15 Best Day Trips from Edinburgh

Although Edinburgh itself can feel like an escape from the big city life, with its cobbled streets and serene views – there are actually plenty of really beautiful places on its doorstep that will make you feel like you are entering another world.

Picturesque coastlines and fairytale castles and all sorts of dreamy views of the plateau, the areas surrounding Edinburgh are ideal for hikers and nature lovers alike.

For some inspiration and information on the best places to get to from Edinburgh in a day, read on.

1. Loch Ness and the Highlands

Loch Ness

Steeped in mystery and beauty alike, Loch Ness is one of Edinburgh’s most popular day trips and for good reason.

Spend the day hunting for the elusive but beloved Loch Ness monster, and watch the impossible glazed waters of Glenco, whose sunsets rival those of any tropical beach.

Bus ride only from Edinburgh, in the Highlands you can wander for a whole day without seeing everything there is to see, not to mention the royal Urquhart Castle where you can learn some of the history of the area.

2. The Lammermuirs

The Marmoor couple

The Lammermuirs, which form a natural boundary between Lutian and the Borders, are a series of gracefully rolling hills that are a world away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh.

Lammermore Hills, a dream come true for landscape photographers, offer remote and heather-covered natural spaces perfect for road trips.

The long straight roads give sweeping views without interruption of the beautiful and exotic Scottish landscape that will leave you fascinated.

Although it is an ideal place for a picnic, you can also find the small village of Gifford hiding among the hills where you can have lunch at a pub.

3. Stirling

Stirling, Scotland

If you loved Edinburgh Castle then you will not miss the opportunity to visit the great and majestic Stirling Castle, which has stood on its height since the Middle Ages and has successfully withstood a number of Viking attacks.

Surrounded by forest and panoramic views of the Stirling hills and mountains, the castle is well worth a visit but you can also spend the day exploring the vast expanses of the plateau.

Known as the gateway to the Highlands, Stirling lives with both folklore and history stories, with enough to entertain nature lovers and history buffs for an entire day.

4. Border train

Border train

The train to the Scottish border departs from Edinburgh Weaverly and you will feel as if you have stepped back in time with its magnificent classic steam locomotives that are eye-catching and even more intriguing to ride.

Soak up the Scottish cinematic views of The Borders and stop at any of the magical places along the way like Glaciels or Tweedbank.

A real trip to the heart of Scotland, this is one train journey you are unlikely to forget.

5. St. Andrews

St Andrews, Scotland

Home to Scotland’s oldest university and a host of other intriguing attractions, St Andrews is a perfect day-long getaway to a quaint town full of quaint things.

If the charming variety of pubs and local shops does not occupy you, then head down to West Sands Beach for a walk along the iconic shoreline where the fire trucks were photographed.

You will also find plenty of fine dining in St Andrews, so make sure you come hungry to enjoy world class food at one of the many reputable restaurants.

6. Miss Bay

Wemyss Bay, Scotland

Wemyss Bay is a charming tradition village that originated in the Victorian period and it is easy to understand why.

The train station is the perfect embodiment of 19th century architecture and is in fact one of the most attractive and well-preserved train stations in the country.

With no shortage of spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, West Central Lowlands is a perfect getaway.

To end the contact, hop on board the ferry to Bute Island and explore the port of Rothesay.

7. St. Abs

St Abbes, Scotland

The tiny fishing village of St Abbes is about as good as a day trip from Edinburgh, providing you with the ultimate peaceful getaway that is home to some of the most stunning coastal views Scotland has to offer.

The cliffs covered with heather and land are perfect vantage points for truly spectacular photography.

Once you’re in St. Abbes, you can go surfing on some word-level waves (but remember to bring a wetsuit!) Or just enjoy the sea views, sea air and seabirds, all of which are in glorious abundance.

8. Falkirk

Falkirk, Scotland

A positive drip into the history that shaped the fate of Scotland, Falkirk is the place that saw the defeat of William Wallace in 1298. Best known for this event, it attracts history buffs and proud citizens and women alike.

Admire the Falkirk Wheel, the only rotary connector in the entire world and one that connects the Forth and Clyde canals to the Union Canal.

Other than that, allow yourself to be amazed at the largest horse sculptures on earth on the Kelpies, or just enjoy the enviable shopping places that Falkirk has to offer.

9. North Berwick

North Berwick, Scotland

A wonderfully short 30-minute train ride from Edinburgh is the picturesque coastal town of North Berwick.

Complete with everything you could want from a canonical Scottish seaside town, savor walks along the coast and enjoy ice cream, or enter the sea with a paddle board to play in the waves.

In addition to the beach, you can visit the iconic bird settlement known as Bass Rock, or for more bird tricks you can also jump to the bird center.

On top of all that, North Berwick has plenty of great cafes and restaurants spread across the city.

10. Rosaleen

Rosalyn, Scotland

Home to the iconic and beautiful Ruslin Chapel, one of the most famous holy sites in Scotland, Ruslin is a perfect getaway for those looking to explore an intriguing small town on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The 15th-century settlement is surrounded by a magical core and has its own collection of traditional Scottish pubs.

Amidst the tranquil natural surroundings and mysterious history, Rosalyn is a worthwhile day trip from Edinburgh that is easy to reach.

11. Perth

Perth, Scotland

Situated on the banks of the Pacific River, the longest river in the country, the city of Perth was once the capital of Scotland.

Having lost nothing of its former glory, Perth now boasts sights like Scone Palace and the Stone of Destiny, both of which are popular attractions for most visitors.

You will also have the opportunity to explore the Perth Museum and the Breathtaking Art Gallery, which hosts artifacts from meteorites to mummies all within the walls of the building adorned with columns and glass ceilings.

For the food lovers among you, Perth also has an enviable status of being a food shelter, so make sure you arrive hungry!

12. Windermere

Windermere, England

In less than 3 hours you will be in one of the most amazing places in the UK.

Thanks to Edinburgh’s exceptional proximity to the English border, it does not take much unreasonably long to reach Windermere, a town in the beautiful Lake District.

Here you can observe the calm waters that fill the largest lake in England, Lake Windermere.

With valleys and lookout points to soak up the panoramic views just about anywhere, you’ll want to spend more than a day exploring Windermere’s dreamy green and blue landscape.

13. Brentiland

Brentisland, Scotland

To a much closer destination that does not lose the charm of a place like the Lakes Region, hop on a train from Edinburgh and in just 35 minutes you will be on the shores of Brentisland.

A seaside town with charming pebble beaches and wooded coastline, it is the ideal place to spend the whole day or even just the afternoon given its proximity to the capital.

Full of restaurants and activities like scuba diving, this is the perfect destination for families.

14. Glasgow

Glasgow, Scotland

Although you will escape from one city to another, there is no denying that if you spend some time in Edinburgh, it is worth a visit to Scotland’s second most iconic city.

A little over an hour’s drive away, the city famous for being the inspiration for the founding film Trainspotting is home to an irresistible West End district.

Glasgow offers hipster places to eat and a forward-thinking fashion and music scene, and is an exciting place to be.

Boasting amazingly large botanical gardens and the quiet beauty of Kalvingrov Park, there is something for everyone in Glasgow.

15. Eli

Eli, Scotland

Close to the iconic St. Andrews is the even more beautiful tiny coastal town of Eli, revered by visitors, residents and locals alike for its aesthetic charm.

The golden sandy beaches and the perfectly preserved 16th century harbor attract all sorts of photographers to capture the charms of Eli’s beach.

Another popular attraction is the Eli Lighthouse which simply, has some of the most fascinating views in the country, not to mention the magical lighthouse itself.

If the mesmerizing environment on land is not enough for you then take a scenic tour on one of the many yachts in the harbor.

Golf enthusiasts among you will be happy to know that Eli offers two prestigious golf courses and a rich history of golf activities.

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