Bo'ness is a small town in West Lothian in central Scotland. It's never called by its full name Borrowstounness, meaning "the headland near Beornweard's farmstead". Coal-mining was its main industry, along with pottery, metal-working and ship-breaking; but the harbour became blighted as much by silting as by the decline of those industries. It's nowadays a commuter suburb for the nearby oil and gas town of Grangemouth, and for Edinburgh and Glasgow. The main reason to visit is to ride the Bo'ness and Kinneil steam railway.
Bo'ness is fifteen miles west of Edinburgh, from M9 exit at junction 3 onto A904 / A993.
Bus C19 runs from Edinburgh past the airport every 3 hours, taking an hour to Bo'ness. Bus 909 follows a similar route every couple of hours and continues via Grangemouth to Stirling.
It's often more convenient to travel to Falkirk then take Bus 2, which runs every 30 mins via Grangemouth and takes 40 min. Otherwise travel to Linlithgow and take Bus 45 / 46, which orbits the area hourly.
The nearest railway stations are Falkirk and Linlithgow, on the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street. The branch line to Bo'ness is only used for heritage train excursions.
The town centre can easily be explored on foot. See "Get in" for buses to neighbouring towns.
- 1 Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, Union St EH51 9AQ, ☏ . April-Oct daily 11:00-16:30, Dec Sa Su. Extensive railway museum. They run trains (usually steam-hauled) up the branch past Grangemouth to the main line near Polmont. These trips used to take in the fire-clay mine at Birkhill but this has closed. Adult £5, train ride £10.
- 2 Kinneil Estate is a pleasant parkland off A904 at the west edge of town. Within it are:
- 3 Bo'ness Motor Museum, Bridgeness Road EH51 9JR, ☏ . Apr-Oct M-Sa 10:00-16:00, Su 11:00-16:00, Nov-Mar variable. It's more about film & TV props than a vintage collection: cars include those graced by 007, Harry Potter and Thunderbirds. Adult £6.95.
- Walk east along the coast to Blackness Castle near Linlithgow. This is part of the John Muir Way, which follows the Union Canal from Falkirk to Linlithgow then backtracks down to the coast at Bo'ness then hugs the coast past the castle to South Queensferry and Edinburgh.
- 1 Hippodrome Cinema, 10 Hope Street. Built in 1911 in "not-quite-Art Deco", it closed in 1980 but re-opened in 2009.
- Bo'ness Revival is a classic car event and hill-climb held on Kinneil Estate at the end of August. (The original hill climb course closed in 1966 and the land was built over.) The next event is probably 29-30 Aug 2020 but tbc.
- Inkspot & Silverleaf [dead link] are renowned independent booksellers at 56 South St, open M-Sa 09:30-17:00.
- 1 Corvi's (Seaview Cafe), 5 Seaview Place EH51 0AJ. M Tu Th 11:30-14:00 & 15:30-19:00, F Sa 11:30-19:00. Traditional fish and chip shop with sit in area. Speciality is smoked fish in batter.
- 2 Corbie Inn, 84 Corbiehall EH51 0AS, ☏ . M-Sa 12:00-23:00, Su 12:30-22:30. Pub with large outdoor eating area.
- Anchor Tavern on North St is open daily 11:00-23:00.
- 1 Bo'mains Farmhouse, EH49 7RQ (A706 midway between Bo'Ness and Linlithgow), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel on working farm. B&B double £70.
- 2 Richmond Park Hotel, 26 Linlithgow Rd EH51 0DN, ☏ . Mid-range hotel, clean & friendly. B&B double £70.
- And see Falkirk and Grangemouth options, e.g. the Premier Inn at M9 jcn 5.
- Linlithgow three miles south has a ruined medieval palace.
- Follow the coast east past Blackness Castle to South Queensferry and into Edinburgh.
- West there's a lot of industry and burbs around Grangemouth and Falkirk, but plough on past that and you come to Stirling, a pocket-sized Edinburgh, and the Campsie Fells.