Scotland’s capital is full to the rim of things to do and see for all age groups, it doesn’t matter if you are obsessed with food, long walks, sport, history, art or anything else you can think of Edinburgh has it all. But should you want to see what lies outside the city boundaries, then your options are plentiful. With Edinburgh’s central location you might be surprised at what you can visit in a day, from pretty coastal communities to iconic Highland landscapes.
You’ve got options on how to travel too – hop on public transport, take your own vehicle or hire a car, or join a tour.
Here are some ideas of incredible days out from Edinburgh.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! Tour operators run small coach trips from Edinburgh and really know how to make the most of a day out from the city, and the friendly guides are always eager to share lots of insightful local information. Companies include Haggis Adventures, Timberbush Tours, Highland Experience, Rabbies, Gray Line Tours, and Highland Explorer Tours.
Head south of the city to the spellbinding Rosslyn Chapel, featured in the blockbuster film, The Da Vinci Code, and then see the charming landscapes of the Scottish Borders. Or, you could book a guided tour to the historic town of St Andrews, lying north of Edinburgh in Fife, to take in its impressive beaches and the crumbling ruins of its cathedral.
Guided tours go from Edinburgh to the Highlands, where you’ll find jaw-dropping locations at the likes of Glencoe and Loch Ness. Or opt for a tour which takes in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and a stop to see the mighty Kelpies by Andy Scott, two huge horse-head sculptures. Should you be keen to try whisky at its source, choose a day tour which includes a visit to a distillery – slàinte mhath!
By Public Transport
Edinburgh is very well connected by train and bus so there’s a lot of choice for a day out using public transport. At Waverley Station, hop on a train to the charming town of North Berwick and in 30 minutes you could be gearing up for a paddle at the shoreline, or seaside ice cream!
A half an hour train journey in the opposite direction will take you to Linlithgow, where you can visit the beautiful ruin of Linlithgow Palace. For a history-packed day, jump back on the train and get off at Stirling to explore this city’s incredible castle and other historic attractions.
Follow Scotland’s newest railway line on the Borders Railway to discover the many delights of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. Or, you could compare and contrast Scotland’s two largest cities and make your way west to enjoy shopping, culture, and the unique buzz of Glasgow.
With the freedom of a car, you can visit any of the places which you can reach by tour bus or public transport, but there are also other great routes for a mini road trip. You could follow one of the National Tourist Routes; the Forth Valley Tourist Route takes in a whole host of top attractions, including the Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre.
Cross Scotland’s latest engineering wonder, the Queensferry Crossing, which spans the Firth of Forth and connects Edinburgh with Fife. For some fresh sea air, join the Fife Coastal Route and cover this lovely expanse of coastline as you weave through the pretty harbour towns of the East Neuk. Return the same way and stop for a piping-hot fish supper at the world-famous Anstruther Fish Bar.
Ready for a physical challenge? Glentress, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders, is home to one of the 7stanes mountain biking centres and is just over an hour’s drive from the city. Bikes can be hired from the Glentress Peel Bike Shop and there are lots of graded trails to explore, or the adventurous can experience the tree-top course at Go Ape! A 40-minute car journey east will take you to Dunbar in East Lothian, where you can don a wetsuit and get to grips with cable wakeboarding or the low ropes course over water at Foxlake Adventures, or surf in the waters of Belhaven Bay with Coast to Coast Surf School. Why not explore Lochs Near Edinburgh and Glasgow for a fun-filled day out?
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