With so many sights within easy reach of the Scottish capital, there’s no excuse for only staying in Edinburgh. Whether you want to explore medieval castles or hike in the glens, here are 5 of the best day trips from Edinburgh.
1. Trossachs National Park
Escape to the wilderness of the Trossachs National Park, less than an hour from Edinburgh, where there are plenty of outdoors activities to keep the whole family busy. Stroll or cycle through the pretty woodlands; visit the Inchmahome Priory where Mary Queen of Scots was once a guest; try you’re your hand at kayaking or windsurfing on the lake; or go bird spotting at the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve. Still got time to spare? Pay a visit to the nearby Stirling Castle on the way back.
2. Linlithgow Palace
A magnificent former Royal palace, dating back to the 15th century, Linlithgow Palace makes a popular day trip from the capital, just 15km from the city center. The impressive ruins boast an equally picturesque location, perched on the banks of a shimmering loch and encircled with landscaped parklands. Wander round the 15th century Church of St Michael; explore the labyrinth of rooms inside the grand castle remains or spot birds on the wildlife trail tracing the banks of the loch.
Despite their legendary rivalry (residents of Edinburgh and Glasgow have long argued over which is Scotland’s most vibrant city), many visitors to Edinburgh make the train ride to nearby Glasgow. A dynamic student town filled with art galleries, music clubs and quirky clothing boutiques, Glasgow makes an enjoyable change of scenery from the capital and at less than an hour away it’s an easy day trip.
Just 30 minutes by train from Edinburgh, the coastal village of Dunbar makes a pleasant escape from the city sprawl. Join the locals in a game of golf; hike the scenic John Muir Way, running along the spectacular red sea cliffs; or sip a cool beer at the Rocks Restaurant, where you’ll get a great view of the dramatic coastline.
If you enjoyed exploring Edinburgh Castle, you’ll find plenty to marvel at the nearby Stirling Castle, a mere 40 miles from Edinburgh. A 16th century Renaissance masterpiece, the beautifully preserved fortress offers expansive views from its hilltop location. While you’re in town, be sure to pay a visit to the iconic William Wallace Monument and the fascinating Old Town Jail too.