A stone’s throw out of Edinburgh sits Bathgate – an excellent holiday destination that is hidden within West Lothian, Scotland. Bathgate has a unique history and exemplary attractions, with even more to do within Bathgate’s town centre.
Bathgate, whose name comes from the Gaelic ‘boar wood’, has a splendid past to explore; Robert the Bruce gave his daughter Marjorie a castle in Bathgate when she married Walter, the High Steward of Scotland. Bathgate’s history then transitions to a notable industrial town with the Glenmavis Distillery and Bathgate Chemical Works, as well as oil refinery and coal mining.
If you’re planning to visit Bathgate and other nearby towns, don’t miss out on what this commuter town in West Lothian offers!
Things to Do in Bathgate
The town of Bathgate is undoubtedly one of West Lothian’s jewels and has the attractions to back up this lofty title.
Whether you’re planning to stay a while in Bathgate or just want to see one of the well-known cross-over towns, you won’t be disappointed in what it has to offer. Bathgate allows visitors to experience a wide breadth and width of hot spots like exploring the summit of Cairnpapple, learning at the fascinating Bennie Museum, or even meeting birds of prey at the Scottish Owl Centre.
But before you book a plane ticket to Edinburgh and visit one of the largest villages in west Lothian, see our guide for the top things to do in Bathgate.
This attraction is an incredible place to visit if you’re a lover of the outdoors.
Not only does the hill treat you to stunning views of West Lothian, but you’ll also have the opportunity to see historical monuments from centuries past! Cairpapple has a henge dating back to 3800 BC, as well as a Bronze Age burial site.
Muiravonside Country Park
Spanning 170 acres, Muiravonside Country Park is open year-round and hosts quality entertainment and activities suitable for all ages.
The Country Park is gorgeous and treats visitors to panoramic views of its river gorge and surrounding landscapes. Best of all is the opportunity to meet Muiravonside’s farmyard animals, including several horses, Highland cattle, goats, llamas, and much more!
One of the first places you should come and see while in Bathgate is the Bennie Museum.
This proud museum has been in Bathgate for over 30 years and details the town’s fascinating history and its notable residents. Learn from engaging volunteers about the beautiful Bathgate Hills, the sponsorship of Bathgate Academy, and the industrial past of the village.
Want to reach the capital of the country in style? Hop aboard the Union Canal to reach Edinburgh!
This shortcut through the country is a picturesque way to travel or stop for a picnic if you want to spend a little bit more time in Bathgate. There are plenty of other activities you can enjoy at the Union Canal, like paddling, boating, fishing, and cycling.
The verdant Ravencraig Woods are breathtaking; there’s no other way to put it.
Situated about 2 miles outside of Bathgate and managed by the West Lothian Council, these woods are the home of many of Scotland’s native wildlife. As you navigate the serene walking trails, you’re bound to hear chirping birds, croaking toads, and the movement of small mammals in the underbrush.
Balbardie Park of Peace
The Balbardie Park of Peace, just up the road from Balbardie Primary School, is a perfect place to gain peace of mind after a long day exploring West Lothian.
The Park of Peace is packed with activities and facilities to undertake, including a golf course, a ‘footie’ pitch, BMX track, and the ‘Peace Mile’ walk that takes you around the length of the path.
Kids will thoroughly enjoy some time at the adventure park – perfect for a wind-down Saturday afternoon.
Just north of Bathgate sits the luxurious Linlithgow Palace, created by King James I as a ‘pleasure palace’ for travelling nobility and a wondrous attraction to explore today.
Even in its ruined state, walking through the gates of this palace strikes visitors with awe. A trip here will be equally fascinating and engaging, with many signs and a spectacular view of the nearby loch.
Scottish Owl Centre
The Scottish Owl Centre prides itself on being the largest collection of owls in the world!
There are over 140 owls at the Scottish Owl Centre, and a trip here will open up a world of experiences with these unique creatures. You can come face to face with owls, learn about their conservation efforts, and watch feeding shows with the centre’s staff.
The Almond Valley is a lovely place on either side of the beautiful Almond River that guarantees adventure and fun!
The Almond Valley is a farmyard paradise and offers visitors an excellent way to pass the afternoon picnicking, enjoy the animals, and indulge in unique activities like indoor play centres and woodland play sets.
Eliburn Park is a superb place if you want a place to enjoy an afternoon, walk your dogs, and even go fishing!
After a long day exploring West Lothian, Eliburn Park is a prime spot to bring the family, with gorgeous views of Bathgate and the surrounding area. The park has three football pitches, a kick pitch, and an extensive walking path.
Bathgate Golf Club
In the heart of Bathgate is a dream golf course that will delight players of all handicaps.
The golf course is a James Braid design, which means you’ll enjoy your time here as you navigate the ups and downs of the course. And after a bout of golf, the Bathgate Golf Club is renowned for its delicious food at reasonable prices.
Five Sisters Zoo
The expansive Five Sisters Zoo is home to over 196 species of animals, perfect for a family visit at any time during the year!
Bears, meerkats, otters, wildcats and many more are yours to see while you explore the bountiful grounds of this zoo. The zoo is well-maintained and allows visitors to interact with certain animal ambassadors during the zoo’s shows.
Hop aboard the Bathgate Railway Line
Want to arrive in Bathgate the scenic way? The railway station in Bathgate is an elegant way to travel.
Suppose you want to head deeper into West Lothian or want a calmer way to experience the area’s beautiful surroundings. In that case, the Bathgate Railway Line is your best bet to enjoy Scottish Highlands.
If you want to see the beautiful wildflowers of West Lothian, then make sure to see the verdant Hermand Birchwood between April and July.
The variety of ecology and biomes in Hermand Birchwood is outstanding, with blaeberry, heather, and broad buckler ferns abundant in the woodlands. There’s a circular path that leads from the car park around the gorgeous heathland for you to enjoy.
On the outskirts of Edinburgh and east of Bathgate sits Jupiter Artland, a premier art gallery with profound exhibits.
If you’re looking for a magical day out, look no further than Jupiter Artland. There’s a mix of beautiful gardens, landscaping, and plenty of art installations to peruse and see. The exhibits are constantly rotating and changing, meaning that the gallery will be unique and different every time you pop by.
Explore Bathgate Town Centre
Within Bathgate lies numerous hidden gems and exciting activities.
In places like Jarvey Street, you can enjoy many clubs, restaurants, and more places of interest for a night out. Suppose you’re just looking to stock up on amenities before seeing what else to discover in West Lothian. In that case, you can find ample convenience shops, services, and refilling locations all over town.
Entertain your Kids at The Hive
Looking for a place to bring the kids to Bathgate? The Hive is an exemplary soft play centre that is buzzing with activity.
The Hive is perfect for children aged 1 – 12 and provides them with a hive full of things to do. Your child can tackle climbing the soft play bee tube and slide down to the secret beehive – what fun!
Reconnect Regal Theatre
There’s no better place to indulge in the arts in Bathgate than at the Reconnect Regal Theatre. This fantastic theatre and community centre is home to a diverse variety of comedies, workshops, and events.
Indulge in grand retellings of classic stories like ‘Murder on the Improvised Express’, as well as musical performances by some of Scotland’s finest. There’s no better way to treat yourself to a night out than seeing a performance at this regal theatre.
Other Things To Do in Edinburgh & The Lothians
- Things to do in Edinburgh
- Things to do in Haddington
- Things to do in Linlithgow
- Things to do in Livingston
- Things to do in North Berwick
- Things to do in South Queensferry