25 Day Trips from Edinburgh

Blog 25 Jul 2023
Edinburgh is pretty fantastic, but of course we might be a bit biased about that.

One of the best things about it is that once you've finished exploring the city, there are so many other places in Scotland to go and see, so many of which you can do in just a day. I will preface this by saying some of them might be slightly longer days than other, so don't expect a leisurely morning in bed if you choose them. 

No matter which direction you head in as you leave Edinburgh, whether that's north up to Aberdeen or South down to England, you're bound to bump into a place you could visit on a day trip from the city. So if you are visiting Edinburgh and want to see a bit more of the country, here are 25 places we think you should consider. Most of these are pretty easy to get to, whether it is by foot, by train, or even by jumping on one of our tours (which we very much recommend ?)



North Berwick

About 20 miles east of Edinburgh, North Berwick is the perfect place for a day trip. It’s a beautiful seaside town with great beaches and a wee golf course right on the shore. There’s also brilliant chips and ice cream available (trust me, I’ve sampled them a lot) and a hill to climb that offers unparalleled views across the Forth. There’s also plenty of water sports available and the waters surrounding the town are often full of people sailing, windsurfing, or out on boats and canoes exploring the small islands like Bass Rock, which is home to the world’s largest colony of Northern Gannets. So maybe give that one a miss if you’re not a bird-lover.

South Queensferry

Another short hop from Edinburgh to the west of the city this time. South Queensferry sits at the foot of the Forth Bridges, so you know you’re guaranteed a great photo opportunity here. Like North Berwick, South Queensferry is a picturesque wee seaside town, with plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants to enjoy.

National Museum of Flight

I know as a coach tour company we should be all about the coaches, but we like planes too. Not far from Edinburgh, at East Fortune, is the National Museum of Flight. It is a former second world war airfield that is now home to over 50 aircraft that you can get up close and personal to. It’s also one of the very few places in the world that you can see, and even get on board, the Concorde! So even if you’re not that into flight, it’s still amazing to witness a bit of history and get a feel for what it was like on board. Our coaches are a lot more spacious.


One of our tour destinations just happens to be one of the easiest places to get to from Edinburgh for a day trip. The town of Roslin is home to Rosslyn Chapel, with its amazing architecture and its super interesting link to the Da Vinci Code and the Holy Grail. You could spend hours just admiring all of the exquisite stonework and learning all about the mysteries and legends associated with it. The town is also known for something else, in 1997, Dolly the sheep was cloned here at the Roslin Institute! And luckily, it’s only about 11km south of Edinburgh and you can visit it on our Rosslyn Chapel, the Scottish Borders and Glenkinchie Distillery tour!

St Andrews

The medieval town of St Andrews is a perfect day trip from Edinburgh, we even dedicated a tour to it. It is home to an impressive castle and cathedral, the oldest University in Scotland (where Prince William met Kate Middleton) and one of the oldest golf clubs in the world. As well as this, its also a seaside town, which mean it shouldn’t be very hard to find some brilliant fish and chips to enjoy as you explore the town’s medieval buildings and beautiful cobbled streets. Whilst there, you could even take time to learn about St Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint and the town’s namesake. If you don't fancy that though, you can just read our blog about him here.


A lot of people pit Glasgow and Edinburgh against each other, but if you ask me, both are brilliant in their own unique ways. Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and has an amazing atmosphere, there is always something going on whether you’re into art, theatre, sports, shows, or just want to explore the streets and soak up the culture. Glasgow is famous for being a friendly city, and you never know who you will bump into. Then, when you think you’ve seen it all, just jump on one of our tours departing from Glasgow and go explore the rest of the country, unless you’re heading back to Edinburgh of course. Then do one from there.

Edinburgh Itself

There is so much to Edinburgh that is outside of the Royal Mile or Princes St, that even just stepping out of the city centre can be a day-trip. Head to areas like Portobello to the east where you can stroll the stunning seaside promenade, decorated with deck chairs, ice cream shops, and my personal favourite pizza in all of Edinburgh, Civerinos. Edinburgh Castle (rightfully) gets a lot of love, but on the way out of Edinburgh to the south, right next to the Royal Infirmary sits Craigmillar Castle, used as a sanctuary by Mary, Queen of Scots in the 1500s. There are so many interesting areas outside of the city centre, so if you’re ever unsure and get chatting to a local on the streets of Edinburgh, ask them their favourite places to visit and they will be sure to fill you in on all the local favourite spots.


Another of Scotland’s 8 cities, and very easy to get to from Edinburgh as well – how lucky. Stirling is a city full of history, with the impressive Stirling Castle watching over the city, and the Wallace Monument not far away, it is a must-visit for any history buff or anyone who wants to learn about how the monarchy used to live, or the exploits of William Wallace. For a smaller city, it is definitely rich in history and culture and is absolutely worth a visit.


Yes, it’s super easy to visit England for a day trip from Edinburgh. Head down the beautiful eastern coast of the country, admire the views over the water, and before long you’ll have passed Berwick-upon-Tweed and end up in the bustling market town of Alnwick, where you’ll find the medieval Alnwick Castle and the stunning Alnwick Gardens, complete with a Poison Garden. You can visit the castle which has been home to the Percy family for over 700 years, or explore the garden with its spectacular Grand Cascade. This is a great place to visit if you are a fan of Harry Potter or Downton Abbey, as parts of both were filmed at Alnwick Castle! You can also visit it on our tour Holy Island, Alnwick Castle and the Kingdom of Northumbria from Edinburgh.

The Kelpies

The largest equine sculptures in the world, the Kelpies, are situated just outside of Falkirk. This makes them a perfect destination for a day trip from Edinburgh as Falkirk is only a half hour train journey away. Designed by Andy Scott, the Kelpies, named Duke and Baron, represent Clydesdale horses, who played a super important part in Scotland’s industries back in the day. The name “Kelpies” represents malevolent water spirits of Scottish folklore that used to be found near lochs and bodies of water. They appeared as horses most often, but as shapeshifters, could appear as anything, even humans. If you got too close, you would stick to their skin, and they would drag you down to the bottom of the water and drown you.

You can visit the Kelpies with us on our Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle and the Kelpies tour from Edinburgh.

Loch Lomond

Just a bit north of Glasgow, sits Scotland’s largest loch, Loch Lomond. The perfect day out and super easy to reach from Edinburgh. At Loch Lomond, you can enjoy the shores of the loch, take in a cruise of the loch to see it all up close and personal, or even visit the beautiful lochside towns and villages like Luss and Tarbet. You can even go shopping at the Loch Lomond Shores shopping centre, or, just simply explore the surrounding areas and enjoy the beautiful views.


You can also visit Loch Lomond on tour with us from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Another of Scotland’s cities, Dundee sits at the mouth of the River Tay and is a brilliant destination for a day out from Edinburgh. As an important industrial city, Dundee has given us a lot, from commercial marmalade production, to the Beano and the Dandy. As well as this, Dundee is home to the V&A museum which features temporary galleries and a restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room. Right next to the V&A sits the RRS Discovery, the first boat to be built specifically for scientific research, which gives an amazing look at how we Scots used to traverse the oceans all the way to Antarctica.

The Pentlands

Just south of the city of Edinburgh lie the Pentland Hills. If you’ve already tackled Arthur’s Seat and want to get a bit higher, head towards them. With plenty of hills in the range to explore, you’ll be spoiled for choice, with easier strolls and more difficult hikes. You could even attempt the 5 Peaks Challenge, which involves climbing the highest peaks in the range. If that’s not your style, there’s even an all-year round Snowsports centre where you can go skiing and snowboarding.

Blackness Castle

If you’re an Outlander fan, you might want to head to Blackness Castle for a day trip from Edinburgh. This was the set of Fort William in the show, and is super easy to get to from Edinburgh. The castle is also known as the “ship that never sailed” because of it’s point that goes out into the waters of the Forth. This is also a great place to visit if you like spooky goings on, as it’s been reported to have been the location for a fair few ghost sightings. If you want to learn more about haunted places you can visit on tour with us, you can read our blog about it here.


A bit further out of Edinburgh than Blackness is Linlithgow. Most famed for its palace, which was also featured in Outlander as Wentworth Prison. It was originally used as a relaxing retreat for the Royal family for trips between Edinburgh and Stirling and is actually the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Home to the Linlithgow Canal Centre, you could also head there for a leisurely sail down the Union Canal.

You can visit both Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace on our Outlander tour from Edinburgh.


There are countless distilleries in Scotland, and luckily, even though Edinburgh isn’t one of the main whisky producing areas of Scotland, it’s still pretty easy to reach some great distilleries. Not far from Edinburgh sits Glenkinchie Distillery, the Lowland home of Johnnie Walker. Near Glasgow you have distilleries like Glengoyne, and in Falkirk, Rosebank Distillery is about to reopen after a full restoration. So no matter which direction you head in from Edinburgh, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to come across a wee dram!

If you want to head out on a day trip with us from Edinburgh and taste some delicious whisky, you can do so on our Ultimate Whisky Experience, which visits Dewar's Aberfeldy and Glenturret Distillery, or our Rosslyn Chapel, Scottish Borders and Glenkinchie Distillery tour, and the clue about what distillery that tour visits is very much in its title.

The Trossachs

Scotland’s first National Park, the Trossachs, is where you will find rugged landscapes, rolling hills, and of course Loch Lomond. If nature is your thing, then you should visit here and try to bag a Munro like Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly. This could definitely be the day trip for you if you love a hike, and a proper adventure in a wild landscape. This area was also home to the legendary Rob Roy MacGregor, if you fancy retracing his footsteps. Or simply take in scenic towns like Aberfoyle and bask in the scenery around you.


If you’ve been on our Loch Ness tour from Edinburgh, you have probably passed through this cute wee town on the way back down, you might have even grabbed a whisky ice cream (you really should have, it’s delicious). Pitlochry is a brilliant choice for a wee day out from Edinburgh as its situated in Perthshire, on the banks of the river Tummel, so not far at all. Take in the clean air and enjoy all of the stunning countryside scenery. I’ve heard there’s a brilliant fish and chip shop there too, which is pretty much all the reason that I would need to visit.

Loch Ness

Now, this is quite a long day trip, so you might want to get up early, but I think Loch Ness is definitely worth it. Whether you just want to take in the beautiful views, or get up close and personal with a cruise over the loch, keeping an eye out for Nessie of course. You can also explore Urquhart Castle, which sits on the banks of the loch, or visit historic towns like Fort Augustus where you can see the Caledonian Canal in action which is a man-made canal over 60 miles long that connects the waters of Loch Ness to Fort William.


You can see it from Edinburgh because it’s just across the Forth River from us, so it’s a perfect place to go and explore for a day-trip. You can visit historic fishing villages like Anstruther, Pittenweem and Aberdour, getting photos stops and enjoying the harbour views, as well as some of the best fish and chips there is to get. If you're a fan of a funfair, there's one you can visit at Burntisland, pronounced Burnt Island, like 2 separate words. Don't make the same mistake I made when I first moved to Edinburgh and embarrassed myself. Or you could visit some of the bigger towns in the area like Kirkcaldy or Glenrothes and take in the sights there.


Keep heading through Fife, but not in the Dundee direction, and you will reach Perth, a settlement that his existed since Prehistoric times. It’s a city rich in history, with nearby standing stones showing a very ancient history, and the more recent (but still quite old) Scone Abbey, which is where the King of Scots was traditionally crowned. If you’re interested in military history, the Black Watch Museum is location in Balhousie Castle. Here, you can visit the ancestral home of the Black Watch and learn all about it with interactive displays and artefacts. As well as that, the natural area around Perth is full of rolling hills and mountain ranges, so when you are finished exploring the city and all of its history, you can head out and experience the Perthshire countryside.

Cramond Island

The firth of Forth is home to a few islands. Cramond Island is easily accessible from Edinburgh thanks to a tidal causeway, however, because of this you need to be careful about tides and when you plan on visiting it, as you don’t want to end up stranded there. It is a fascinating look into the past of the area, as it was used during the first world war as part of the Firth of Forth defenses, and the evidence of that is still there to this day. Along the causeway are concrete “teeth” that were originally used to deter German U-boats from passing to the south of the island. Whilst not inhabited now, there is also evidence to suggest that as far back as roman times, the island did indeed have people living on it, as well as in more recent times being used for farming. Like I said though, just keep an eye on the tide times if you fancy exploring it.

Isle of Arran

Situated on the west coast of Scotland, nestled nicely between the Mull of Kintyre (any Paul McCartney and Wings fans out there?) and Ayrshire, is the Isle of Arran. Arguably one of the easiest islands to access after Bute which is also on the list, there are regular ferries across to Arran from Ardrossan, which is handily connected to Glasgow via the train. The train station is also right next to the ferry terminal, so you won’t have to walk far. Arran is a beautiful island, with scenic towns and villages dotted along its coast, which surrounds mountainous terrain, perfect if you like a rugged walk or a good hike. If that’s not your style, you can also find the Arran Distillery on the north of the island. Personally, I know where I’d be heading.


Heading south towards the borders, you can find the town of Melrose. Here, Abbotsford House is located, which is the historic home of Walter Scott. You can visit here and explore the house, learning all about his life and works, whilst enjoying the stunning grounds of the house. There is also the beautiful Melrose Abbey which dates back to 1136 and is also where a casket was discovered that was said to contain the heart of Robert the Bruce.

Isle of Bute

The Isle of Bute is one of the islands of the river Clyde and as such, is pretty easy to get to on a day trip from Edinburgh. Simply head to Glasgow on the train and then catch the train to Wemyss Bay, which was just voted the Nation’s Favourite Train Station which is fair, as it is pretty beautiful as far as train stations go. Then, you just need to hop on the ferry over to Bute and start exploring. The main town on the island is Rothesay, which is a gorgeous seaside town with some great places to eat and its own castle. Head further into the island to get a bit more of a taste of the island life and explore. It even has its own walk, the West Island Way, which was the first long distance walk route on a Scottish Island. It’s 30 miles long, so if you’re doing Edinburgh to Bute and hoping to get back at the end of the day, you might want to only do a wee section. Or just give up entirely and get an ice cream by the sea front in Rothesay instead.

Now, that should give you some great inspiration for your next adventures from Edinburgh. 

If you're visiting Edinburgh for the first time this year, maybe for the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe this August (read our recommendations here), don't forget that it is super easy to explore the rest of the country and really get a taste for Scotland, whether it's rugged landscapes you want to traverse, or simply enjoy fish, chips and some ice cream by the seaside. If you still can't decide, jump on one of our tours and you might even be able to tick off a few from this list.