Fore! Look out for very expensive golf balls

When you've seen all there is to see in Edinburgh, take the high or the low road for some capital days out.

When you've seen all there is to see in Edinburgh, take the high or the low road for some capital days out.

Gullane to North Berwick

The resort town of Gullane is home to Muirfield Golf Course, host to the British Open next July. Nearby, follow the endless yellow sands of Yellowcraig Nature Reserve for a great beach walk to North Berwick. Robert Louis Stevenson summered here and used the wild atmosphere as the theme of his short story "The Pavilion on the Links". Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor made famous the rolling countryside and Lammermuir Hills. Landmarks are the offshore Bass Rock and dumpling-shaped Berwick Law.

By car: follow signs for the A1, but take B1348 along the coast, which later becomes A198 to North Berwick. By train: from Waverley station to North Berwick.

Dirleton Castle and Greywalls

Walled gardens enclose the imposing ruins of Dirleton Castle, which dates from the 12th century and dominates the village of the same name. Stop for tea at Greywalls Hotel, designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1901. The crescent-shaped building has a superb walled garden by Gertrude Jekyll. Sink into upholstered old furniture in a panelled library with a roaring fire and step back to the 1920s. Greywalls Hotel, Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian EH31 2EG (01620 842144).

By car: follow signs for A1, then take B1348 along the coast, which later becomes A198 to North Berwick.

Traquair House

Originally owned by the kings of Scotland, Traquair, near Peebles, is one of Scotland's great country houses. Dating from the 12th century, it is the oldest house in the UK to be continually inhabited. Latterly, Traquair became home to the Earls of Traquair and is inhabited by their descendants, the Maxwell Stuarts. Don't miss the concealed priest's room, where the Stuarts were secretly given mass after the Reformation. Items on show include the cradle Mary, Queen of Scots, used for her son James VI.

By car: take A703 south to Peebles and follow A72 to Innerleithen. By bus: take the hourly number six from St Andrews Square to Innerleithen, then continue by taxi (01896 831333).

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow, an ancient royal burgh, is one of Scotland's oldest towns. Stewart kings lived in the Renaissance palace at the edge of the loch and it was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Today the magnificent ruins and the park they stand in are a reminder of Linlithgow's great past.

By car: M9 towards Stirling, exit at Junction 3. By train: hourly departures from Waverley station.

Aberdour

This popular seaside town on the other side of the Firth of Forth is known for silver sand and watersports facilities. At the southern end of town is Aberdour Castle, which boasts a 14th-century tower and walled garden. Look out for the leper-squint in the west wall of St Fillan's church.

By car: take the A90 across the Forth and A921 to Aberdour. By train: hourly trains from Waverley station.

Melrose Abbey

At the foot of the mystical Eildon Hills is the charming Borders town of Melrose, with its square and Georgian and Victorian architecture. The main attraction is the ruined Cistercian abbey, which has stunning stonework and gargoyles. Robert the Bruce's heart was buried here and the lead casket has pride of place in the abbey museum.

By car: take the A7 south.

Return flights from London to Edinburgh with Go start from £30 per person (0870 607 6543; www.go-fly.com). Hertz (0870 848 4848; www.hertz.co.uk) offers three days' car hire from £119.

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