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Edinburgh to Glasgow

7 Best Day Trips from Edinburgh: Your Guide to Scotland’s Unmissable Destinations (2024)

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, is a treasure trove of culture and history. Known for its hilly terrain, with several hills and crags, the magic here knows no boundaries. From the majestic Edinburgh Castle to the medieval Old Town and the bustling Royal Mile, the city has so much to explore. However, what if these attractions fall short? Do not worry; we have the top 7 Day Trip Ideas From Edinburgh for you.

Edinburgh serves as a base for exploring Scotland’s beauty beyond its cityscape. Whether you’re an adventurous traveler or someone seeking a peaceful escape, there’s something for everyone within a day’s reach from Edinburgh.

7 Top-Rated Day Trip From Edinburg

From the Scottish Highlands’ rugged landscapes to Glasgow’s vibrant energy, and not to forget the enchantment of historic castles, you’re in for a treat. Here are some ideas for A Day Trip From Edinburgh.

1. Edinburgh to The East Lothian Beaches

On a bright sunny day, all you need is a delightful day trip from Edinburgh to the East Lothian beaches. This destination with pristine coastal gems is just a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh, approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the city. The journey takes no more than 30 to 40 minutes from the center of Edinburgh with a range of public transport options.

On arriving at the East Lothian coastline, you will come across a series of charming beaches. The most popular amongst them all is the North Berwick Beach, known for the picturesque views of the Bass Rock and the North Berwick Law. The beach is popular for sandcastle building and leisurely strolls. Another is Yellowcraigs Beach, located near Dirleton. The beach boasts golden sands, dunes, and scenic woodlands and is ideal for picnicking and beachcombing. When here, do check out the Gullane Beach, a charming village with a beautiful and clean beach. There are several golf courses to check nearby. Or head towards Belhaven Bay near Dunbar to enjoy the fresh sea breeze and some excellent surfing opportunities.

2. Edinburgh to The Lammermuirs

Another popular day trip idea from Edinburgh takes you straight towards the Lammermuir Hills. There’s no better opportunity to explore the Scottish countryside’s rugged beauty. The Lammermuir Hills are located to the southeast of Edinburgh, nearly an hour’s distance. However, the exact distance can vary depending on your destination within the hills. Generally, you can expect the hills to be around 25 to 35 miles from central Edinburgh. Driving the country roads is the best way to enjoy this picturesque route.

Lammermuir Hills are all about unspoiled, rugged landscapes. It is a perfect destination for an escape from the city, either for nature walking, hiking, or just enjoying around. The hill offers a variety of trails for enthusiasts of different fitness levels. The trails will take you through pristine streams and heather-clad moorlands, finally opening up some breathtaking viewpoints. On clear sky days, hikers can enjoy views of the countryside even as far as the North Sea. Lammermuir is also home to rich wildlife, both animals and birds. You can spot various bird species in this natural habitat, along with red deer, otters, and hares. Or check out the ancient stone circles and ruins for a glimpse of the area’s long history. However, the weather conditions at the hill can change anytime, so dress accordingly.

3. Edinburgh to Glasgow

Heading towards Glasgow is a Top-rated Day Trip Ideas From Edinburgh throughout the year. Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and a hub of culture and history. It is nestled west of Edinburgh, approximately 42 miles, and is easily accessible via private and public transport. The most convenient transport option is via train, which takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. Trains depart regularly from Edinburgh’s Waverley Station and arrive at Glasgow’s main train stations, such as Glasgow Central or Queen Street. Or, drive towards Glasgow, and it will take a little longer approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

In Glasgow, Scotland, there are plenty of things to do. Start your day by visiting the world-class Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It is home to an impressive collection of art and artifacts. Witness work by artists like Salvador Dalí and Rembrandt. Next, head to the stunning medieval landmark, the Glasgow Cathedral. The oldest building in Glasgow, it is famous for its stunning architecture and history. When here, do not miss the adjacent Glasgow Necropolis for panoramic views of the city. The Riverside Museum and Glasgow Science Centre are other popular landmarks to check out.

Also, do not miss the Lighthouse, Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture. You can climb to the top for panoramic views of Glasgow. Shopping enthusiasts can visit Buchanan Street, whereas nature lovers must check out People’s Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and Winter Gardens. And before you leave, do not miss the traditional Scottish dishes in local pubs. Enough for a day?

4. Edinburgh to Stirling Castle

Scotlands, one of the largest and most historically and architecturally important castles, you cannot simply miss in Stirling. Sitting atop an intrusive crag, Stirling Castle is approximately 39 miles (63 kilometers) northwest of Edinburgh. The journey from Edinburgh to Stirling is quite straightforward, and you can reach Stirling in about 45 minutes to 1 hour by train or car. From Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, trains depart regularly to the Stirling Station.

Once in the city, find out local transport options to reach the iconic Stirling Castle. The castle sits atop a hill (Castle Hill), and the views from the top are breathtakingly panoramic. Take your time to explore the castle’s well-preserved architecture and Scottish history. This iconic structure also connects to notable figures like Mary Queen of Scots and James VI and I. It is also used as an open-air concert venue and is open to the public year-round. If you have some time left, check out Striling’s Old Town, walk through its charming medieval streets, and admire historic buildings and quaint shops. Some popular tourist attractions here include the Church Of The Holy Rude, Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum, and Wallace Monument.

5. Edinburgh to Fort William

Another fantastic opportunity to explore Scotland’s stunning landscapes offers a trip to Fort William from Edinburgh. Fort William is located approximately 108 miles (174 kilometers) northwest of Edinburgh. The destination is accessible by train, bus, or car. The journey takes around 4 to 4.5 hours, so a long-day trip or an overnight stay will be appropriate. Trains depart from Edinburgh Waverley Station, pass through scenic Scottish countryside (including Glenfinnan Viaduct), and arrive at Fort William Station. A82 is the main road for bus and car routes that will lead you to Fort William.

Once at Fort Williams, you will come across Scotland’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a challenging hike up Ben Nevis for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lochs. Or, if you are a fan of Harry Potter, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Jacobite Steam Train ride will leave you in awe. Recognize the iconic viaduct from the Hogwarts Express scenes here. Next, climb Neptune’s Staircase and see the series of locks on the Caledonian Canal. For recreational fun, enjoy boat trips and water-based activities on the loch. Glen Coe and the Museum of West Highland are other popular tourist landmarks to explore.

6. Edinburgh to Linlithgow

Traveling from Edinburgh to Linlithgow is a short and convenient journey within Scotland. Linlithgow is towards the west of Edinburgh, just 20 miles from the city. The best way to reach here is via a quick and easy train journey. Trains run regularly from Edinburgh Waverley Station to Linlithgow Station, and the journey takes about 20 to 30 minutes. You can also take a bus or drive via the M9 motorway, though it may take a little longer.

Linlithgow is a charming historic town known for its picturesque surroundings and notable attractions. When here, start your day by visiting Linlithgow Palace, a popular attraction, originally the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Explore the impressive courtyard ruins and enjoy overlooking Linlithgow Loch. Next, head to St. Michael’s Parish Church for its stunning architecture and rich history. Check out the Linlithgow Loch for a boat ride or a peaceful walk. The Linlithgow Canal Centre is another exciting place if you want to enjoy a boat trip or learn the history of the Union Canal. The Linlithgow Museum and the Town Center for shopping and dining are worth it.

7. Edinburgh to St. Abbs

Last but not the least is a day trip from Edinburgh to St. Abbs. This opportunity to explore a picturesque coastal village and its stunning natural surroundings is worth it. St. Abbsis is located approximately 46 miles southeast of Edinburgh. It is accessible by car or a combination of train and bus. The journey takes 1.5 to 2 hours, depending upon the route and mode of transportation. Ride a train from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed or a bus from Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Once you arrive in St. Abbs, you’ll be greeted by a charming coastal village. First, checkout Abbs Harbour, watch fishing boats, and enjoy the coastal atmosphere. Next, head towards St. Abbs Head, a stunning nature reserve popular for rugged cliffs, seabird colonies, and coastal walks. Visitors can also enjoy diving in clear waters and underwater marine life. You can arrange diving excursions with local dive operators. To relax and rejuvenate, visit quaint cafes and shops for local treats. Before ending the day, check out St. Abbs Visitor Center and John Muir Way as well.

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