Linlithgow Canal Centre is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Located in West Lothian, Scotland, the centre offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of the Union Canal and its importance in the region’s development. The centre is situated in a beautiful location, surrounded by stunning scenery and wildlife.

The Union Canal, which runs through Linlithgow, was once an important transportation route for goods and people. Today, visitors can take a leisurely boat trip along the canal, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and learning about the history of the waterway. The canal centre also offers a range of activities for visitors, including walking and cycling routes, fishing and bird watching.

History of Linlithgow Canal Centre

Linlithgow Canal Centre is a popular tourist attraction located in Linlithgow, Scotland. The centre is situated on the site of the former Victoria Distillery, which operated from 1825 until 1927. The distillery was built on the banks of the Union Canal, which was constructed in the early 19th century to transport goods between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In the 1980s, the Linlithgow Union Canal Society was formed with the aim of restoring the Union Canal and preserving the history of the area. The society acquired the former Victoria Distillery site and transformed it into the Linlithgow Canal Centre, which opened to the public in 1990.

The centre houses a museum that displays records and photographs documenting the history of the Union Canal and the Victoria Distillery. Visitors can also take a boat trip along the canal to see the surrounding countryside and learn about the canal’s engineering and construction.

The Victoria Distillery was once a major employer in the area, and its closure in 1927 had a significant impact on the local community. The Linlithgow Canal Centre serves as a reminder of the area’s industrial past and the importance of the Union Canal to the region’s economy.

Boating at Linlithgow Canal Centre

Boat Trips

Linlithgow Canal Centre offers a range of boat trips for visitors to enjoy. These boat trips are a great way to explore the waterways and experience the beauty of the area. The boat trips are suitable for all ages and are perfect for couples, families, and groups.

There are a variety of boat trips available, including short trips along the canal, longer journeys to nearby attractions, and themed trips. The themed trips include wildlife watching, history tours, and evening cruises. The boat trips are led by experienced guides who will provide information about the area and its history.

Self-Drive Boat Hire

For those who want to explore the canal at their own pace, Linlithgow Canal Centre offers self-drive boat hire. Visitors can book their own boat and enjoy a relaxing journey along the canal. The self-drive boats are easy to operate and are suitable for all levels of experience.

Visitors can choose from a range of boats, including narrowboats and cruisers. The boats are available for hire by the hour, half-day, or full day. Visitors can also book a boat for a longer period if they wish to explore the area in more detail.

Charter Services

Linlithgow Canal Centre also offers charter services for those who want to enjoy a more luxurious boating experience. The charter services are perfect for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and corporate events.

The charter services include a range of options, such as catering, entertainment, and decorations. Visitors can choose from a range of boats, including narrowboats and cruisers. The boats are available for hire for a minimum of four hours.

Touring the Canal


One of the highlights of touring the Linlithgow Canal Centre is experiencing the impressive aqueducts. The Union Canal’s Avon Aqueduct, which spans over 247 meters, is a remarkable feat of engineering. It is the longest and tallest aqueduct in Scotland, and the second-longest in the UK. The West and East aqueducts are also worth exploring, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Canal Basin

The Canal Basin is a bustling hub of activity, with plenty of boats coming and going. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the towpath and watch the boats navigate the canal. The basin is also home to a range of amenities, including a cafe, gift shop, and information centre. It’s the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat or pick up some souvenirs.

Falkirk Wheel

No visit to the Linlithgow Canal Centre is complete without a trip to the Falkirk Wheel. This incredible structure is the world’s only rotating boat lift, and it’s an engineering marvel. Visitors can take a boat trip on the wheel and experience the thrill of being lifted 35 metres in the air. It’s an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed.

If you’re looking for a longer trip, the Aqueduct Cruise is a fantastic option. This 2-hour cruise takes you through the Avon Aqueduct and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. You’ll also get to see the impressive engineering of the aqueduct up close.

Whether you’re exploring Linlithgow Canal Centre as a day trip from Edinburgh or as part of a longer journey along the canal, there’s plenty to see and do. With its impressive aqueducts, bustling canal basin, and the world-famous Falkirk Wheel, it’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in engineering, history, or simply enjoying a leisurely boat trip.

Visitor Experience

Family Day Out

Linlithgow Canal Centre is a great place for a family day out. The centre offers a range of activities for children and adults alike. Visitors can take a boat trip along the canal, enjoy a picnic by the water, or explore the local wildlife.

Wildlife Viewing

The canal centre is home to a variety of wildlife, including ducks, swans, and herons. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the canal and observe the animals in their natural habitat. The centre also offers guided wildlife tours, which provide an in-depth look at the local flora and fauna.

Tea Room and Other Eateries

The tea room at Linlithgow Canal Centre is a popular spot for visitors looking to relax and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. The tea room serves a range of homemade cakes and biscuits, as well as light lunches and afternoon tea. There are also several other eateries in the area, including restaurants and cafes.

Linlithgow Canal Centre Museum

The Linlithgow Canal Centre Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. The museum is located in the Linlithgow Canal Centre, which was once a bustling hub for the Union Canal. The museum showcases the history of the canal and its impact on the local area.

Visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits, which include artefacts, photographs, and interactive displays. The exhibits cover a range of topics, from the construction of the canal to its use for transportation of goods and people.

One of the key highlights of the museum is the replica of a narrowboat, which provides visitors with a unique insight into the life of a canal boatman. The boat is fully furnished and equipped with all the necessary tools and equipment used by the boatman.

The museum also offers guided tours, which provide visitors with an in-depth understanding of the canal’s history and its importance to the local area. The knowledgeable guides are passionate about the canal’s history and are happy to answer any questions visitors may have.

Events and Volunteering

Linlithgow Canal Centre hosts a variety of events throughout the year, providing visitors with an opportunity to engage with the history and heritage of the canal. From boat trips to guided walks, there is always something on offer to suit all interests and ages.

The Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS) organizes many of the events at the centre. LUCS is a volunteer-run organization that aims to promote the restoration and preservation of the Union Canal. The society is always looking for new members to join and get involved in their work.

Volunteering at the Linlithgow Canal Centre is a fantastic way to gain new skills and meet like-minded people. Volunteers can get involved in a range of activities, from helping to maintain the canal and its surroundings to assisting with events and activities. All volunteers receive training and support, and no previous experience is necessary.

The centre also offers volunteering opportunities for young people through the Leamington Youth Project. This project provides young people with the chance to learn new skills and gain valuable work experience while helping to preserve the canal.

If you’re interested in volunteering or attending an event at the Linlithgow Canal Centre, visit their website for more information.

Practical Information

Booking and Pricing

To visit Linlithgow Canal Centre, visitors do not need to book in advance. Admission to the centre is free, but donations are welcome to support the centre’s continued operation.

For those interested in hiring a boat, the centre offers a range of options, including rowing boats, canoes, and motorboats. Prices for boat hire vary depending on the type of boat and the duration of the hire. Bookings for boat hire can be made by email or by phone.

Location and Parking

Linlithgow Canal Centre is located at Manse Road Basin, Linlithgow, EH49 6AJ. The centre is easily accessible by car and there is ample parking available on site.

Public Transport

For those travelling by public transport, Linlithgow Canal Centre can be reached by train or bus. The nearest train station is Linlithgow, which is served by regular trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh. From the train station, the centre is a short walk away.

The centre is also served by several bus routes, including the number 38 and 38A. Visitors should alight at the Manse Road stop, which is located just outside the centre.