One of Scotland’s newest attractions and most certainly becoming a famous Scottish landmark, the Kelpies are a must see. If you’re looking for a guide to visiting the Kelpies when in Scotland then this post is for you.
I used to live in Falkirk but left a couple of years before the Kelpies arrived. It’s a fairly overlooked area of Central Scotland so I’ve been really pleased that it, alongside the Falkirk Wheel, have started to put the area on the map. Last time we visited we *had* to pop by to see these sculptures up close!
And what an amazing sight to see too! They are a stunning piece of workmanship and you honestly can’t help but smile when you see them.
Want to get someone else to drive? This tour from Edinburgh will get you to see the Kelpies easily!
Where are the Kelpies in Scotland?
The Kelpies sculpture is situated between Falkirk and Grangemouth in central Scotland. They are almost equidistant between Edinburgh and Glasgow, about 30 miles away, and so make a great day out from either city.
About the Kelpies – myth and monument
If you’re wondering why these sculptures are referred to as Kelpies and not just horses then you might not know that Kelpies are actually a piece of Scottish folklore.
Kelpies are said to be water spirits, living in Scotland’s many lochs, (including Loch Ness) which would often take on the form of a horse. They could change into human form and as they were sometimes looking for human companionship they would encourage people to go with them. If you touched the kelpie often you would stick to it and you’d drown as the kelpie took you beneath the water.
To be honest, they are not the happiest of tales! Kelpie myths included drownings, entrails being left on the shoreside and people trying to cut off their hands and fingers to avoid being taken into the water. Hmm.
Perhaps that’s why the sculptures are so enticing to us to visit then? Perhaps they have embodied the kelpie water spirit to attract and seek out humans?
The actual monument is a dedicated to horse powered heritage throughout Scotland’s history and the kelpie name just brings in nicely that myth that Scottish folklore is so full of.
One fun fact I love is that they were modelled on actual Clydesdale horses called Duke and Baron!
Is it free to visit the Kelpies?
Yes! The whole area around the Kelpies is free of charge to visit.
There’s a charge if you want to do a tour inside the sculptures, although it’s fairly inexpensive really.
What can you do at the Kelpies?
The Kelpies are in a large parkland area called Helix which goes between both Falkirk and Grangemouth. As such there’s a lot of outside space for walking, running, cycling or just setting up and having a picnic!
The canal provides nice flat walking opportunities and a chance to see some colourful boats up close too!
You can get up close to the Kelpies and if you want to you can also go on a tour to see inside (see below). If you’re there in the evening you might also see the lights come on and light them up!
Whenever you come and visit selfies are a must – they are just so photogenic!
If you’re hungry or looking for souvenirs then the visitor centre is the place to head to. It has a gift shop and cafe inside with amazing views of those Kelpies!
If you’re traveling with kids then they can let off steam in the adventure playground and there’s even a water play that is open on weekends and local school holidays (you might want to check before heading if it will be open).
Can you go inside the Kelpies?
Yes, you’re able to go inside the Kelpies but only as part of an organised, and paid, tour. I haven’t done the tour myself yet so can’t comment on if it’s worth it.
You can book online the tours that run daily between 11am and 2pm however if you’re here outside of those times you may still find some running that you can book in person.
The tours last 15 mins and cost around £6.50 per adult (correct as at May 2022).
Are dogs allowed?
The whole area is dog friendly – we took our dog Annie who loved it! They cannot go inside the visitor centre though.
How to get there
Coming to visit the Kelpies by car is really easy. It’s located just off the M9 motorway (and you can see them if you’re driving along this motorway too!) and well signposted – look out for the brown signs.
There are two fairly big car parks so plenty of room – however if you want there’s also the option of parking at Falkirk Football Club car park and walking to the park. (check there’s not a game on though!)
The Helix car park is free but the Kelpie car park has a small charge.
If you’re travelling by motorhome you can also stay overnight in the Helix car park (there is a charge though) – a great one to keep in mind if you’re looking for a stop and you get the advantage of seeing the Kelpies all lit up at night!
If you’re looking to get here from Glasgow or Edinburgh by public transport then the train to Falkirk Grahamston station is probably best. It takes 35 mins from Edinburgh and just under an hour from Glasgow.
From the Falkirk train station you can also get a bus to the Kelpies or walk to them. It’s just over 2 miles and takes around 45 -60 mins.
For train times and to book tickets I always use Trainline which is a really easy to use website.
There are a few tours around that will incorporate a trip to the Kelpies amongst some other sight seeing. They are a great way to see a lot when you don’t have your own transport!
If you’re interested in a guided tour, check this one out:
- Loch Lomond, Stirling and Kelpies tour (From Edinburgh)