Dalkeith is a town in Midlothian, six miles southeast of Edinburgh in the Central Belt of Scotland. It's a commuter town for the city and had a population of 13,400 in 2016. The main attractions are the country park around the 18th century Dalkeith Palace, and Scotland's National Mining Museum a couple of miles south at Newtongrange.


Watchtower in the town cemetery

The languages of ancient Britain were P-Celtic, akin to Welsh, so the town name may resemble ddôl coed, "meadow wood". The later Gaelic language was Q-Celtic, brought from Ireland, but in these lowland parts it was supplanted by Scots-English in early modern times. The area was industrial even in the Norman era, with monks hewing coal and bashing metal. The big growth was with 19th-century industry, with deep coal mines, and the railway arrived in 1831. Dalkeith became the administrative centre for the county of Midlothian and remains so. It also became part of Edinburgh's commuter belt, but has not been absorbed as a suburb - it's just far enough out to have retained its identity as a separate town, beyond the palisade of the city bypass.

Get in


From the airport, follow ring-road A720 to congested Sheriffhall roundabout (a flyover is long overdue) then A6106 for the last mile into Dalkeith. You can also take Skylink Bus 400 to Fort Kinnaird on the southern edge of the city, then change to the buses below.

From Edinburgh, use Lothian Bus 3 (and night bus N3), 29, X29, 33 or X33. These start from various points in the western or northern burbs, then run via central Edinburgh, southside and Fort Kinnaird / Royal Infirmary to Dalkeith. From here they continue to Newtongrange, Gorebridge or Mayfield.

Dalkeith used to stand astride the A68 Edinburgh - Jedburgh - Northumberland road, and just east of the A7 Edinburgh - Galashiels - Hawick - Carlisle road. Both roads now bypass town but some buses still call at Dalkeith. The most useful of these is the 51 / 52 from Melrose, Jedburgh and Kelso. Borders Bus X95 stops at Eskbank en route between Edinburgh, Galashiels, Selkirk, Hawick and Carlisle. Long distance coaches (eg from Newcastle and London) don't call here.

East Coast Bus 140 runs from Musselburgh (with buses to North Berwick, Haddington and Dunbar) to Dalkeith and onward to Roslin (for Rosslyn Chapel) and Penicuik.

Eskbank railway station is a mile southwest of Dalkeith, less convenient than the bus for Edinburgh. But the train is a good option for Galashiels and Tweedbank (for Abbotsford House and Melrose Abbey), running hourly and taking 40 min.

Get around


Dalkeith is small enough to walk around. For the Mining Museum at Newtongrange, take any of the buses running south from Edinburgh to Gorebridge. For Rosslyn Chapel at Roslin, take Bus 140 west towards Penicuik.

  • 1 Dalkeith Palace, Kings Gate Dalkeith EH22 1ST. The palace is an imposing 1702 sandstone mansion which replaced an earlier castle; you can admire from outside but can't visit within. It's owned by the Dukes of Buccleuch but leased long-term to the University of Wisconsin as a study centre. You can visit the surrounding country park free daily 7AM-7PM, but "Fort Douglas" is an adventure park which, ominously, is demand-priced, and costs more for children than for adults.    
  • 2 Dalkeith Museum, 61 St Andrew's St EH22 1BP, +44 131 663 4683. W 11AM-3PM. Built 1853, the Corn Exchange (which runs through to High St) has been refurbished as a museum.
  • St Nicholas Church at 119 High St dates from 1406 but is mostly Victorian.
  • 3 National Mining Museum Scotland (Lady Victoria Colliery), Newtongrange EH22 4QN (On A7 two miles south of Dalkeith: buses & trains from Edinburgh), +44 131 663 7519. Daily: Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-4PM. Museum set in a colliery, active 1891-1981. An ex-miner takes you down the pit to the coal-face. Adult £9.50, conc £7.50, child £3.50.  
  • Roslin five miles southwest of Dalkeith has Rosslyn Chapel, with remarkable carvings including the "Apprentice Pillar".
  • Football: Bonnyrigg Rose were promoted in 2022 and now play soccer in League Two, Scotland's fourth tier. Their home ground is New Dundas Park (capacity 2640) in Bonnyrigg, along A6094 two miles southwest of Dalkeith town centre.
  • Midstock Music Festival[dead link] is probably next held on 24-25 May 2024 in the Country Park, tbc.
  • Let's Rock Scotland is a retro music festival in the Country Park held in late June.
  • Dalkeith Agricultural Show is held in mid-July in the Country Park.
  • Out East is a family-friendly music festival, held in early August.
Coal cutter at the Mining Museum
  • There's a Lidl on Newmills Rd, but people do their big shop at Fort Kinnaird, the huge retail park 5 miles north on the A1.
  • Dobbie's Garden Centre is two miles west of town, junction of A7 and A772. It's open daily 9AM-6PM, but the Butterfly World attraction has closed down.
  • Cavaliere serves Italian food at 124 High St. It's open Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight.
  • Itihaas is a Bangladeshi restaurant at 17 Eskbank Rd, open M-Sa noon-2PM & 5-11PM, Su 12:30-11PM.


  • Town pubs include Black Bull, Coach & Horses, and Mayson's; Blacksmiths Forge the Wetherspoon pub has closed down. Justinlees Inn is southwest at Eskbank crossroads.
  • Glenkinchie Distillery is to the east in the countryside near Pencaitland, see Haddington.


Approach to Dalkeith Palace
  • 1 Melville Castle, Gilmerton Rd EH18 1AP, +44 131 654 0088. 18th-century Gothic mansion a mile west of town, now an upscale hotel. Dog-friendly. B&B double £130.  
  • 2 Premier Inn (Edinburgh A7 Dalkeith), Melville Dykes Road EH18 1AN (jcn with A7), +44 333 321 9227. Well-run budget chain hotel near city bypass. B&B double £100.
  • 3 Innkeeper's Lodge (Melville Inn), Lasswade EH18 1AR (off A772 at Dobbie's), +44 131 370 3670. Pleasant, friendly chain hotel at northwest edge of town. B&B double £100.
  • 4 Dalhousie Castle Hotel, Bonnyrigg EH19 3JB (off B704), +44 1875 820153. Upscale hotel in a castle mostly built in the 17th century. Most guests reckon it's worth the splurge. B&B double £280.  



As of July 2023, Dalkeith has 4G from Vodafone, and 5G from EE, O2 and Three.

Go next

  • Edinburgh is an easy day trip by bus. Don't take a car into the city.
  • Most onward routes involve connecting via Edinburgh, but another day-trip is to take the train south from Eskbank to Tweedbank. This gets you (with a bit of hiking) to Abbotsford (mansion of Sir Walter Scott) and Melrose Abbey.
  • The East Lothian coast is scenic around Gullane, North Berwick and Dunbar.
Routes through Dalkeith
Central EdinburghSouth Edinburgh  NW   SE  → Galashiels → Carlisle

This city travel guide to Dalkeith is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.