10 beautiful but lesser-known villages within easy driving distance from Edinburgh

The city of Edinburgh features many beautiful sights but is also surrounded by breathtaking countryside villages that are perfect for when you need a break from the city.

10 beautiful but lesser-known villages within easy driving distance from Edinburgh

Edinburgh is famed for its rich history; tourists flock every year to see the castle and hear the piper play Scotland the Brave down the Royal Mile, but there are so many beautiful spots outside of the city that are well worth making the trip to see. Here are our top 10 breathtaking villages within driving distance from Edinburgh that you may not have heard of.

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Gifford is a small village known for its picturesque scenes. Found just south of Haddington in East Lothian, Gifford is often where walkers stop off before heading into the Lammermuir Hills. Gifford has some gorgeous sought-after properties with beautiful, old cottages dating back to the 1800s. From the City of Edinburgh it will take about 40 minutes to reach Gifford by car.

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Humbie is a rural hamlet found in East Lothian, roughly ten miles south-west of Haddington. The area has a population of only a few hundred people and was once an old-settlement formerly part of the Barony of Keith. The parish has a rich history with a local church dating back to the 18th century and Haide Castle (Keith Marischal country house) which was built during the 14th century. Humbie is just over a half an hour drive from the city of Edinburgh.

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Found in Fife, Culross is a historic village which has seen the National Trust help restore many of its crumbling buildings back to their original condition in recent years. Culross has also recently found fame as its featured on the popular television series 'Outlander'. It takes about 50 minutes to travel by car to Culross from the city of Edinburgh.
Limekilns is a gorgeous little village found in Fife, slightly to the west of the Forth Road Bridge and on the north shore of the River Forth. In the 1300s, Limekilns acted as the main port for Fife's Dunfermline just a few miles to the north. In the past the village has been home to many industries including shipbuilding and brewing. From the city of Edinburgh, Limekilns is about a half an hour drive.
Found in East Lothian, six miles south of Haddington, Pencaitland is known best for the beautiful Winton House, a historical castle which is available to hire out for events such as weddings and family holidays. The village is split in two and known as Easter Pencaitland and Wester Pencaitland, it is divided by the Tyne Water which features a three-arched bridge dating back to the 16th century. By car it will take you between 30 and 40 minutes to reach Pencaitland from the city of Edinburgh.
A gorgeous fishing village found in Fife, Crail is home to one of the United Kingdom's most photographed harbours. You can enjoy freshly caught seafood throughout the summer and experience the Crail Food Festival every June, coronavirus permitting unfortunately. From Edinburgh, Crail is roughly an hour and a half drive making it the furthest away destination on our list.
Found in West Lothian, Winchburgh is known for its spectacular countryside. Like many West Lothian towns, Winchburgh had a thriving shale oil industry in the 19th century, remnants of the mines can be seen in the form of distinctive red hill formations across the landscape. The brick rows of miners' cottages can also still be found in Winchburgh, although now converted into modern homes. From the city of Edinburgh it takes just under an hour to reach Winchburgh.
Found in East Lothian, Aberlady is a picturesque coastal village known for its spectacular golfing scene. The coast is a nationally recognised refuge for thousands of geese that migrate here in the winter from Europe. It's a 40 minute car journey from Edinburgh to Aberlady.
Found in East Lothian, Garvald is a quaint little village to the south-east of Haddington lying on the Papana Water. The village sits on red sandstone and is known well across the country for its mining history. It will take you roughly 40 minutes by car to travel to Garvald from the city of Edinburgh.
Meaning 'stone town', Stenton is a gorgeous farming village in East Lothian found to the south-west of Dunbar. The village dates back to the 1500s and has a rich farming scene dedicated mainly to cattle and sheep. By car, it takes roughly 45 minutes to reach Stenton from the city of Edinburgh.