Linlithgow Scotch Hop

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Scottish Dancing for All in Linlithgow Palace Courtyard

Experience the thrill of dancing in the open-air courtyard of the Palace where Mary Queen of Scots was born! If the weather is poor, we use the Low Port Centre nearby.

We look forward to welcoming you in 2018 : July 11th, 18th & 25th, August 1st & 8th (Wednesdays at 7.30pm) for our 29th year.

Some Pictures

picture of people and the fountain
scene of St Michaels church, next to the Palace
picture of youngster dancing with mum
picture of people dancing round the fountain
picture of Palace across the Loch
picture of a band in the Palace

Our Sponsors for 2017 were

West Lothian Council has helped to fund Linlithgow Scotch Hop for many years.

logo of West Lothian Council

Music and Dancing

Each night we have a high quality live Scottish band. There is a wide range of Scottish dances, enjoyed by a wide range of ages, abilities and nationalities. Our experienced caller gives instruction, before and during the dance. The programme usually ends about 10.00 p.m.

Sometimes a second, more difficult, dance is danced at the same time. Experienced dancers enjoy the challenge, and anyone not dancing the main dance may enjoy watching.

The 2018 programmes are being finalised now. The programmes below, from 2017, will give you an idea of typical dances.

Music by our piper Rachel Gray and the band The Ian Muir Sound

Gay Gordons

Dashing White Sergeant

Jig to the Music

Canadian Barn Dance

Flowers Of Edinburgh

St Bernards Waltz

Britannia Two Step

Goodhearted Glasgow

Circassian Circle

Kelvingrove Two Step

Shortbread Dance

Mississippi Hot Dog

Witches Reel (plus Black Mountain Reel )

Marches Hop

Strip The Willow

Music by our piper Graeme Sinclair and the band Iain MacPhail & his Scottish Dance Band

Gay Gordons

Come Under My Plaidie

Flying Scotsman (plus Mrs MacLeod )

Hullichan's Jig

Highland Schottische

Riverside Jig

Pride Of Erin Waltz

Grassmarket Reel

A Borders Welcome

Military Two Step

Eightsome Reel

Gypsy Tap

Cumberland Reel (plus The Bees Of Maggieknockater )

Call of the Pipes

Barley Bree

Music by our piper Rachel Gray and the band The Occasionals

Gay Gordons

Cumberland Reel

Over The Top

Virginia Reel

The Jacky Tar

Galloway House

Southern Rose Waltz

The Dhoon


Circles Four

Eva 3 Step

Shortbread Dance (plus Ian Powries Farewell to Auchterarder )

Mississippi Dip

Waltz Country Dance

Highland Schottische

Orcadian Strip the Willow

Music by our piper Rachel Gray and the band Gordon Pattullo and Friends

Gay Gordons

Scotch Rose

The Gypsy Thread

The Westray One Step

Scottish Reform

A Borders Welcome

Canadian Barn Dance

Geraldine's Gigue

The Haymakers Jig

Gay Gordon Two Step

A Reel For Jeannie (plus Montgomeries Rant )

The Hankie Schottische

La Rosa Waltz

The Stern Polka

Nice And Easy (plus Brouns Reel )

Music by our piper Graeme Sinclair and the band Jim Lindsay & his Scottish Dance Band

Gay Gordons

Dashing White Sergeant

Another Woodland Wander

Military Two Step

Johnny Groat's House

Domino 5

Lomond Waltz

Bridge Of Athlone

The Atlantic Mixer

Britannia Two Step

The Isle of Skye (plus The Kissing Bridge )

The Jacky Tar

Jig to the Music

St Bernards Waltz

Strip The Willow

2018 Prices

Tickets £10.00 at the door. Concessions are also available.

All tickets can be purchased on the night, at the door. Payment by cash only please. There is a cash machine (ATM) in the High Street.

Single Ticket Pricing

Full price £10.00

Concessions £8.00

Accompanied children under 12 free

Season Ticket Pricing

Full price £32

Concessions £25

Accompanied children under 12 free

Group bookings

If your Group is 10 or more people please contact Sheila McCutcheon on 0131-331 1528 or e-mail us at BEFORE the day of the event to arrange a group ticket.

Travelling to Linlithgow

Linlithgow is 20 miles west of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Linlithgow Palace (EH49 7AL) is in the town centre. Low Port Centre (EH49 7HZ) is on Blackness Road on the east side of the town, opposite TESCO.

From Edinburgh or the East - M9 Junction 3 (20 miles from Princes St).
From Falkirk / Stirling - M9 Junction 4 (xx miles from Stirling).
From Glasgow - M8 to Junction 2 then M9 to Junction 3 (xx miles from Glasgow centre).
Then follow A803 towards the town centre.

There is limited parking at the Palace itself, with some spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders. If possible park away from the Palace. Please do not park by the Palace half an hour before dancing - Pipe band may be playing.

There is limited parking for Blue Badge holders at the Low Port Centre. Parking for others is across the road behind TESCO. There is an uncontrolled "Long Term Parking" section, and we understand that the remaining camera-controlled parking does not issue fines after 6pm.

Linlithgow is on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line, with trains as often as every 15 minutes, and on the line from Stirling, with trains usually every 30 minutes. Travel is about 20 minutes from Edinburgh, 45 minutes from Glasgow Queen Street, 30 minutes from Stirling. You can check timetables and buy tickets at Scotrail and similar websites.

The station is about 0.5km from either venue. If coming from Glasgow, leave the station down onto the High Street. If coming from Edinburgh, enter the shelter and use the pedestrian tunnel under the railway then leave to the High Street.

On the High Street, for the Palace, turn left, then after 200m (at the Square) turn right up to the Palace.
Or for the Low Port, turn right, then after 50m, at the mini-roundabout, go left, and the Low Port Centre is on the left at the pedestrian crossing, opposite TESCO.

FirstBus service 38 (and variants X38, 38A) operates between Edinburgh and Stirling, stopping at the Cross (very near the Palace), and at the railway station (better for the Low Port).

Yes, some people do arrive this way!

The Union Canal (SUSTRANS National Route 754) offers a fairly flat route, from Edinburgh or Falkirk. Leave the canal at the Canal Centre, ride towards the railway station but do not enter it. Instead continue down the hill then left under the railway. At the roundabout go left (to the Palace) or right (to the Low Port).

The CycleStreets website can help you plan a route from anywhere.

We have some regular visitors who come for a week or two, and enjoy the surroundings as well as our dances.

There are frequent UK and international flights to Glasgow and Edinburgh

Once you are in Scotland, you may want to hire a car to travel around and come to Scotch Hop. If you are staying in our cities or areas nearby, you can come to Linlithgow by train or bus.

Venue Details

Whenever possible, the dance will be in the Linlithgow Palace courtyard. However, as an open-air venue, there will be times when the weather will not be suitable. On these occasions we will dance indoors at the Low Port Centre.

A decision is made by 6.00pm and posted on Twitter and Facebook (see the Home tab).


The floor of the Palace Courtyard is stone paving, which may feel hard if you have soft shoes. Dancing in the open air can be a little cold.


There is limited availability of seating. Like the dancing, it is outdoors, and it can get chilly despite the shelter provided by the Palace walls. We recommend warm clothing or a blanket, especially if you may be watching more than dancing.

We kindly ask you to share seats, with each other and with elderly or disabled spectators. Also, please try not to stand in front of seated spectators during demonstrations or dances.

Wheelchair access

There is a ramp at the entrance, and some parts of the surface are uneven, but it is generally accessible to wheelchairs. Some space is reserved for wheelchairs.


There is one toilet in the Palace, reserved for the disabled. This cannot be used while tea is being served.

There are toilets in the Burgh Halls in the Kirkgate on the approach to the Palace.

The Low Port Centre is on Blackness Road opposite Tesco to the East side of town.

Entry is on the ground floor, dancing is in a large hall on the first floor.


The Low Port Centre is a large hall with a sprung floor, and usually gets very warm!


There is limited availability of seating. The venue can get very warm, especially for dancers.

We kindly ask you to share seats, with each other and with elderly or disabled spectators. Also, please try not to stand in front of seated spectators during demonstrations or dances.

We also ask you not to crowd around doorways to the hall, to allow people to pass through.

Wheelchair access

There are ramps and a lift, giving good access.

Some space is reserved for wheelchairs.


There are plenty of toilets, with facilities for the disabled. Toilets are on the ground floor, and access by the lift may be inaccessible while tea is being served.

Common Questions

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If none of these answers your questions please contact Sheila McCutcheon on +44 (0) 131 331 1528

Are beginners welcome?
Yes, it is "Scottish Dancing for All" and it attracts a wide range of abilities and nationalities! A caller will provide instructions for all of the dances. No need to do your homework on the dances beforehand!
Who goes to Linlithgow Scotch Hop?
All age groups, nationalities and abilities join in the fun. Experience it for yourself.
Do I need to buy tickets beforehand?
No, please buy them at the door on the night. If your Group is 10 or more people please telephone Sheila McCutcheon on +44 (0) 131 331 1528 or e-mail us at BEFORE the day of the event to arrange a group ticket.
Is there a band?
Yes, that is one of the attractions of the event, with some of the best Scottish Dance bands on stage.
Is there a Caller?
Yes! Our friendly and experienced caller will provide instructions for all of the dances. No need to do your homework on the dances beforehand!
How will I know whether the dancing is in the Palace or at the Low Port Centre?
We will decide by 6pm on the day of each dance, and we will post the decision on Twitter and Facebook. We use detailed local weather reports which can tell us about sudden changes of weather.
If you do not have access to Twitter or Facebook, you must decide which venue to try first - if it is raining or the sky is overcast, the dancing will probably be at the Low Port Centre. If one venue is closed then it means the dancing is in the other one. It is a 10 minute walk or 5 minute drive between the two venues.
What should I wear?
A kilt if you have one, but the dress code is casual. If the dancing is indoors it can be very warm, however in the Palace it can be cool and you may need a jersey/fleece. The Palace floor is stone paving therefore we recommend ordinary street shoes (one which will stay on). If you have Scottish Country Dancing shoes, these can be good in the Low Port Centre, but are unlikely to be suitable in the Palace.
Is there seating?
Yes, but it is limited, so we ask you to share seats with other dancers and with spectators.
Is there a licenced bar at the venue?
No, but there are plenty of bars and restaurants on Linlithgow High Street.
Disabled access?
Linlithgow Palace and the Low Port Centre have access and toilet facilities for disabled people
Can I get public transport back to Edinburgh/Glasgow or Stirling after the event?
Yes, the dancing stops in time for people to be able to get transport, but please check the timetable of the transport company.
Is there food or drink for sale?
No, but Tea and shortbread are provided free at the interval. Fresh water and fruit squash is available free at any time.
Local Restaurants / Bars
Yes - several nearby, including : Please mention Linlithgow Scotch Hop when booking.
Are there special prices for Groups?
If your Group is 10 or more people please contact Sheila McCutcheon on +44 (0) 131 331 1528 BEFORE the day of the event to arrange a group ticket.
Tourist Information for Linlithgow
If you require further information or directions or information on Linlithgow and the surrounding area please contact
What Does Linlithgow Look Like?
Here are some Web Cams around Linlithgow
  • The Cross
  • Canal Basin
  • Tourist Information for Scotland
    Where can I find out about similar events?
    Here are some resources you may find useful.
    Where can I find out more about Scottish dancing?
    Where can I get recordings of Scottish dance music?
    Many recordings are now available, in shops and online.


    Linlithgow Scotch Hop would not be possible without the contributions, now and over many years, of all sorts of people and organisations.

    Financial Help

    We are indebted to the various local and national funding bodies which have helped to make Scotch Hop possible over the years, keeping ticket prices at a level where whole families can come and enjoy it.

    This Year's Main Sponsors

    We are very grateful to West Lothian Community Arts, which has helped to fund Linlithgow Scotch Hop for many years.

    We were very grateful to Awards for All Scotland for its help in funding Linlithgow Scotch Hop in 2015.


    Many companies and organisations have helped us over the years as suppliers.

      For several years local company Paterson Arran has provided the shortbread served at the interval.

      Historic Scotland has helped us to use the Linlithgow Palace for many years. Historic Scotland became part of Historic Environment Scotland in 2015.

      We are grateful to West Lothian Council for their help with access to the toilet facilities of the Burgh Halls near the Palace.

      For many years, the Low Port Centre has been on standby each of our dance nights, in case the weather was poor enough that we needed to come indoors there. It is managed by Active West Lothian (part of West Lothian Council).

      Each year Flavell prints our thousands of flyers, posters and tickets etc.

    Volunteers and Committee

    Our volunteers, past and present, are too many to list, but they know who they are!
    They come along and give up their time on the night to do the many things that are needed in the course of an evening - to set up the chairs, drinks, stage etc, help dancers by demonstrating, counting lines, helping sets where needed, serve soft drinks throughout and and teas at the interval, then clear up at the end.

    Each night either the Army Cadets (led by Charlotte Robertson) or the Air Cadets come to help us setting out and putting away all the equipment we use, and being generally helpful - we are very grateful to them.

    We must acknowledge John Carswell, whose inspiration started Linlithgow Scotch Hop, whose perseverance kept it going over the years, whose style of calling and demonstrating dances has become familiar to so many of us, and whose advice has kept us going since. Thank You, John !
    Thank you also to Janet and the rest of John's family, for supporting him, practically and morally, through the years.

    Photos, Website

    Many people have contributed their pictures to our store of memories, some of which are included in this website. Amongst them -

    The first website was designed and hosted by Anne Garrison.

    This Website is very kindly hosted by Mike Scott who also updated it in 2014 and 2015. He also created and maintains Mike's Community, which lists ceilidhs and other events of interest to like-minded people.

    The current site was designed in 2016 by Rory Davies . The development files for the site are available on GitHub.

    The History of Scotch Hop

    Linlithgow Scotch Hop was first organised, and compered, in 1979 by John Carswell. Over the years a committee formed to help John with the increasing workload of organising the event, and running it each night. Some of the main contributors in those years were Alan and Jeanette Scott.

    In 2014, a largely fresh committee was formed to organise the event, with John advising. A further set of volunteers old and new helped each night. We were lucky to have the continuing support and guidance of Bryan McAlister, Tony and Gwen McKerron, and the Scotts.

    Starting with the 2016 season, the committee decided to convert into a SCIO, a type of Charity organisation which had only recently been formalised in law. Most of the previous Committee became Charity Trustees of the SCIO.

    About Us Now

    Since early 2016 (our 27th year), Linlithgow Scotch Hop has formally been a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), regulated by OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).

    The details of our SCIO registration are :
    Full name: Linlithgow Scotch Hop SCIO
    Charity number SCO46165

    You can find more details of what this means at the OSCR website