Are you wondering what are the best day trips from Glasgow, Scotland that you can do while you are visiting this Scottish city? I have been to Glasgow a number of times, and even if the city is full of activities and places to visit it is always nice to venture out for a day trip.
Glasgow is a popular tourist destination today, but there is also a lot to see outside the city limits, making it the ideal starting point for day trips to explore the region. With stunning, untamed scenery that can only be found in Scotland, the nearby highlands beg to be explored.
Within a short drive, there are lochs, glens, and high mountain scenery. While it’s still simple to travel further afield and visit the historic cities of Edinburgh, Stirling, and even Dundee to learn more about Scottish history and traditions, the Scottish Isles are located off the coast and many are only a short boat ride away.
I wrote another article if you want to know more about Ways How to Get from London to Glasgow, Scotland. Alternatively, you can also check this transport guide from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Glasgow is the ideal starting point for amazing day trips exploring the rest of Scotland and for having some incredible highland adventures.
Read more: Best Things to do in Glasgow (Scotland)
Best Day Trips From Glasgow, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital and seat of government, is a must-see on any visit to the country. Edinburgh is a stunning, historic city with a rich local culture that is only an hour away by bus, train, or car.
Edinburgh is undoubtedly a popular tourist destination and frequently the starting point of a trip to Scotland. There are numerous things to do in the city early in the morning, all day, and well into the night. There are also a ton of free activities on this lengthy list of attractions.
The world-famous Royal Mile can be walked along with visiting some of the best museums in the nation, in addition to many other free activities. Royal gardens, centuries-old churches, and Arthur’s Seat, which offers stunning views, are some other free attractions in Edinburgh. These all-free attractions present various facets of Edinburgh’s artistic, cultural, and family-friendly offerings.
Interested in Edinburgh? Check out the best things to do in Edinburgh.
2. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is undoubtedly one of the most well-liked day trips from Glasgow.
Loch Lomond is a great day trip destination because it is only about a 40-minute drive from Glasgow’s downtown. There are other lochs like Loch Katrine where you can take a steam boat across the lake for lovely sightseeing opportunities, in addition to Loch Lomond itself, which is surrounded by lovely villages like Luss.
More than 30 kilometers long and only a few kilometers wide, Loch Lomond is a long freshwater lake. The word “loch” is used to refer to lakes, and Loch Lomond is not only one of the most beautiful lakes in Scotland but also in the entire United Kingdom.
The islands, which are a rarity in the British Isles and number about thirty, are what make this loch so spectacular, not the lake itself. Kayaking, motorboating, and other activities are available along Loch Lomond’s waterways and channels, making it a hub for watersports in the area. The Scottish wonderland of Loch Lomond is only a short day trip from Glasgow.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are indeed really beautiful, but did you know there are other worth visiting National Parks in the UK? Check them out here.
Falkirk, located in Scotland’s Central Lowlands, is a tourist-friendly city with a laid-back vibe, lovely surroundings, and a ton of things to do. It is the location of the Falkirk Wheel, The Helix and The Kelpies, three well-known Scottish tourist attractions. Just to see these enormous attractions are worth the trip.
But Falkirk is much more than just enormous Clydesdale horses and amazing engineering. The town center of the city is bustling with shops, eateries, and opportunities for people-watching. It is a vibrant and historic area. Falkirk also makes it simple to enjoy the beautiful scenery, with a lot of parklands and outdoor recreation areas.
A longer trip through Scotland frequently includes a stop in Falkirk. On their long journeys through Central Scotland, the John Muir Way and the Forth & Clyde Canal towpath pass through the city. If you’re taking one of these long routes, schedule some time in Falkirk so you can rest and explore.
Stirling, like Perth, is situated in the center of Scotland, where the highlands and lowlands converge. Stirling, the birthplace of numerous Scottish Kings throughout the ages, including King David I, is equally significant historically.
Fantastic city with both historical and contemporary attractions. The city is situated at a point where Scotland’s highlands and lowlands meet thanks to the River Forth. Due to its position as a gateway, Stirling gained significance in Scottish history, where kings fought for control of the city.
This area was featured in Braveheart. During the Scottish Independence Wars under the command of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, fierce battles were fought nearby, including the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Stirling Castle, which towers over the rest of the city, is arguably its most distinctive feature. One of the most important castles in Scottish history in terms of culture is this well-known one. It provides hours of enjoyment and exploration and is currently the city’s most well-liked tourist destination.
But Stirling also has a lot of contemporary attractions and things to do. The city’s Lower Town, located below the castle, has a wide variety of stores, eateries, and modern amenities. Stirling’s blend of the old and new results in wonderful vacation memories and unforgettable Scottish adventures.
Stirling is the best place to go if you want to learn about Scottish history.
Whether traveling by train or by car, it only takes three and a half hours to get from Glasgow to Inverness. Any visitor to Scotland must visit the Inverness Castle. The magnificent castle looks out over the River Ness from a cliff. Even though the entire castle isn’t accessible to the public, you can still explore some of the grounds and climb the North Tower for an amazing view.
The Inverness Cathedral welcomes visitors every day. Amid the 1800s, the Cathedral was constructed. If you want to attend a mass in this stunning building made of red Taradale stone, this is the place to do it because it is an active house of worship.
Leakey’s Bookshop is an absolute gem. It’s easy to lose track of time in a massive used bookstore that is crammed with books from floor to ceiling. This is the coolest place to be for all readers and bohemian types out there.
There are a lot of things to do in Inverness that travellers recommend. If you are interested, I wrote another article about the best things to do in Inverness.
6. Loch Ness and Drumnadrochit
One of the most infamous locations in Scotland is likely Loch Ness. It’s a good three hours north of Glasgow, up in the mountains close to Inverness, but the long drive and early rise are worth it to see this legendary location.
If you don’t feel like driving yourself, there are many companies that offer day trips. The Loch Ness Monster legend is the main draw to this stunning loch, which is the second-largest in the UK after Loch Lomond.
The village of Drumnadrochit, which is located on the A82 and is one of the Loch Ness villages, is another. It is conveniently accessible by car or public transportation from Inverness. From Inverness, it takes 25 to 30 minutes to get there. This village, also known as the “home of Nessie,” is most well-known for its association with the Loch Ness Monster legend.
Drumnadrochit, located close to Inverness, is a fantastic day trip destination with attractions like the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre, Nessieland, and Urquhart Castle. Enjoy a leisurely lunch or coffee while looking out over The Green and soak up the atmosphere of this charming little historic village.
7. Isle of Arran
Despite being only 267 square kilometers in size, the lovely Isle of Arran is home to numerous examples of what makes Scotland one of the most well-liked tourist destinations in the world. Because of this, the island has acquired the moniker “Scotland in Miniature.”
Arran is distinguished by magnificent mountains, moorland, sandy beaches, an abundance of wildlife, castles, and fishing harbours and is only a one-hour ferry ride from Ardrossan, which is itself a simple train trip from Glasgow. It has three excellent golf courses and is a well-known golfing destination.
Arran is also a walker’s paradise, and buses travel frequently between the island’s various tourist attractions and the ferry terminal at Brodick. Despite the fact that the top attractions on Arran, such as Brodick Castle and Goat Fell mountain (873 meters), can be seen in a day (including the ferry ride), you should spend at least a few days touring this wonderful region of Scotland.
8. Balmoral Castle and Estates
Although the first residence at Balmoral is thought to have been constructed in 1390, the estate didn’t become part of the British royal family until 1852, when Prince Albert bought it as a present for his wife, Queen Victoria, who adored the Scottish countryside. But the royal couple built an additional castle—the one that still stands today—to accommodate their expanding family when the home was judged to be too small.
In 1856, the replacement building was finished, and the earlier one was demolished. Now, there are 150 buildings total on the 50,000-acre estate.
Balmoral was the location of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s less-than-romantic honeymoon in more recent royal history. Additionally, it was there that Princes Harry and William were informed of their mother’s tragic passing in 1997. Moreover, Queen Elizabeth chose to stay at Balmoral in 2022 rather than travel to London’s Buckingham Palace to name Liz Truss as the new prime minister.
Nothing about the royal family is inconsistent. Before she passed away, Queen Elizabeth II made the yearly pilgrimage to Scotland’s north at the end of each summer to spend several weeks on vacation at Balmoral Castle. On September 11, 2022, her coffin left the estate to begin its final journey back to London and then to Windsor Castle. She died there on September 8, 2022.
9. Melrose Abbey
One of the four magnificent abbeys in the Scottish Borders is located in Melrose. The four, Melrose, Dryburgh, Jedburgh, and Kelso, were all established in the 12th century and are representative of Scottish medieval Christian monasticism. Over the years, they were constructed, attacked, and rebuilt, but today they are in ruins.
The best-preserved and most well-known abbey in the Borders is Melrose Abbey. It is a beautiful example of Scottish architecture and is notable for its beautifully preserved figure sculptures. The abbey suffered significant harm on numerous occasions throughout history, but after an attack by the English armies in 1544, it was never fully restored.
The embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce was interred at the abbey, which is perhaps best known for that fact. A round stone with a heart and the Scottish saltire carved into it marks the location of the burial. “A noble hart may have nane ease, gif freedom failye,” the inscription reads.
Visitors are free to roam the abbey grounds, explore the remaining walls and arches, and even scale the roof to get a better view. There are signs all over the place that describe what parts of the historic abbey you are standing on and what activities would have taken place there during monastic life hundreds of years ago.
Aside from Melrose Abbey, there are a lot of things to do in the Scottish Borders, and you may check them out here.
The city of Dundee is located two hours northeast of Glasgow, and it is well worth the trip just to see the peculiar statue of Desperate Dan from British comic books that takes center stage in the city. Dundee is located in the Scottish Highlands. The comic book character Desperate Dan is considered to be Dundee’s protector, and the city takes great pride in the fact that he was created there.
In addition to this, Dundee has a fascinating maritime history that is intertwined with the history of the British Isles. There is a museum that is devoted to Captain Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic. This ship was just one of the many thousands of vessels that were constructed along this Scottish coast during the heyday of boat construction.
11. St. Andrew
The oldest university in Scotland is located in St Andrews. One of the most significant locations in Scottish history is situated here, northeast of Glasgow on the coast above Edinburgh; it also plays a crucial role in modern Scotland, where its enormous and well-known University is still in operation.
The most notable aspect of St. Andrews is that it is regarded as Scotland’s “home of golf.” There is much more to the location than just the award-winning championship golf courses, though.
St. Andrews, located on Scotland’s east coast north of Edinburgh, is home to a sizable cathedral, a crumbling castle, some nice beaches, a quaint working harbor, and a kid-friendly aquarium that is ideal for families.
In addition, you receive some of Scotland’s best fish and chips (make sure you throw on plenty of salt and vinegar). Even better, it has a golf museum, which is ideal if you simply cannot get enough of pitching and putting.
Add Aberdeen to your itinerary if you’re planning a day trip from Glasgow, Scotland. Even though it is frequently overshadowed by Edinburgh and Glasgow, Aberdeen has a lot to offer tourists.
The city of Aberdeen is simple to navigate on foot and by public transportation. You can explore the sights in the city center on foot.
The Gordon Highlanders Museum, the University of Aberdeen, Footdee, and other locations outside the city center are all conveniently accessible by public transportation, taxi, or private vehicle.
The city has some amazing architecture, but you absolutely must visit Old Aberdeen. The 1495-founded university King’s College is a popular destination for tourists. You should also go to nearby Powis Gate Towers, St. Machar’s Cathedral, and The Spittal.
Just a little ways outside of Old Aberdeen, through Seaton Park, is the Brig O’Balgownie, a historic crossing (a brig meaning bridge in Scots). One of Scotland’s oldest bridges, it is a lovely piece of history tucked away in a suburb.
13. Fort William
You have a choice between a two-and-a-half-hour drive or a three-hour train ride to get to Fort William.
In Fort William, skiing down the Nevis Mountain Rage is a must. The ski resort is well-known for biking during the summer and skiing during the winter, which runs from December through April. Additionally, gondola rides and tree climbing are options.
Visit the Ben Nevis Distillery to try some authentic Scottish whiskey. They have highland cows in their parking lot as an added bonus, making it the ideal location for a good photo.
There is no way you could complete the Great Glen Way in a single day. The distance between Fort William and Inverness is 125 kilometres. However, it will be breathtaking and satisfying to meander up the path for a few hours.
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