The Best Day Trips From Edinburgh (Scotland)

Looking for day trips from Edinburgh, Scotland? If you are planning to venture out of Edinburgh for a day, I recommend visiting these places in the UK, for a worry-free train journey or self-drive. Most of these day trips are not more than 3 hours away from Edinburgh. So remember to include this in your UK itinerary.

From the fairytale castles down to the tranquil views, day trips from Edinburgh are worth visiting.

Read More: Edinburgh Attractions: What To Do In Edinburgh For Fun Weekend Breaks

Here are our best day trips from Edinburgh

1. Glasgow

Glasgow is a port city that straddles the River Clyde. It is located in the western lowlands region of Scotland. The city is best known for its art nouveau and Victorian architecture. When you explore Glasgow, you can also see remnants of its historical legacy as a shipbuilding and trading centre from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Glasgow is a cultural hub of Scotland. It is one of the best destinations for day trips from Edinburgh for those looking for cultural activities or sights. For a great experience, you need to visit the Glasgow Cathedral, Riverside Museum, and the Gallery of Modern Art. Other must-see attractions include the Glasgow Necropolis or George Square, which is filled with statues of famous Scots throughout history.

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2. Hadrian’s Wall and Carlisle

For the best day tours from Edinburgh, you must head to Hadrian’s Wall and Carlisle. The former is steeped in history since it is home to a number of historical attractions such as Hadrian’s Wall.

Carlisle is known as a vibrant border city that is bustling with attractions such as museums, galleries, pubs, theatres, and more. It is the location of many historical battles between the English and Scots. It was also besieged multiple times throughout history. Carlisle Castle served as an important part of the city’s defence during the war-torn era, which is why it is a great historical landmark to visit.

Hadrian’s Wall is another notable historical landmark in Carlisle. There are tours from Edinburgh to Hadrian’s Wall for those who want to explore it and learn about the history of this defensive fortification.

3. Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

If you would like to experience Highland tours from Edinburgh, there are two destinations that you cannot miss.

The first one is Loch Ness. It is a large and deep freshwater loch (lake) located in the Scottish Highlands. It is best known for the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. Be in awe as you marvel at the sight of this incredible lake that is home to many ancient mysteries and monster myths.

Cruise excursion in Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle is another must-see destination if you visit the countryside of Scotland. It is not only known as one of the best destinations for day trips from Edinburgh, but it is also one of the country’s top attractions. This castle is located beside the legendary Loch Ness. The castle was built anywhere from the 13th to 16th centuries, but the overall state of the building is well preserved. As you walk through the ruins, relive over 1,000 years of history and get a glimpse of medieval life.

Read More: Cruise Excursion Day Trip to Loch Ness and Uruquart Castle (Scotland)

4. Inverness

Inverness is another city located in the Scottish Highlands. Make it part of your day tours from Edinburgh so you can discover more about the cultural capital of this area. The city is rich in history and culture, which is evidenced by the tourist attractions that are waiting for you to discover.

Inverness Castle is one destination that you simply cannot miss. Built in 1836, this stately fortress castle is made of red sandstone and it has an overlooking view of the cliffs. The building is also surrounded by a lush garden that is open to the public. Aside from the castle, make sure to stop by the Inverness Cathedral, Eden Court Inverness, and the Ness Islands.

Read More: Top Scottish Islands To Visit For A Perfect Highland Adventure

5. Loch Lomond

Another destination to add to your Scottish Highlands day tour from Edinburgh is Loch Lomond. This is another must-see lake, which is part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The park is known for its stunning natural beauty. You can marvel at the sight of the woodlands and red deer that roam the grounds.

The lake is also filled with footpaths and cycling trails. You can venture to explore these trails to be rewarded with even more picturesque natural views of the Scottish countryside.

6. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland in terms of history and architecture. It is also the top attraction of the most sought-after Edinburgh day trips. It is located atop the Castle Hill that is part of the Stirling Sill geological formation.

The castle served an important role in the formation of the kingdom of Scotland. It served as a royal residence and was critical in establishing the monarch’s stronghold in the country. The castle is open to tourists for a fee of £16.00 for adults. Opening times for the castle tours vary depending on the time of year you visit.

Read More: Beautiful Castles and Palaces to Visit in the UK (England, Scotland and Wales)

7. The Kelpies

If you are looking for unique day trips from Edinburgh, head to the Kelpies. This tourist attraction features a 30-metre-high horse head sculpture. 

This object of art was built as part of the Forth and Clyde Canal. It is next to the River Cannon, and within the Helix, which is a parkland project in Scotland. It is known as the largest equine sculpture ever built.  

8. Kingdom of Fife and St. Andrews

The Kingdom of Fife and St. Andrews is another highlight to include in the best road trips from Edinburgh. The Kingdom of Fife is known as the ancestral home of the monarchs of Scotland. It is also popular for its scenic attractions and golf resorts. The Fife coast offers a distinct identity and a unique experience to its visitors. 

While this region is small, it offers a combination of a semi-industrial and rural feel. While exploring the area, make sure to check out the Forth Bridge, Falkland, and St. Andrews. From golf to beaches, as well as castle ruins, you can find them all here.

Read more: UK Driving Tips for Visitors for a Roadtrip Adventure

9. Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders is one of the council areas of Scotland (there are 32 in total). It is filled with various tourist attractions for people of all ages and interests. The highlight of your visit to the Scottish Borders region includes a trip to Melrose Abbey. The 14th-century monastic ruins are the burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart. There is also a museum that you can visit inside this Cistercian monastery.

Traquair House is a 12th-century stately home or castle boasting of three elegant rooms, craft workshops, and a brewery. There are also numerous events held within the castle at various times of the year. For those looking for natural and scenic beauty, make sure to check out St. Abb’s Head and the Pentland Hills during your Edinburgh day trips.

I hope that inspired you to see more of the scenic beauty of Scotland.

Have you been to any of these places as a day trip from Edinburgh?
Share your travel experience in the comment box below.

best day trips from Edinburgh Scotland


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Everything Zany Travel Blog exploring the UK and beyond. Sharing travel guides, tips, history and culture. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Birmingham, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visas and travel guides for travellers. Join us as we travel around the UK and beyond with a mission to share the best of the world.

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