Edinburgh Day Trips | Roslin

Just a short drive outside of Edinburgh, Roslin is the perfect day trip to explore some history and nature. The small village is known across the world, thanks to the Da Vinci Code, and Dolly the sheep. For history lovers and explorers, Roslin is a great day trip from Edinburgh, which is well worth a visit.

Why is Roslin Famous?

Despite being only a small village, Roslin has two pretty big claims to fame!

For book and film lovers, you may recognise Rosslyn Chapel from the Da Vinci Code (by Dan Brown). The novel brings the main characters to Rosslyn Chapel which Dan Brown describes as ‘the most mysterious and magical chapel on earth’. Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou filmed some of scenes inside Rosslyn Chapel for the 2006 film of The Da Vinci Code!

Roslin’s other claim to fame is from none other than Dolly the Sheep. Dolly (who now lives at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh) is the world’s first cloned sheep, and it was the nearby Roslin Institute which cloned Dolly!

Visiting Edinburgh? Discover Edinburgh’s history, visit Dolly for yourself and explore more incredible artefacts and objects at these museums!

Eleanor and Alfie at Roslin Chapel, Edinburgh

Looking for a Scottish staycation? Visit Pitlochry, Perthshire!

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446, and is beautifully decorated in the late Gothic style. The chapel is famous for its carved stonework which intrigues many of the visitors, because of some of its mysterious symbols. Whilst many of the carvings are religious, there are many that recount myths and legends, which are otherwise unknown. It took 40 years to build the chapel, as all the surfaces are covered in beautiful carvings.

Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian, Edinburgh

There is also a visitors centre which looks at the history of the chapel, as well as its links to the Da Vinci code!

You can visit the chapel by guided tour, which should be booked in advance (tickets are £9.50 for adults, children under 17 are free). The chapel is a working church, so please be respectful. Note that photography isn’t allowed inside!

Alfie at Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh

Find out about Durham Cathedral in my guide to Durham City!

Rosslyn Castle

The ruins of Rosslyn Castle stand down by the River Esk. The first castle was built on this site in the early 14th century by the Sinclair family. During the War of the Rough Wooing in 1544, the castle was burned but it was then rebuilt.

Manuscripts from 1488 have been found in the castle, and now are in the National Library of Scotland. Among the five St Clair manuscripts around was the Rosslyn-Hay manuscript, which is believed to be the earliest work in Scots prose!

Although partly ruined, it’s still possible to live in the castle, and it is now let out as a holiday home (imagine an over night stay in a castle!!). To get to it, you cross the ‘high bridge’.

Explore the ruins of Tantallon Castle in North Berwick

Roslin Gunpowder Mill Ruins

Nestled deep into Roslin Glen, the ruins of the Gunpowder Factory sit by the River Esk. The mills were used from 1804 – 1954.

The mill was once the main source of employment in the area, and was the largest gunpowder factory in the whole of Scotland! The mill supplied munitions to the battles and wars from Napoleonic to WWII. In World War 2, women ran the factory whilst their husbands were all at war!

The mills were closed in 1954, and most of the buildings were demolished, aside from a few which still stand today.

The ruins are accessible by a footpath through the glen, and signposted from the glen carpark and the chapel. It’s a lovely walk by the river, and there are some information panels once though the old mill gates which explains a little about the history and where to find the ruins.

Looking for an easy day trip from Edinburgh? Here’s my guide to North Berwick, East Lothian!

Roslin Glen

Roslin Glen is a beautiful woodland area to explore, with riverside paths. The glen has plenty of history within it, with the ruins of Rosslyn Chapel and the gunpowder mills both hidden amongst the trees. There is a lovely walk, starting at Rosslyn Chapel car park, down through the woods and following the sign posts to the gunpowder mills, which brings you through the nature and along the course of the river.

Alfie at Roslin Glen

Get to know Edinburgh in my guide to the Royal Mile!

How To Get to Roslin

Roslin is a really easy car ride from Edinburgh city, which takes around 25 minutes via the Bypass. Alternatively, there are plenty of bus routes from the city centre which can take you right into Roslin (Lothian Bus 37 or 140) . If you’re into cycling, you can follow the cycle route which signposts the way to Roslin!

Have you visited Roslin before?


Explore my latest posts!

The Palm House, Copenhagen

Escape into a tropical wonderland at the Palm House in Copenhagen. The Botanic Gardens in Copenhagen are filled with beautiful plants, with stunning greenhouses to explore tropical climates. Lose yourself in the tropical paradise and dare yourself to climb the twirling cast iron staircase of the Palm House.

Walk Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

The iconic backdrop of Edinburgh, visible throughout the city, Arthur’s seat stands proud. This extinct volcano is in the heart of the city and a popular place for hill walkers, tourists and locals. From the top, you get spectacular views across the city of Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth.

Climb Mount Vesuvius

The iconic Mount Vesuvius can be seen across the Bay of Naples. An icon of Campania, the presence and impact of the volcano can be felt around the region. Famous for its devastating destruction of Pompeii in AD79, climbing Mount Vesuvius will feel like you’ve conquered something. At the top, you get incredible panoramic views of the Bay of Naples – no trip to the Bay of Naples is complete without climbing Mount Vesuvius.

Published by Emily Johnston

Archaeologist and Heritage Tourist Blogger at www.heritagetourist.co.uk

16 thoughts on “Edinburgh Day Trips | Roslin

  1. This looks absolutely stunning! The castle and chapel both have such beautiful architecture – I know I’d definitely love to see the inside of that chapel on a guided tour! Thank you so much for sharing, I’m definitely going to visit some day x


  2. I find Edinburgh a purely magical place and this one is no exception. I loved it. Thanks for the tour! I hope to visit one day. It’s absolutely stunning! x


  3. It’s been years since I was last in Edinburgh, we tend to fly in and then travel to our friends in Dundee instead. But Roslin looks quite magical, and the Mill and Castle look every bit as fascinating as that wonderful Chapel – wonderful guide, thank you so much, Emily!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: