The Scottish capital of Edinburgh is a great place to visit in its own right. With tons of historic monuments, fascinating Scottish culture, and one of the world's biggest performing arts festivals, it's hard to get bored in this atmospheric city.
But Scotland is a relatively small country, meaning there are tons of fascinating locations you can easily explore on the best day trips from Edinburgh. It would be a shame not to see some of these iconic destinations while you're in the area, and if you drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Edinburgh, it will be much easier to set out on these exciting day trips and see more of this unique country.
Once you've visited the best museums in Edinburgh and tried all the delicious food the city has to offer, there's much more to see and do in this part of Scotland. Try some of these day trips from Edinburgh to see the best of what this northern country has to offer.
How to get out of Edinburgh
Depending on where you want to go, you have a variety of options for the best day trips from Edinburgh. Edinburgh's Waverly train station is one of the biggest and busiest in Scotland, and it functions as a regional as well as a local public transportation hub. If you're wondering how to get around Edinburgh, check out our guide on the city's public transit system. But if you're looking to go a little further on a day trip, a train from Edinburgh can take you to some great locations throughout Scotland and across the UK.
On the other hand, part of what makes Scotland so special is its wealth of protected parkland. To visit these more rural areas, a better solution might be to rent a car. Driving in Edinburgh is no picnic, but once you get out of the city, it shouldn't be too big of a challenge. Just remember that Scotland, like the rest of the UK, drives on the other side of the road than most of the world, so stay alert while you explore.
From Edinburgh to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Just an hour's drive from Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is one of the most stunning places in Scotland. This beautiful area is home to towering mountains, pristine lochs, and verdant forests. It's easy to see why this was the inspiration for so many Scottish myths and legends.
There are tons of different activities to do here, depending on your interests. Hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking are all popular pastimes in the park. Or you can just relax in the natural beauty of the landscape.
This national park is also a great place to see some of Scotland's unique wildlife, including red deer, red squirrels, otters, and golden eagles.
If you're interested in history, there are also a number of important historical sites in the park, including the ruins of medieval castles and old battlegrounds.
No matter what you're looking for, a day trip to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Scotland.
How to get to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
It's only around an hour's drive from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond. You can also get a dedicated bus, but it will take almost four hours to get there. The train is quicker at around two hours and 20 minutes, but once you're in the National Park itself, it can be helpful to have a car so that you can design your own trip.
From Edinburgh to St Andrews
For golf lovers, a day trip from Edinburgh to the home of golf is a must. St Andrews is not only the birthplace of golf, but it's also one of the most prestigious golfing locations in the world. Even if you're not into golf, this pretty seaside town is worth a visit.
There are several courses open to visitors, but even if you don't want to play, you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery. Take a walk along the coast or explore the town's medieval streets.
If you are interested in golf, there are a number of different ways to experience the game here. You can take a lesson from one of the local pros, play a round at one of the famous courses, or just watch others play.
No matter what your interests are, St Andrews is a great place to spend a day away from Edinburgh. Easily one of the best day trips from Edinburgh for golf lovers, it also has plenty to offer those less interested in the sport.
How to get to St Andrews
You can catch a train from Edinburgh to Leuchars, then a bus from there to St Andrews. This is just as quick as driving since it will take around an hour and a half either way.
From Edinburgh to Glasgow
Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, and it's only about an hour away from Edinburgh by train. This vibrant metropolis is full of interesting architecture, world-class museums, and delicious food. It's also home to a lively nightlife scene.
There are too many things to see and do in Glasgow to list them all here, but some of the highlights include the Glasgow Cathedral, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and the Riverside Museum.
If you're a fan of shopping, Glasgow is also a great place to buy Scottish woolens and other traditional crafts. And be sure to try some of the local cuisine like haggis, a Scottish dish made from sheep's stomach.
A day trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow is the perfect way to experience all that Scotland's largest city has to offer.
How to get to Glasgow
The best way to get from Edinburgh to Glasgow is by train. Dozens of trains leave daily, with the direct service taking less than an hour. Not only is that quicker than driving, which will take around an hour and 20 minutes without traffic, but it means you won't have to worry about where to park when you reach the city.
From Edinburgh to Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle is one of the most impressive castles in the United Kingdom. This imposing structure has been home to the Duke of Northumberland's family for centuries, and it's now open to visitors from all over the world.
The castle grounds are huge, so there's plenty to explore. Be sure to visit the gardens, which are some of the most beautiful in Britain. And if you're feeling brave, you can even participate in a falconry demonstration.
Alnwick Castle is also a great place to learn about British history. There are a number of exhibits and displays that tell the story of this fascinating place.
A day trip from Edinburgh to Alnwick Castle is an excellent way to experience some of Britain's best history and architecture.
How to get to Alnwick Castle
You can reach the castle in around an hour and a half from Edinburgh by train and bus. That's slightly quicker than driving, which will take almost two hours.
From Edinburgh to North Berwick and Bass Rock
North Berwick is a pretty seaside town located about an hour away from Edinburgh. This is a great place to enjoy some of Scotland's beautiful coastline. There are plenty of things to do here, including golf, fishing, and exploring the town's quaint streets.
But the real highlight of North Berwick is Bass Rock. This small island is home to a massive colony of gannets, a type of seabird. It's an incredible sight to see, and it's definitely one of the most unique places in Scotland. No wonder the Scottish Seabird Centre is located here.
You can take a boat tour from North Berwick to get up close and personal with the birds on one of the best day trips from Edinburgh, or just enjoy the views from shore. Either way, a trip to North Berwick is sure to be a memorable one.
How to get to North Berwick
A 50-minute drive will get you from the city to this more rural location. You can also take the train, which is a little quicker at only 35 minutes.
From Edinburgh to Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is located in the Scottish Highlands, and it's one of the best places in the country to enjoy some of Scotland's incredible scenery. This huge park is home to mountains, forests, rivers, and lochs. There are also a number of different wildlife species that call this place home.
There are plenty of things to do in the Cairngorms National Park, no matter what time of year it is. In the winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding at one of the area's many resorts. And in the summer, there are hiking trails and other outdoor activities to enjoy.
How to get to Cairngorms National Park
You'll want to drive to this one. A collection of trains and buses can get you to the edge of the park but could take four hours or more. On the other hand, driving will take around three hours, and having a car with you is handy so you can explore the park further.
From Edinburgh to Loch Ness
Of course, Scottish destinations don't come much more iconic than the mysterious Loch Ness. This is one of the best day trips from Edinburgh for anyone with an interest in the supernatural tales of the lake's resident monster. It's also a fantastic place to explore more of the beautiful Scottish scenery.
Loch Ness is huge, so there's plenty to see and do. You can take a boat tour of the lake, go fishing, or just enjoy the views from the shore. There are also a number of different museums and visitor centers in the area that tell the story of the Loch Ness monster.
Whether you're looking for history, mystery, or just some stunning scenery, a day trip from Edinburgh to Loch Ness is sure to be an enjoyable one.
How to get to Loch Ness
This is pushing it a little for a day trip, but it's such an iconic location that it is worth considering. It's a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Edinburgh to Loch Ness, and if you don't want to drive yourself, you could take a tour bus.
From Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders is an area of Scotland that's often overlooked by tourists. But this region has a lot to offer, from picturesque towns and villages to some of the country's best walking and cycling routes.
The Borders is also home to a number of different castles, including Floors Castle, which is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland. This is an excellent place to learn about Scottish history and architecture. There's also the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian's Wall, one of the most dramatic Roman ruins in Britain, that makes the Scottish Borders well worth visiting.
The Scottish Borders is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh. And with so much to see and do, it's easy to spend a day or two exploring all this region offers.
How to get to the Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders are a large region, so this is definitely a trip you'll want to do by car. You can reach the Borders in only an hour of driving from Edinburgh.
From Edinburgh to the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands is an area of Scotland that's renowned for its stunning scenery. This is a great place to enjoy some of the best views in the country, as well as plenty of outdoor activities.
There are a number of different towns and villages in the Highlands, each with its unique charm. There's also a variety of different castles and historic sites to explore. And, of course, no trip to the Highlands would be complete without taking in some of the breathtaking scenery.
Whether you're looking for history, culture, or just some time in nature, a day trip from Edinburgh to the Scottish Highlands is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
How to get to the Scottish Highlands
This is another one you'll want to drive to since having a car with you will enable you to see more of this isolated region. It's around a three-hour drive to reach the Highlands from Edinburgh, so you might want to consider staying a night to make it worthwhile.
From Edinburgh to Linlithgow
Famous for Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, this town makes for a great day trip from Edinburgh. Highlights of a visit to Linlithgow include exploring the palace, taking a boat ride on the loch, and visiting the many shops and restaurants in the town center.
Linlithgow is also home to a number of different events throughout the year, including the annual Linlithgow Folk Festival and the Linlithgow Marches. So no matter when you visit, there's sure to be something going on.
How to get to Linlithgow
One of the easier day trip destinations to reach from the city, Linlithgow is less than an hour away from Edinburgh by car. You can also get there by train, which takes as little as 20 minutes.
From Edinburgh to Rosslyn Chapel
For the best day trip from Edinburgh for fans of history and of conspiracies, visit Rosslyn Chapel. Made famous by the book and movie The Da Vinci Code, this ornate and atmospheric Chapel has been linked to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail.
Rosslyn Chapel is a fascinating place to explore, and even if you don't buy into the conspiracy theories, it's still an impressive example of medieval architecture.
A day trip from Edinburgh to Rosslyn Chapel is an excellent way to learn more about Scottish history and culture. And who knows, you might just find yourself at the center of a real-life mystery.
How to get to Rosslyn Chapel
This is another easy trip. Around 30 minutes by car or 45 minutes by bus, Rosslyn Chapel is one of the easiest day trips from Edinburgh you can take, so it's definitely worth considering.
The best day trips from Edinburgh can show you the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands, the beauty of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the hustle and bustle of Glasgow, and the enchanting mystery of Loch Ness. Really, whatever direction you head out from Edinburgh in, you're likely to have a great day trip and come home with some memorable stories to tell. Leave your bags behind and explore more of what Scotland has to offer on one of these fantastic day trips from Edinburgh.