Edinburgh is small enough that, when you need a break from the city, the beautiful countryside that surrounds it is right on your doorstep – and easily accessible by public transport, even by bike. The old counties around Edinburgh are called West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian, often referred to collectively as the Lothians. From royal births to bloody battles, they've played a rich part in Scottish history, and you'll see it writ large in some of the most impressive castles, churches and country houses in the land.
The region's landscapes make a fitting backdrop – a patchwork of rolling farmland, ancient forests and golden beaches (as well as industrialised pockets) bordered by the majestic Firth of Forth. Whether setting off to windswept islands under the iconic Forth bridges, following rivers through ancient woodland or wildlife spotting on the beautiful East Lothian coast, adventure awaits.