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Penicuik (pronounced "Penny-cook") is in a town in The Lothians 10 miles south of Edinburgh. It's mostly commuterland for the city, with a population of 16,200 in 2016. It has an army base and is close to the scenic Pentland Hills.


Penicuik Town Hall
Dolly the sheep at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Penicuik is midway along the road from Edinburgh to Peebles, just before this starts ascending the hills. It was created as a planned town in 1770 to accommodate workers at the paper mills and powered by the streams rushing out of those hills.

In the early 19th century, the town had a large camp for French prisoners taken in the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars. From 1875, this was rebuilt as Glencorse army barracks, which now houses the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland. There have been contradictory announcements on whether this presence will grow or shrink. Edinburgh Castle is just a ceremonial headquarters and Redford Barracks has closed. Still, it's unclear whether future bases will be at Dreghorn in the city, Kirknewton to the west, or Glencorse in Penicuik.

More recently the neighbouring village of Roslin has been notable for the Roslin Institute which successfully cloned Dolly the sheep in 1997. Dolly was taxidermied (stuffed) and put on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh's Old Town.

Get in[edit]

Lothian Bus 37 runs every 20 min from Silverknowes and Edinburgh's west end via Loanhead, Bilston, Roslin and Bush to Penicuik, taking an hour from the city centre. Nightbus N37 runs hourly from midnight to 4AM. Alight at Roslin Hotel for a short walk to the Roslynn Chapel.

Borders Bus X62 runs every 30 min from Edinburgh via Bilston and Glencorse Barracks to Penicuik, 50 min. It continues south to Peebles then turns east to Innerleithen and Galashiels, the Borders transport hub.

Stagecoach Bus 101 runs hourly from Edinburgh via Flotterstone Inn (for Glencorse) to Penicuik (45 min), and continues to West Linton and Biggar. Three or four daily buses continue to Coulter, Abington, Moffat and Dumfries.

A taxi from Edinburgh Airport (EDI IATA) or the city centre might cost £35.

Get around[edit]

Buses run along the main commuter corridor from Penicuik through Loanhead to Edinburgh. You need your own wheels to go further afield.

Some hiking trails in the Pentlands pass near or through military firing ranges, pay heed to warning signs.


  • South Kirk (on Peebles Rd A701 just south of the river bridge). It housed the Free Church after the Great Disruption of 1843, when it broke with the Church of Scotland over the control of clerical appointments. The schism was resolved in 1929 so the kirk now holds mainstream Church of Scotland services.
  • 1 Uttershill Castle. It is a ruined 16th-century tower house a mile south of town.
  • 2 Penicuik House. It is the shell of an 18th-century Palladian mansion, burned down in 1899. In 2022 restoration continues and it's closed to the public.
  • 3 Glencorse. It is the gorgeous glen west of A703. A good lane leads up it but private traffic is prohibited, so park at its foot. The lane leads past Glencorse and Loganlea reservoirs, with hiking trails leading off to the Pentland summits and over the ridge to Balerno. Flotterstone Inn at the foot of the glen does meals.
  • 4 Castlelaw. This an Iron Age hill fort was built in the 1st or 2nd century AD as the Picts sought to rebuff Roman incursions. You can descend into its souterrain. It's on a hiking trail from Glencorse to the south fringes of Edinburgh.
  • 5 Old Woodhouselee Castle. The stump of a 16th-century tower house is a redoubt of the Hamiltons. The legend goes that the lady of the house was evicted naked by the Regent Moray (illegitimate son of James V) - she went mad and her child perished. This story may be politics, as in 1570 her husband shot dead the Regent at Linlithgow, the first murder by firearms in Scotland. The castle is by a disused railway track, which you can follow down the scenic glen.
  • 6 Roslin Gunpowder Factory. It was busy from the Napoleonic Wars to 1954. It's now just a bosky ruin as the jungle reclaims the site.
  • 7 Rosslyn Chapel, Chapel Loan, Roslin EH25 9PU (Bus 37 to Roslin village), +44 131 440 2159. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Founded in the 15th century as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew - a "collegiate" church doesn't have a resident priest, but staff of the seminary take turns. It was suppressed at the Reformation but re-opened as an Anglican church in 1862. In 1914 it was bombed by the suffragettes, who targeted Church of England churches for opposing votes for women. Its most remarkable feature is the richly carved Apprentice Pillar. The chapel, the pillar and the strange "box" carvings have always attracted legends and theories, most of them dingbat. In the 21st century these centre around the 2006 film The Da Vinci Code, which prompted a wave of tourists. Adult £9.50, conc £7.50, child free. Rosslyn Chapel (Q49642) on Wikidata Rosslyn Chapel on Wikipedia
  • Rosslyn Castle. 150 yards south of the chapel is on a bluff overlooking a tight bend in the River North Esk. The first castle was 14th century; this was smashed up and then rebuilt in the 16th. You can admire the exterior, but within is now self-catering accommodation.


The lane up Glencorse
  • Penicuik Leisure Centre has a swimming pool and fitness classes. It's on Carlops Rd A766.
  • Golf: Glencorse GC is at Auchendinny two miles north of town. White tees 5217 yards, par 64, visitor round £30.
  • Football: head into Edinburgh for a decent game. The town rugby union and soccer teams languish in the lower reaches of the amateur leagues.
  • Hunter and Lass is a town festival held in the last week of May.


  • Tesco on Edinburgh Road is open M-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 8AM-8PM.
  • Loanhead is a retail park at the junction of A701 and Edinburgh ring road A720, with Sainsburys and Ikea.



Entrance bridge of Rosslyn Castle


  • 1 Craigie Hotel, 50 Bog Rd EH26 9BZ, +44 1968 67213. Well-run place earning good scores for comfort, cuisine and service. B&B double £110.
  • 2 Navaar House Hotel, 23 Bog Rd EH26 9BY, +44 1968 672183. Pleasant welcoming place half a mile south of town centre. B&B double £90.


As of July 2023, Penicuik and its approach roads have 4G from EE, Three and Vodafone, and 5G from O2.

Go next[edit]

  • Edinburgh ten miles north needs several days to explore.
  • Dalkeith northeast has a country park around its palace, and the Scottish Mining Museum.
  • Peebles to the south is a tranquil Borders town. Its main sights are several miles out: Traquair House and Dawyck Botanic Gardens.
  • Biggar southwest is the small market town where you enter the Clyde valley. Its old gasworks is now a museum.

This city travel guide to Penicuik 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.