Stay safe

There are various restrictions currently in place across Scotland to help prevent spread of COVID-19. These restrictions vary by region; full advice can be found on the Scottish Government official website.

Guidance relating to visiting places on Scotland Off the Beaten Track includes...

staying at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your householdwearing a face covering where mandated, and where social distancing is difficultavoiding crowded spacesmaintaining hand and cough hygiene, and reducing contact with hard or high contact surfacesself-isolating and booking a test if you have COVID-19 symptomsadhering to current rules about maximum group sizes, and the number of households you can meet each day
Many staffed sites are currently closed, have changed their opening times or have a modified visitor offering. Different restrictions apply in other countries, including other parts of the UK, so please follow the official advice where you are.

Please help us all stay safe while expl…

Little Sparta

South Lanarkshire | Dunsyre | Garden | ★★★

"The only really original garden made in this country since 1945", claims Sir Roy Strong on the front of the visitor leaflet. An ambitious assertion, yet Little Sparta is undoubtedly like no other garden we've seen. The 7-acre site at Stonypath, clinging to the exposed southwestern slopes of the Pentland Hills, is the brainchild of Ian Hamilton Finlay - Scottish artist, poet, gardener - who lived here for the last 50 years of his life before passing away in 2006 (the garden is now run by a trust). Among other topics, Finlay's works focused heavily on the sea, ancient Greece and Rome, the French Revolution, World War II and Nazism; this is reflected in the landscape of Little Sparta, which appears almost as an outdoor art gallery. Sculptures bearing poetry and wordplay are everywhere, trees and water also have an important role to play, but colourful flowerbeds do not. The offical (and expensive) guidebook runs to hundreds of …

Gorgie Farm

City of Edinburgh | Gorgie | City farm | ★★

Right at the middle of the busy Edinburgh suburbs of Gorgie and Dalry, and almost directly opposite Tynecastle football stadium, the gap between a railway line and a cemetery allows just enough space for a city farm. Yes, really - a farm at the heart of Scotland's capital. This family-friendly animal attraction is home to all the usual suspects including cows, pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, chickens and ducks, as well as numerous rehomed domestic pets. Many (or all?) of the animals have been named, and some are local celebrities: famously grumpy Olive the duck even had an audience with the Queen before she passed away in 2019 (the duck, not the Queen). And we couldn't omit to mention the Dalry Llama - perhaps our favourite ever name for a farm animal. Like many of the animals housed here, Gorgie Farm's recent life story has been a rather rocky one; it was forced to close in 2019 due to a lack of funding, before being saved by an ed…

Saughton Park

City of Edinburgh | Saughton | Park | ★★★

With a stunning rose garden, kaleidoscopic borders, a physic garden and even its own ballad, Saughton Park is perhaps western Edinburgh's most attractive green space. The gardens have a long history, previously being part of the estate of Saughtonhall mansion, and later hosting the 1908 Scottish National Exhibition. But it's only in the last few years that the winter and rose gardens have been tidied up, the bandstand refurbished and even a new cafe - resulting in a thriving hub for the area, at least in the summertime. A meander of the Water of Leith borders the south side of the park, with riverside paths providing a scenic link to the city centre.

Location & info

đź“Ś Saughton Park★★★
End of Ford's Road (vehicle access only from Stenhouse Avenue end), Saughton, 3 mi west of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 221720 ///decide.horns.grew
Open daily | Free


Scottish Borders | Town | ★★★

An attractive former market settlement at the confluence of the Eddleston Water and the River Tweed, Peebles is a typically handsome Borders town and still retains a generous clutch of independent businesses; the number and variety of attractions in the immediate area makes this a great place for a day out. The town has a long history stretching back well beyond its designation as a Royal Burgh in 1152, though various fires and attacks by the English over the centuries mean most of what you see today dates from Victorian times. The attractive Chambers Institution houses a small museum and art gallery as well as the town library. Church lovers have come to the right place: Peebles has a seemingly huge number of churches for its size - a particularly interesting trio of parish (and former parish) churches are listed below. At the rather more active end of the spectrum, 7stanes Glentress is just down the road: arguably Scotland's best mountain biking hub…