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The 4 Best Day Trips from Edinburgh

The 4 Best Day Trips from Edinburgh

Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh – even just for a day? Look no further than our guide to the 4 best day trips you can take from Edinburgh curated by yours truly – a local lassie who knows the areas like the back of her hand. 

From stunning coastlines to charming villages and historic castles, these day trips will take you on a journey through some of Scotland’s most picturesque landscapes. 

So, put the kettle on, grab a biscuit, and let’s start planning your next adventure!

What are the best day trips from Edinburgh?

The best day trips from Edinburgh are to Glasgow, Rosslyn Chapel, the Scottish Highlands distilleries, and St. Andrews and Fife fishing villages.

Edinburgh may be bonnie and braw, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery. 

If you’re looking to explore beyond the city limits, read on to learn more about the best day trips from Edinburgh that are sure to knock your socks off!

1. Glasgow

Photo by Time Out

Just an hour away from Edinburgh lies a city that’s brimming with personality and charm: Glasgow. 

While Edinburgh is hailed as the Athens of the North, we like to think of Glasgow as Scotland’s unofficial party capital. Not a bad rep, eh?

From its stunning architecture, world-class museums, and lively arts scene, to its welcoming locals, buzzing nightlife, and delicious cuisine, Glasgow is a stunning city that’s not to be missed. 

How To Get To Glasgow From Edinburgh

How To Get To Glasgow From Edinburgh

There are a few ways to skin a cat, if you’re keen to get from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Also, this expression is quite sickening, and I’m not sure why I used it.

Anyway, you could hop on the train from Waverley station to Glasgow’s Queen Street station, which is dead easy and takes about an hour. Check out their schedules here.

Alternatively, you could book in advance and take the coach from the bus station, which is a bit slower but can be cheaper than the train. 

Or, if you’re feeling fancy, you could hire a motor or van rental and drive yourself down the M8. 

Whatever you choose, just make sure to enjoy the ride and take in the views, because the trip between these two cracking cities is a real belter!

Where To Go in Glasgow

Sadly, you can’t see everything Glasgow has to offer in just one day. However, I’ll let you in on my personal top three picks so you can make the most of your time here. 

1. Riverside Museum
Riverside Museum
Photo by Vrbo
Address100 Pointhouse Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 141 287 2720
Opening HoursMon-Thurs, Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM
Friday and Sunday: 11 AM–5 PM

The Riverside Museum is at the top of my list, and for good reason. 

This fantastic museum is located on the banks of the River Clyde. Not only is its architecture awe-inspiring, but the exhibitions inside are top-notch as well. 

From vintage cars to old trams and even a recreated Glasgow street from the early 20th century, the Riverside Museum is a proper treasure trove of history and nostalgia.

One of my favourite exhibits is the old Glasgow subway car that’s been turned into a mini cinema. You can sit in the subway car seats and watch a short film about the history of the Glasgow subway system – it’s pure class, if you ask me.

What I love about the Riverside Museum is the way they’ve brought history to life. You can step inside old buses and trams, and even ring the bell of a vintage fire engine!

It’s an absolutely brilliant place, and for the social media junkies out there, highly Instagrammable to boot!

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Photo by Expedia
AddressArgyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 141 276 9599
Opening HoursMon-Thurs, Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM
Friday and Sunday: 11 AM–5 PM

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is another one of my regular Glasgow haunts. As you explore the museum, you’ll be transported to different worlds and times, from ancient Egypt to the modern-day. 

And the best part? Admission is free!

Believe me, it’s not just another stuffy old museum filled with dusty artefacts and snooty curators – what sets it apart is its sense of humour. 

While there are art galleries showcasing works from Monet, Dali, and Renoir, it’s not all highbrow stuff. The museum isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself, with quirky touches like Sophie Cave’s Floating Heads installation, stuffed animals, and interactive displays. 

Want to live on the edge? Nothing quite like hanging out under a 2.3-tonne Spitfire fighter plane hanging precariously on the ceiling that can get your heart a-pumping.

For me, Kelvingrove is not just a place to learn, it’s a place to have a blast while doing it.

3. George Square and the Merchant District
George Square and the Merchant District
Photo by The Herald

If you’re looking to soak up some authentic Glaswegian atmosphere, then a trip to George Square and the Merchant District is an absolute must. They’re located in the very heart of Glasgow.

I think George Square is the perfect spot to relax, people watch, and enjoy some delicious street food from one of the many food trucks that are often parked nearby.

As for the Merchant District, it’s a historic and vibrant area. Stroll down the bustling Buchanan Street, and you’ll see why it’s considered one of Glasgow’s premier shopping destinations.

But the Merchant District is not just about shopping. There are also some fantastic restaurants, cafes, and bars to discover. 

In short, a visit to George Square and the Merchant District is an essential part of any Glasgow day trip if you want to have a slice of Glaswegian life.

Where To Eat in Glasgow

Where To Eat in Glasgow
Photo by Seoul Korean BBQ

Speaking of taste, Glasgow cuisine is a tasty mix of Scottish classics and global cuisine, showcasing the city’s diverse vibe. When it comes to satisfying your food cravings, you’re well spoilt for choice, mate!

For instance, if you’re a fan of Korean cuisine – known for its bold flavours and fiery spices – you should definitely try one of these restaurants

For lovers of Mexican food such as spicy tacos and flavorful guacamole, then check out these Glasgow-based Mexican hotspots.

Lastly, if you’re a burger fanatic like me and can’t resist a juicy patty oozing with melted cheese and toppings, then you absolutely must try these places.

2. Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel
Photo by Culture Trip
AddressChapel Loan, Roslin EH25 9PU, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 131 440 2159
Opening HoursMon-Sat: 9 AM–5 PMSunday: 12 PM–5 PM
FeesAdults – £9.50
Children (17 and under) – Free
*Tickets should be booked online and in advance

Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most fascinating chapels in the UK, and it’s personally very near and dear to my heart. This little gem is like a time machine taking you back to the 15th century. 

With its intricate carvings and Gothic architecture, it’s no surprise that the chapel is shrouded in mysterious legends of the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. 

Speaking of mysterious legends, let me tell you a story about the chapel’s most famous carving, the “Apprentice Pillar.” 

It is said that when the master mason went away, his skilled apprentice finished his master’s pillar beautifully. Upon his arrival, the mason killed his apprentice in a fit of jealous rage.

Isn’t that such a nice bedtime story to tell your kids? You’re welcome.

How to Get to Rosslyn Chapel From Edinburgh 

How to Get to Rosslyn Chapel From Edinburgh

There are a couple of ways to get from Edinburgh to Rosslyn Chapel.

First, you could catch the number 37 Lothian Bus from Princes Street in the city centre. 

If you’ve got plenty of dosh – you fancy bloke, you – then, you can also treat yourself to a cab or private tour to arrive there in style.

What to Do in Rosslyn Chapel

If you’re looking to make the most of your day trip to Rosslyn Chapel, then here’s what I recommend you do. 

1. Visit the Lady Chapel.
Visit the Lady Chapel
Photo by Rosslyn Chapel

The Lady Chapel at Rosslyn Chapel is a hidden gem that you won’t want to miss your visit. 

With stunning carved stonework, intricate ceiling bosses, and beautiful stained glass windows, the chapel is a testament to the incredible skill of the mediaeval craftsmen who built it. 

And to think, I can’t even put my darn Ikea cabinet together – but that’s another story for another time.

2. Explore the Crypt.
Explore the Crypt
Photo by Rosslyn Chapel

The Sacristy or Crypt beneath the Rosslyn Chapel is another well-kept secret that you should check out. Visitors can marvel at the famed stained glass window which showcases the transfiguration of Christ on the mountain. 

Like I always say, who needs lots of space and natural light when you can be in a tiny, spooky crypt?

3. Roam around the Roslin Glen.
Roam around the Roslin Glen
Photo by Rosslyn Chapel

Feeling a bit claustrophobic after visiting the crypt? 

Just a stone’s throw from the Rosslyn Chapel, lies the enchanting Roslin Glen, which is perfectly nestled in the tranquil Scottish countryside.

One of my favourite things to do is take a leisurely stroll through the ancient woodland and breathe in the fresh, crisp air. 

In addition to its natural beauty, the place is steeped in history and myth, with tales of fairies and ancient battles adding an air of mystery and intrigue to the area. 

So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready to explore this magical corner of Scotland.

Where to Eat Near Rosslyn Chapel

Where to Eat Near Rosslyn Chapel
Photo by Dolly’s Tea Room
RestaurantDolly’s Tea Room
Address2 Penicuik Rd, Roslin EH25 9LH, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 131 440 3328
Opening HoursMon-Sun: 9 AM–5 PM

One of my favourite places for afternoon tea has got to be Dolly’s Tea Room. Their menu is filled with the freshest locally-sourced ingredients, and the place is overflowing with British charm and hospitality. 

First things first: pre-booking is required for their afternoon tea as everything is freshly-prepared beforehand. So, make sure you get that sorted first.

You should definitely try their salmon and cream cheese bagel. The richness of the Scottish smoked salmon is perfectly balanced with tangy capers and fragrant dill – I recommend squeezing a lemon wedge over it to enhance its fresh flavours.

Another dish you should try is their “Templar.” What could go wrong when you combine French brie and cranberry? One bite of this creamy, savoury, and fruity dish, and you’ll be craving for more!

Having a delightful afternoon tea is the perfect end to your Rosslyn Chapel day trip. Don’t forget to snap some pics to make your mates back home jealous – because that’s what real friends do.

3. Scottish Highlands Distillery Tours

Scottish Highlands Distillery Tours
Photo by The Glenturret

If you’re a fan of whisky – and who isn’t, amiright? – then, a day trip to the Scottish Highlands Distilleries is a must.

For me, there’s nothing better than learning more about the rich history and culture of Scotland while getting properly sloshed – I mean, indulging responsibly –*wink* – in some of the country’s finest whisky.

How to Get to The Distilleries From Edinburgh

How to Get to The Distilleries From Edinburgh

The cheapest, and what a surprise, the most inconvenient way to travel from Edinburgh to Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery is via Megabus from the Edinburgh Bus Station. 

You’d need to get off at Perth and ride a couple of local buses to get to Dewars. Oh, and it’ll take a little over 5 hours.

A slightly better option is catching the earliest train at Edinburgh Waverley station to Dunkeld & Birnam. Then, you’d only have to take one local bus. Spoiler alert: the trip is over 4 hours long.

Then, to get from Dewar’s to The Glenturret Distillery, you’ll need to take a couple of different local buses. 

The most convenient way, by far, is going by car, which would take only a little over an hour.

If you’re planning to partake, you can’t exactly drive yourself – unless you’re going with friends, and one of them is the designated driver. 

Let’s face it though, nobody wants to be the designated driver on a distillery tour.

For me, the most logical option is to join a private group tour by yourself or with your mates. While it might be a little bit more expensive, it would certainly save you a lot of time, energy, and hassle. 

Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting drunk and then struggling to remember which bus to ride or where to get off. 

There are plenty of day trip tours from Edinburgh to these Scotland Highlands distilleries. Just make sure to compare prices and check the reviews before making a booking.

Distilleries to Visit in The Scottish Highlands

Two of the most popular distilleries in the area are Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery and The Glenturret Distillery, both of which offer unforgettable tours and tastings.

1. Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery
Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery
Photo by Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery
AddressAberfeldy PH15 2EB, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 1887 822010
Opening HoursMon-Sat: 10 AM–6 PMSunday: 12 PM–4 PM
FeesDewar’s Aberfeldy Experience             £15.00
Connoisseur Experience                      £35.00
Become A Blender Experience            £45.00
Drams Of Your Dreams Experience     £80.00
*Booking in advance is advised

A trip to Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery is a must for whisky connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Located in the gorgeous Scottish Highlands, this distillery offers visitors the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the production process and sample the delicious whiskies on offer.

Speaking of delicious whiskies, you’ll have the chance to taste their famous Dewar’s Scotch whisky, the world’s most awarded blended Scotch whisky. I personally love its smooth, honeyed flavour with notes of vanilla and spice.

It also offers unique and fun experiences like blending your own whisky or taking a whisky and chocolate pairing masterclass. 

So, don’t be a tosser, round up your mates and make your way to Aberfeldy for a whisky experience you won’t soon forget!

Where to Have Lunch in Aberfeldy

Where to Have Lunch in Aberfeldy
Photo by Habitat Cafe
RestaurantHabitat Cafe
Address2 The Square, Aberfeldy PH15 2DD, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 1887 822944
Opening HoursWed-Sun: 11 AM–3 PM

Habitat Cafe in Aberfeldy is a proper banging spot for a cuppa and a nosh. 

They use only fresh, local produce, with plenty of veggie and vegan options on the menu. Believe me, you can really taste the freshness in their food.

For instance, I suggest you try their delicious steak burger. The juicy steak slices are complemented by the crisp lettuce, ripe tomato, and creamy mayo, while the red pepper salsa adds a heavenly hint of sweetness and spice to the overall dish.

I also love their exquisite speciality coffees and teas. My favourite would have to be their flat white – the balance between the velvety milk and and the rich coffee is spot on!

This cosy coffee shop is the perfect place to refuel after the gruelling and back-breaking task of sampling world-class whiskies at Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery.

2. The Glenturret Distillery
The Glenturret Distillery
Photo by The Glenturret
AddressThe Glenturret Distillery, The Hosh, Crieff PH7 4HA, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 1764 656565
Opening HoursMon-Sun: 10 AM–5 PM
FeesThe Glenturret Tour                               £15.00
Whisky Makers Tour                              £100.00
Whisky Flight                                         £45.00
*Booking in advance is advised

The Glenturret Distillery is another distillery that’s sure to please any whisky (or let’s face it, liquor) enthusiast. Tucked away in the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside, this distillery has a long and rich history of producing high-quality Scotch whisky. 

This distillery is famous for its Glenturret Triple Wood. This has been named the world’s best single malt Scotch whisky at the 2023 IWSC Awards, bagging an Outstanding Gold medal and an impressive score of 99!

Apart from tasting their award-winning whiskies, the distillery also offers a guided tour to learn about the history and production of whisky. 

You can also choose their Whisky Makers Tour, where you can create your own unique blend of whisky to take home. 

So, if you’re up for a braw time and fancy a wee dram or two, I highly recommend checking out The Glenturret Distillery.

4. St. Andrews and the Fishing Villages of Fife

St. Andrews and the Fishing Villages of Fife
Photo by LFS

If you’re looking for a proper Scottish experience, I recommend going to St. Andrews and the Fishing Villages of Fife. This charming coastal region is home to some of the most picturesque seaside towns in Scotland!

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, St. Andrews and Fife have plenty to offer. And if you’re “lucky,” you might even catch a glimpse of the infamous St. Andrews’ ghosts! 

So pack your bags, grab your mates, and get ready for a day trip adventure in Fife!

How to Get to St. Andrews and Fife Villages from Edinburgh

How to Get to St. Andrews and Fife Villages from Edinburgh

If going by train, you’d need to catch one at Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Kirkcaldy. After which, you’d need to catch a couple more buses before arriving at Anstruther Harbour.

Another option that would be less of a hassle is to catch a bus at Princes Street and get off at St. Andrews Road. The Harbour would only be a 2-minute walk away from there.

Both methods would take you around two and a half hours.

If you rent a vehicle or join a private tour, you could get there in just a little over an hour.

Places to Visit in St. Andrews and the Fife Villages

1. Anstruther Harbour
Anstruther Harbour
Photo by Flickr

Anstruther Harbour is a wee fishing village chock-full of charm and character – with colourful boats bobbing about in the harbour and seagulls squawking overhead. 

You can take a bracing walk along the pier, munch on some delicious fish and chips, or even hop on a boat for a tour of the surrounding waters. 

And if you’re feeling brave (or just a bit daft), why not take a dip in the chilly North Sea? It’s pure baltic, but it’ll put hairs on your chest!

2. St. Andrews Cathedral
St. Andrews Cathedral
Photo by Uncover Travel

Another place I love is St. Andrews Cathedral. Once hailed as the most magnificent church in Scotland, this ruin is still so hauntingly beautiful.

You can wander through the remains of the grand structure, climb up the tower for a panoramic view of St. Andrews, or just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet. 

You know who’s also enjoying some peace and quiet? A monk named Robert who fell to his death from the tower. 

Now, he is said to haunt the stairway leading up to the top.

Anyway, don’t miss this chance to step back in time, give Robert a spooky high-five, and soak up some of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.

Where to Have Lunch in St. Andrews

Where to Have Lunch in St. Andrews
Photo by Northpoint Cafe
RestaurantNorthpoint Cafe
Address24 North St, St Andrews KY16 9AQ, United Kingdom
Contact Details+44 1334 473997
Opening HoursMon-Sun: 8:30 AM–5 PM

Feeling famished yet? I want you to try Northpoint Cafe, which is an absolute local gem! Pius, it’s only a mere three-minute walk from the cathedral.

The bustling atmosphere of this little cafe adds to its charm, and the delicious food makes it all the more memorable. 

My favourite is their pancakes with Biscoff sauce and whipped cream. The fluffy pancakes – complemented by the sweet and nutty Biscoff sauce and light whipped cream – are just divine. 

Their smoothies are to die for so make sure to grab one with your meal. 

And don’t forget about their scrumptious tea and scones. The perfectly brewed tea paired with fresh and buttery scones are simply delightful. 

Make sure to book ahead as this cafe is a popular spot for good reason! 

3. Falkland Palace and Garden
Falkland Palace and Garden
Photo by Gardeners World

Located in the heart of the charming village of Falkland, Falkland Palace and Garden is a must-see for anyone visiting Fife. 

The palace boasts some of the best-preserved examples of Renaissance architecture in Scotland, and the beautifully landscaped gardens are a sight to behold. No wonder it was once a favourite residence of Mary, Queen of Scots. 

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by the grandeur of this place. 

The only disappointment would be if you go here during the winter season (November to February). That’s because the palace is closed during those months – so plan accordingly!

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