Day trip from Edinburgh: Dalhousie Castle in Bonnyrigg

Don’t miss your chance to fly a falcon and stay in a real Scottish castle.

Scotland is a magical place. If you have the chance to visit, why not stay a night in a genuine castle and take a break from your sightseeing?

Situated in a small town within an hour of Edinburgh, Dalhousie Castle is a full service hotel with unique rooms and suites plus a spa with a pool and two restaurants on site. You’ll feel like you’re in an episode of Outlander when you arrive on the castle grounds.

Explore the castle’s many nooks and crannies to discover lounges, libraries, and hidden sitting areas with views of the castle grounds. Some of its quirkier activities include archery and falconry as well.

Day trip to Dalhousie

Here’s what your relaxing day at Dalhousie might look like.

Take the bus from Glasgow the night before or the morning of. It’s a quick ride, only about 45 minutes by bus with a short, scenic walk past the town and a historic church and graveyard.

If you stay the night in the castle, enjoy the sunny views from The Orangery café or library, or call in for breakfast in bed. Spend your morning with an activity like archery or falconry, depending on the weather, then relax at the spa with a swim or massage.

  • If that sounds like too much pampering, drive or take the bus into Bonnyrigg for a pint at a local pub in the small town, or head into Edinburgh to cram in some more sightseeing.

Pet an owl & fly a falcon

The best part of Dalhousie Castle is the onsite falconry. Over 30 birds live at the castle grounds, and this is your chance to get up close and personal with hawks, owls, falcons, and other birds of prey. For under 100 pounds, an hour long experience lets you choose to either fly a falcon, owl, or both, and meet some of the other birds at the falconry.

The tour guides here are knowledgeable and friendly, and they happily answer questions and talk about their animals. Pick a quiet weekday and you might even get a private tour, though you won’t get a group over 5-10 people even on a busy day. That’s to protect the animals so they don’t get overwhelmed.

  • One word of warning: These are birds of prey, and they’re trained with small pieces of food. For most of the birds, that means small bits of frozen chicks. The trainer will place these on your glove for the birds to land on. This isn’t an ideal activity for someone squeamish around animals eating meat.

Your trip to Dalhousie

Dalhousie Castle is an incredible, unique experience you won’t find in many other places.

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