Image: ©David Gilmor
A stone's throw from the Falkirk Wheel is Helix Park, home to the Kelpies: two monumental sculptures depicting the heads of mythical water horses, each nearly 100 feet high, built of steel. They are enormous, glittering, utterly magnificent and new – only open to the public since spring 2014.
Photo by Amateur photography by michel, via Flickr
Image: ©Paisley Scotland
Image: ©Hamish Irvine
Image: ©David Gilmour
It may be a bit cheeky to describe this range of hills as outside Edinburgh given that a chunk of it sits well within the city boundary. All the same, the Pentlands stretch over 30km away to the south west of the Scottish capital with a number of tops over 500 metres – the area was designated the Pentlands Regional Park back in 1984. Among the hills you find an artificial ski slope at Hillend (the Midlothian Snowsports Centre), farms, lochs, a military training zone that has live firing exercises, minor wreckage from a Luftwaffe bomber that crashed in 1943 and no end of paths to walk. There are two information centres: Flotterstone by the Flotterstone Inn, off the A702 around 5km south of the Edinburgh bypass; Harlaw House by Harlaw Reservoir near Balerno. The gentle way to experience the Pentlands would be to drive or catch a First bus from the city centre to Flotterstone, walk 1.5km up the minor road to the picturesque Glencorse Reservoir, take in the view, then walk back the way you came, stopping for a drink and some pub grub at the Flotterstone Inn before heading back to the city. The more adventurous might also want to start at Flotterstone but do a circular walk of 18km taking in some of the hills, including Scald Law, the Pentlands' highest peak at 579 metres. The usual safety caveats apply: walking in the Scottish hills can be arduous and dangerous. Do not attempt it unless you're reasonably fit, properly kitted out and know what you're doing.
Scotland’s biggest city has such drawing power that there is an entire Time Out website dedicated to its top attractions, bars, events, nightlife and restaurants. Trains from the capital take around 50 minutes, on average, and run regularly – the last one back departs at 11.30pm daily. You can spend the whole day ‘doing Glasgow’ and still make it home for your Edinburgh bedtime.
Photo by Robert Brown, via Flickr