it provides an authentic New Town experience being located in one of the beautiful Georgian terraces.
The apartment is part of The Royal Scots Club which is just a couple of doors along. Founded in 1919 as a tribute to those who fell in The Great War, it also has 27 luxury en-suite rooms in the main building which is run as both a private club and hotel.
Guests renting the apartment can book a table at the restaurant in the main building for a meal if you prefer not to self-cater. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions during my visit, it wasn't yet open for meals but it would be a nice treat if you fancy a night off from cooking.
I'm always looking for quality Scottish accommodation options that I can recommend to my readers and include in my itinerary planning services. This is especially true for Edinburgh as it is such a popular city and I get asked for recommendations frequently.
It is also important to me that I have personal experience of the places I suggest and I'm really pleased to add 34A Abercromby Place to my list of top places to stay in Edinburgh. It is ideally situated for throwing yourself into everything Scotland's capital has to offer but provides an oasis of calm and luxury when you are ready to retreat from the crowds. It really does offer the best of both worlds which I've often struggled to find in the city centre.
This post is part of a paid partnership with Visit Falkirk who invited me to explore the region and write about my experience.
If, like me, you are a bit guilty of only gravitating towards The Kelpies or The Falkirk Wheel on trips to the Falkirk area, you are missing out on much of the fascinating history and outdoor activities that the region has to offer.
Recently I spent 2 days expanding my horizons and explorations to include the historic heart of the town and the surrounding green spaces. I made many surprising discoveries along the way and my perception of Falkirk has drastically changed. For example, did you know that Falkirk won Britain's best walking neighbourhood award, partly due to having 383 miles of well-maintained and signposted paths? The number of walking and cycling options definitely came as a surprise to me.
Less than an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh, it makes an ideal day trip from either city, although after reading this blog post I hope you might be inspired to spend a bit longer there. However, if you do only have one day, I've put together an itinerary that covers the best of Falkirk imho!
If you are planning a trip with your furry companion, you might want to check out my guide listing dog friendly things to do in Falkirk.
Here are my recommended things to do if you only have 1 day to explore Falkirk
STOP 1 - CALLENDAR HOUSE AND PARK
This is a superb starting point for any trip to the area as it reveals Falkirk's many historical layers and gives you a deeper appreciation of the places you will visit later in the day.
The exhibition at Callendar House was much bigger than I anticipated and I had only set an hour aside which is enough if you don't spend too long in each room, but if you have the time, you might want to add on another 30 minutes.
From medieval beginnings to Roman invasion and industrial expansion, every significant period of local history has a dedicated space - and the best thing? It is free to visit which is brilliant as it is a real gem. It feels more like a museum and there is lots and lots to see!
The exhibition is located inside Callendar House, a 14th century mansion house set in beautiful parkland. As you follow the displays, you also pass through the Georgian kitchen which might be familiar to Outlander fans as it was used as the Duke of Sandringham's House in Season 2.
Outlander Fan? Then you might also want to check out these local filming locations -
Visit the Film on Forth website for more film and TV locations in the area
When I absorbed as much history as I could handle, I grabbed a takeaway coffee from the shop and followed one of the paths around the park which gave me a nice morning boost before my next stop.
Discover more - In the park you will also find ornamental gardens, a small loch, a family mausoleum and sections of the Antonine Wall.
STOP 2 - FALKIRK TOWN CENTRE HERITAGE TRAIL
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