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Glasgow in and of itself is already a fantastic city to explore and experience. However, you can also make it your HQ as you visit the surrounding area to make the most of your travel here and discover some amazing sites nearby by doing some day-tripping!
We’ve listed down some of the best day trips you can do from Glasgow to give you some ideas of what attractions to visit while making Scotland’s largest city your “base of operations”. Read on to find out more!
When in Glasgow, a trip to beautiful Loch Ness is a must especially if you want to experience the best of the highlands. You’ve also most probably heard of its resident monster, Nessie, an enduring legend that just adds more charm to this location.
There are a ton of activities for you to try out here and you’ll need the entire day to do most if not all of them. You can drop by and admire the villages surrounding the loch, explore the Urquhart Castle, and take a cruise on the lake– while looking for Nessie!
You can also take public transport to get to the location if you’re okay with just seeing the Loch itself (sans other attractions). Just take the train to Inverness and travel for around 4 hours before taking the local bus to Loch Ness.
Oban and Glen Coe
To the north of Glasgow are Oban and Glen Coe, both locations considered part of the Scottish Highlands. With its dramatic landscapes and mountainous terrain covered in lush greenery, this is a great contrast to the lowland of the area and truly a must-visit.
Coming from Glasgow, you can start your day trip here to Inveraray, which is a pretty historical town. You can then proceed to the breathtaking Kilchurn Castle before heading to the seafood capital of Scotland, Oban, and the stunning valley of Glen Coe.
To get the most out of your trip to Oban and Glen Coe, you can pass through a different route going back to Glasgow which will also let you pass by scenic Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park before reaching the city.
Pollock House and Museum of Rural Life
Contact Number: +441416166410
- Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- 8.50 GBP per adult
- 20.50 GBP per family
Museum of Rural Life
Contact Number: +443001236789
- Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- 10.00 GBP per adult
- 7.00 GBP per kid
- Infants are free of charge
Pollock House is located inside Pollok Country Park to the south of Glasgow. Here, you can admire and enjoy the historical vibe of the location which has been lived on by the Stirling Maxwell Family since the 18th century or for almost 7 decades!
On the other hand, the Museum of Rural Life is a wonderful place to visit if you’re travelling with kids. They can enjoy exploring a traditional house and fully functioning farm and learn more about Scotland’s history and traditional rural way of life.
The farm at the Museum of Rural Life also features animals for you and your kids to enjoy. Take your cameras and phones out to snap pictures of hens, sheep, horses, and pigs, and keep these as a cute souvenir!
One of the most exciting day trips from Glasgow is a visit to the amazing city that is Edinburgh. In fact, an entire day might not be enough to enjoy and experience all the things to do in Edinburgh but one full day should be adequate to give you a taste.
For instance, you can go from one location to another just to get a feel of what the city has to offer. From its free museums, Harry Potter filming locations, the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle, there are just a ton of fantastic attractions to marvel at.
Here’s a travel hack you may want to try out– during August, New Year, or any other festival time, you stay in Glasgow and just do a day trip to Edinburgh. That’ll save you money as accommodations in Glasgow are a bit cheaper!
Stirling and Falkirk are pretty close to each other so if you have a private car when you visit any of them from Glasgow, you can drop by these locations on the same day. Falkirk is worth a visit if you want to experience some of Scotland’s local attractions.
First, you get to see the Kelpies – two horsehead statues measuring almost a hundred feet high. You also need to visit the Falkirk Wheel– a rotating boat lift that will leave you breathless as you watch it lift ships off the water up to 24 metres high!
You can take a boat ride and experience being lifted by the Falkirk Wheel. Don’t worry if you don’t have a boat though, as there’s a tour that will allow you to still be lifted by this engineering marvel even while on foot.
Stirling City is steeped in history and is a must-visit for its many attractions and its medieval features such as an old town and Stirling Castle. Aside from these, you also need to check out a nearby tourist spot– the National Wallace Monument.
The monument honours Sir William Wallace, a freedom fighter who fought against the English during the 13th Century. It also overlooks the area where the Battle of Stirling was fought, an area you can also explore for some historical and cultural immersion.
If you want something macabre while in Stirling, try booking a tour of the Old Town Jail. Here, you can walk around the area as you gape, gulp, and gasp at the stories, scenes, and locations of crime and punishment (executions).
When in Scotland, you need to visit some of its whisky distilleries. You might not like the drink itself, but doing so is a quintessential Scottish thing to do, plus, these locations provide you with a glimpse of the past and a wonderful historical experience.
Thanks to their traditional and classic-looking interiors, these distilleries are like time capsules where you can see and feel how they lived in the olden days. But of course, the highlight of your trip here just might be the drinks themselves!
Some of the best tours to visit these distilleries include a private tour that will take a full day and visit all the distilleries mentioned or a 2-hour private tour that will only take you to one or two distilleries.
Filming Locations of the “Outlander”
If you’re a fan of the TV show The Outlander or are a cinephile in love with onset locations, then there are areas in and around Glasgow that you absolutely must visit as these were used as filming locations for the said shows.
Some of the filming locations within Glasgow itself include Pollok Country Park, Kelvingrove Park, and Glasgow Cathedral. On the other hand, other Outlander locations near Glasgow include Doune Castle, Culross, Falkland, and Linlithgow Palace.
When in Linlithgow, you can visit one of the oldest pubs in Scotland called “The Black Bitch:” It’s an interesting establishment and you can order a drink or two here while touring Glasgow’s historical and cultural sites.
Burns Country, Ayrshire, and Culzean Castle
Located in the southwest portion of Glasgow, this area is one of the locals’ top-favourite day trips from the city. It’s not too crowded with tourists and that’s a shame since it’s the birthplace of the most famous poet in all of Scotland– Robert Burns.
The poet penned one of the most recognisable poems in all of history, one that is sung during New Year celebrations: Auld Lang Syne. There’s also the majestic and endearing Culzean Castle that you need to visit for its fantastic views of the cliff.
You can get free access to some of the attractions we mentioned above if you become a member of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) since most of the attractions and locations we mentioned here are under the care of the NTS.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Contact Number: +44 1389 722600
- Monday to Sunday, Open 24 hours
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is certainly one of the most popular and best day trips you can ever take from Glasgow. The Loch is just a few minutes away by car and offers amazing views and beautiful villages surrounding the location.
You can take a boat to cross the lake to do some sightseeing and to visit other Lochs such as Loch Katrine. Aside from these bodies of water, there are also serene villages and towns and even an ancient circle of stones to check out and be amazed at!
To make the most of your time here, you can also book either a half or full-day tour. Half-day tours will usually include a trip to Loch Lomond and some whiskey distilleries while a full-day one will include a visit to Stirling Castle.