Scotland is all about dramatic coastlines, rugged countryside, remote lochs and glens – and let’s not forget the whisky. As the country’s second city, Glasgow has plenty to see and do, but it’s also the perfect base to head off on adventures. Culture Trip’s local insiders share their tips on where to go for a top day out.
Hop aboard a ferry to the Isle of Bute. Only 44mi (71km) from Glasgow, it has miles of coastline, lush hills just begging to be hiked, fishing excursions and golf courses. Hire bikes and cycle around the 15mi (24km)-long, palm-tree-studded island or wander the wild gardens and admire the architecturally impressive Mount Stuart. After a morning of mansion tours and nature trails, stop for a fresh seafood lunch in the main town of Rothesay. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill
A half-hour train ride from Glasgow, Stirling may be a small city, but it’s got a big personality. Buzzing restaurants, welcoming pubs, watersports and horse-riding are just a few of the things that make Stirling such a delight. Head up the hill to visit the ancient Stirling Castle and the Church of the Holy Rude, a majestic 10th-century church and ancient graveyard. You’ll also enjoy jaw-dropping city views. So if you’re looking for a charming city that you can tackle in a day, this is it. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill
Discover the literary legacy of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, whose words and songs have shaped Scottish history and identity. Pay homage to the bard at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in the village of Alloway. Here you can visit his childhood homestead, examine the more than 5,000 artefacts on display, wander the Kirk Alloway ruins and visit the church where his parents and other famous poets were buried. Afterwards, head to the garden for a coffee break, pastries or their famous haggis. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill
Scotland is home to more than 120 whisky distilleries. In the spectacular hills of Stirlingshire, 13mi (21km) outside Glasgow, is Glengoyne, where you can enjoy a variety of guided tours, from a wee tasting to a whisky and chocolate tour, as well as malt master sessions and even masterclasses. Discover the 200-year-old craft behind the award-winning whiskies and enjoy a free sample of the golden liquid while taking a peaceful walk around the distillery’s woodland setting. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill
Within 2 hours’ drive of Glasgow you can walk the trails and enjoy the scenery that were the backdrop for Braveheart and Harry Potter. Wander further into the valley to reach Glencoe Visitors Centre, where you can learn about the area’s history, including the infamous Glencoe massacre, and about the local flora and fauna. The village of Glencoe offers forest walks, stunning loch views and homely pubs serving incredible food and fine ales. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill
On the western shore of Loch Fyne lies the popular day-tripping town of Inveraray and the famous Inveraray Castle. Learn about Clan Campbell, one of the largest Highland clans, while touring their ancestral home. Wander the grounds, visit the armoury and enjoy afternoon tea in the cafe. If you’re lucky you may even be served by the Duke of Argyll himself (he’s the one wearing the apron that reads, the Duke). The village of Inveraray offers a pretty, old-town main street lined with cafes, museums, breweries and two specialist whisky shops. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill