Not far from Edinburgh you'll find Dalkeith Country Park, the perfect place to enjoy nature not far from the city. This 1,000 acre park is home to beautiful scenery, woodland, a children's play area, cafe, shop, and the magnificent Dalkeith Palace.
Dalkeith Palace can be traced back to Roman times, but for the last 300 years has been under the ownership of the Buccleuch family. Last used by the family during World War 1, the palace has since been used by the University of Wisconsin since 1986 for a study abroad project, so unfortunately, you can't go inside, but seeing the outside is definitely worth it!
Heading further into the grounds, you'll get to the Restoration Yard which boasts a cafe, shop and wellbeing lab. As suggested by the name, this space is a restored old building and a lovely place to sit out and enjoy a coffee and a cake. The wellbeing lab runs a varied programme, including activities such as yoga to mother and baby workshops.There are lots of upcoming events which you can check out by clicking here. The cafe serves up fresh food using local ingredients where possible, and look through the window and you can spot the cafe's own herb garden. If you're just looking for a drink there is also a self-service coffee bar which serves up coffees, teas and cakes, attached to a large shop filled with beautiful interiors, toys, and bits and bobs.
Handily next door to the Restoration Yard you'll find Fort Douglas, an impressive children's playground. Filled with tunnels, forts, swings, slides, dens, treehouses, roundabouts, and an area for toddlers. Set in the backdrop of the beautiful park over the River Esk, this is the perfect place for your kids to play whilst you enjoy a drink at the Restoration Yard.
Dalkeith Country Park
There are several walking routes you can take around the park, which are all different lengths. From a short hour-long walk to longer ones, there are maps that can guide you as well as a PDF version available to download online. If you're lucky, you'll spot a variety of wildlife that call the park home, from roe deers, otters, buzzards, foxes, hares and rabbits, keep your eyes peeled!
As well as walking, you can get active by cycling along the scenic 6km cycle route, or by trying your hand at archery in the Park's ten lane archery range, and at the weekends you can even try out zorbing. If you're looking to learn something new, the Park offers monthly courses on Bushcraft and Survival which will take you back to basics and teach you valuable survival skills.
So, if you're looking to escape the city but not stray too far, Dalkeith Country Park is the perfect day out. It's easily accessible by car and is about a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh. If you're using public transport from Edinburgh, you can take the number 3, 33, or 49 busses and then walk for roughly 5 minutes. Alternatively, hop on the train to Dalkeith's Eskbank Station or Westfield Park and then walk for around 25 minutes.