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An easy day trip from Edinburgh, the counties of East, Mid- and West Lothian are a great escape to the country for those looking for a break from city life.

East Lothian runs along the coast east of Edinburgh and offers some good stretches of wide, sandy beach, world class golf courses and pleasant towns. Historic attractions include the atmospheric cliff-top ruins of Tantallon Castle, the remains of thirteenth century Dirleton Castle, the beautiful pre-reformation church of St Mary’s in Haddington and the stately homes of Newhailes House and Lennoxlove House.

Hilly Mid-Lothian, directly south of Edinburgh, is home to the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel, considered by many to be Scotland’s finest church. Its popularity has grown in recent years due to its role in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and the subsequent Hollywood film. Mid-Lothian also offers some good walking in the gentle Pentland Hills, which run down its western side. For relatively little effort, you can get wonderful views over the surrounding country.

Although West Lothian has a less rural feel than its neighbours, it is home to some excellent historic attractions which make it worth the trip: Sitting on the edge of Linlithgow Loch, the romantic ruins of fifteenth century Linlithgow Palace make a beautiful scene; one of Scotland’s most impressive stately homes, Hopetoun House, can be found on the banks of the Firth of Forth; and within the Firth itself, the tiny island of Inchcolm is home to one of Scotland’s most well-preserved medieval abbeys.

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