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The 10 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh
Alex Mellon / © Culture Trip
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The 10 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 18 April 2018
Edinburgh is a place of perpetual fun and offers a multitude of things to see and do. However, just think of the myriad areas on the city’s periphery that also require attention and appreciation. Discover the best day trips from Edinburgh and prepare for an epic adventure. Don’t worry – you can be there and back all in one day!

North Berwick

North Berwick is a picturesque seaside town that happens to be a 30-minute train journey from Edinburgh. Take a stroll along the beach with an ice cream cone, dip your toes in the retro paddling pools or embark on a boat trip around the famous bird settlement, the Bass Rock. Bird enthusiasts can delight in exploring the Scottish Seabird Centre too. Walk down the main street and absorb all the quirky shops, quaint coffee spots and bustling pubs. Sign up for paddle boarding on the water and venture to the top of the North Berwick Law to find the famous replica whale jawbone. Don’t leave without a visit to Steampunk, an industrial chic eatery and coffee roasters.

Bass Rock From North Berwick Golf Club | © Tom Pattison/Geograph
Bass Rock From North Berwick Golf Club | © Tom Pattison/Geograph

Roslin

Determined to find the Holy Grail? Aren’t we all. Channel your inner Tom Hanks or Audrey Tautou and head to Roslin, a small town on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Have a spot of lunch at an authentic old-timey Scottish pub and take a tour of the famous holy ground, Rosslyn Chapel. Marvel at the architecture of this 15th-century chapel, feel the serenity inside and try to decipher the Apprentice Pillar and intricate carvings. Take a tour from the vivacious guides (it is absolutely worthwhile) and make sure to explore the enchanting Roslin Glen that surrounds the area.

Falkirk

Falkirk, a town situated in the Lowlands of Scotland, is a prime pick for a top-notch day out. Step foot in this place (which saw the defeat of William Wallace in 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk) and prepare to be enthralled. Choose from some wonderful shopping spots and make it the day’s mission to witness the Falkirk Wheel. This wheel has been around since 2002 and connects the Union Canal to the Forth and Clyde Canal. It also happens to be the only rotary canal connector in the whole entire world. Naturally, a trip to Falkirk would not be complete without visiting The Kelpies, the largest equine sculptures in the world.

Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies | © Michel Curi/Flickr
Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies | © Michel Curi/Flickr

St Abbs

Escape from the city and seek solace in the small fishing village of St Abbs. This magnificent area is a picture straight from a postcard with its perfect walking trails, sweeping cliffs and silver sands. Surfing enthusiasts can catch some cracking waves here and outdoor lovers can marvel at the awe-inspiring views. Set eyes upon the colonies of seabirds and enjoy taking in the purest form of nature. A visit to St Abbs wouldn’t be complete without a gander at all the exciting finds at Number Four, a fantastic wee contemporary arts and crafts gallery.

The Lighthouse | © Jonathan Combe/Flickr
The Lighthouse | © Jonathan Combe/Flickr

St Andrews

St Andrews may be a golf and student paradise, but it is also a dream location for a 24-hour getaway! This former royal burgh and parish is filled with tonnes of quaint old pubs and local shops. The Adamson, Vine Leaf and Rocca are all worthy of attention, so make sure to indulge in fantastic food and enjoy the finer things in life. Explore the grounds of the renowned University of St Andrews (the oldest university in Scotland), take a lovely stroll along Lade Braes Walk and recuperate in the Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel. Movie buffs can visit West Sands beach, the location for the opening scene of Chariots of Fire (1981).

Wemyss Bay

Wemyss Bay, a 19th-century village situated in the west central Lowlands on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, is the epitome of all things beautiful. Appreciate the marvellous architecture of the railway station, which happens to be one of the most superb railway buildings in Scotland. Board the ferry to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute and enjoy the views. As weird as it may sound, do make a pit stop at the Victorian toilets. They happen to be rather unique! For sure, this majestic land is a place of escape where minds can be healed and souls revived.

Wemyss Bay Station | © colin houston/Flickr
Wemyss Bay Station | © colin houston/Flickr

Stirling

Stirling is the gateway to the Highlands and a snippet of Scotland that must be explored. A visit to the gargantuan Stirling Castle is undoubtedly worthwhile, with its impressive architecture and riveting historical background. With this in mind, there are many who believe that it is much more impressive than Edinburgh Castle. The iconic Wallace Monument and Logie Kirk are worth a visit too. Keep an ear open for the poignant cries of a wolf resonating across this fortress. According to folklore, this wolf was the beast of Stirling and howled when the Vikings attacked. This medieval fortress is as enchanting as it is fascinating.

Stirling Castle | © Stirling Council/Flickr
Stirling Castle | © Stirling Council/Flickr

Borders Train

Depart from Edinburgh Waverley, toss a coin and embrace the exhilarating train journey to the Scottish Borders. Step back into a bygone time when steam engines were the norm and fall in love with the cinematic scenery of Scotland and the Borders. Pick from multiple stops along the way and explore all the hidden gems nestled in the heart of Scotland, from Galashiels to Tweedbank.

© 96tommy/Flickr
Steam train | © 96tommy/Flickr

The Lammermuirs

Pack your compass and a picnic, and prepare to venture off the map. The mystifying Lammermuir Hills form a natural boundary between the Borders and Lothian. Delight in a break from concrete jungles, the hustle and bustle of town life and busy schedules. Embrace this remote location and enjoy the sweet sound of nature. The heather on the hills is a vision and a playground for landscape photographers. Tour the meandering Scottish roads and attempt to spot the elusive grouse that frequent the area. Most of all, soak up this raw and undulating land of Scotland. If a picnic isn’t your thing, drive to the nearby wee village of Gifford and delight in some Scottish pub grub at the Goblin Ha’ or Tweedale Arms Hotel.

© Phillip Capper/Flickr
The Lammermuirs | © Phillip Capper/Flickr

The One-Day Loch Ness Tour

Strapped for time but want to see some of the finest sights Scotland has to offer? Edinburgh local craving a one-day mini-adventure? Let inhibitions run wild and embark on a day trip from Edinburgh to the Highlands by coach. Experience Loch Ness in all of its glory and channel your inner cryptozoologist on an epic hunt for the mysterious yet beloved Nessie. Gaze eyes upon the ethereal Glencoe and prepare to be infatuated with the stunning scenery that surrounds. Have a gander around the magnificent Urquhart Castle and brush up on some history. A trip like this creates memories that remain at the forefront of the mind for all eternity. It is quite all right if you don’t want to leave at the end of the day – no one does.