Day trips - nearby Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a spectacular location on its own, boasting stunning attractions like the Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Old Town and National Museum of Scotland. As the capital of Scotland, this city has plenty to enjoy within its boundaries, but it also makes for an excellent jumping-off point when you want to explore other parts of the United Kingdom.
Consider these nearby highlights if you're looking for memorable day trips from Edinburgh. From historic castles to expansive natural vistas, there's no shortage of things to explore.
Less Than an Hour of Travel Time
Marvel at Rosslyn Chapel
Just seven miles from Edinburgh's city center, Rosslyn Chapel is about a half-hour away. Visits typically take between one and two hours. Within the historic building, you can marvel at the intricate carvings in the Lady Chapel, gaze upon elegant stained glass windows and descend to the crypt. Chapel guides offer educational talks lasting 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day. The chapel grounds, visitor center and Rosslyn Castle offer additional opportunities to explore.
Stroll the streets of North Berwick
North Berwick is just over a half-hour from Edinburgh by train or car. This seaside town is home to the Scottish Seabird Centre, several famous golf courses and plentiful options for shopping and dining. The North Berwick in Bloom initiative brought an abundance of gardens and floral displays to the town, making this a truly picturesque day trip. From the sands to the greens, there's plenty to enjoy.
1-2 Hours of Travel Time
Step Back in Time at Stirling Castle
If you're looking for quick day trips from Edinburgh by train, Stirling Castle is just about an hour away. You can take a guided tour of the castle or explore on your own with an audio tour. Engaging History Hunter tours are available for children which bring the castle's stories to life. Explore the restored Royal Palace, stroll the sprawling Great Hall and take a peek into the kitchens. Beyond the castle, Stirling Old Town features historic highlights like the Old Town Jail and Church of the Holy Rude.
Browse the Museums of St Andrews
Access St Andrews from Edinburgh via an easy train ride of about an hour and 20 minutes. Explore the Old Course, where golf purportedly originated in the 12th century. Peek beneath the waters at St Andrews Aquarium, explore the 14th century Kellie Castle or go birdwatching at Cameron Reservoir. St Andrews is also home to several museums, making it easy to fill a day trip from Edinburgh.
Explore the Metropolis of Glasgow
You can reach Glasgow from Edinburgh via an hour-long train ride. The biggest city in Scotland, this metropolis is home to Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Science Center, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum and more. Pub culture is strong here, with plenty of charming establishments beckoning you to stop in for a drink and a bite. You'll find live music in many of these spots as well, adding to the entertainment.
3-4 Hours of Travel Time
Behold the Mysteries of Loch Ness
Loch Ness is about five hours from Edinburgh by bus or train and three hours away if you're driving yourself. Though known for its fabled sea creature, Loch Ness offers more than monster hunting. You can visit the ruins of Castle Urquhart and take in a stunning view of the surrounding loch. If you'd like to get closer, take a boat tour over the deep, mysterious waters.
Roam The Highlands
The Scottish Highlands are in the north and northwestern portion of Scotland. This area could support many day trips from Edinburgh. It contains Loch Ness, mentioned previously, as well as the cultural haven of Inverness, the sprawling green spaces of the Glen Roy National Nature Reserve and the bustling port town of Mallaig. An organized tour may be the best option for this destination. There's so much to see that it can be overwhelming.
Take in the Wonder of Northumberland
Roughly four hours away by bus, Northumberland is home to the famous Hadrian's Wall. Two thousand years old, the structure is still a fascinating feature. You can take in the area's lush natural highlights at The Alnwick Garden, Cragside Estate and Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum. If you're interested in indoor attractions, include the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum or Bamburgh Castle's Armstrong and Aviation Museum in your itinerary when you visit.
These Edinburgh day trips will give you a chance to explore several diverse destinations around the city. Whether you want to fill an afternoon, a day or even longer, you'll find plenty of places that you can easily branch out to when you've made your home base in Edinburgh for the holiday. Explore one or see them all.