Edinburgh
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Edinburgh Day Trips

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on your group’s bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in Fort William, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness with personal touches. Visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Mallaig & Glencoe Adventure

2. Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Mallaig & Glencoe Adventure

Depart Edinburgh and travel northwest, stopping for a coffee and refreshments at a small highland village. Traveling onwards, reach Glencoe, known to many as the location for the Massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. Take photos of this beautiful area whilst you learn about its turbulent past. After Glencoe, travel further north to Fort William. Stop for refreshments and perhaps a bite to eat before journeying down the Road to the Isles. Learn about the history of the area as you approach Mallaig, where you will spend time enjoying lunch and its sea views. From Mallaig, travel eastwards to the main attraction, Glenfinnan. Arrive right on time to see the Jacobite Steam Train (also known as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter Films) cross the bridge. Not only will you enjoy this iconic view, but the site is also known as the setting for many Harry Potter scenes, including Loch Shiel. From Glenfinnan, travel southwards, stopping for refreshments at the small village of Pitlochry before returning to Edinburgh, where your tour ends.

The Outlander 1 Day Experience from Edinburgh

3. The Outlander 1 Day Experience from Edinburgh

Choose your most convenient departure point in central Edinburgh from a list of locations, then hop aboard an air-conditioned coach and head to your first location of the day, Midhope Castle, a must for Outlander fans. The Midhope Castle is the external location of the Fraser family home known as Lallybroch. Spend time at the castle for photos and live out your Outlander fantasy before heading to the next stop, Blackness Castle. Explore the rich history within the castle walls and learn of its multi-functional history as a lordly residence, garrison fortress, and state prison. Fans of Outlander may also recognize that the exterior posed as Fort William, the foreboding headquarters of Black Jack Randall. The tour continues to the town of Linlithgow, famous for its palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Here, outlander fans have the opportunity to see Linlithgow Palace, used as the set for the infamous Wentworth Prison in Outlander. Linlithgow Palace is where Outlander's Jamie was held prisoner and tortured by Black Jack Randall, one of the most intense scenes filmed during the TV series. Enjoy some time for refreshments and exploring before the next stop. Visit Culross next. Several parts of Culross are used to depict the village of Cranesmuir, predominantly for season 1 of Outlander. During your time here, you'll notice many of the scenes come to life as you step into the actual shooting location of the show. Following in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire, stop at the beautiful village of Falkland, nestled between the two Lomond Hills in the Howe of Fife. Fans of Outlander will recognize Falkland as the stand-in for Inverness, where Claire and Frank honeymoon. The last stop of the day is at the viewpoint of South Queensferry. Admire the Firth of Forth and the three magnificent bridges that link Edinburgh to Fife. Stretch your legs and take some final photos. On returning to Edinburgh, choose to be dropped off at Bakehouse Close, a location featured in the third series of Outlander as Jamie's print house.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

4. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

Depart Edinburgh on an air-conditioned luxury coach (max 34 seats). Pass Stirling Castle and hear your tour guide tell tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the bloody battles fought out on these lands. First, arrive at Callander town, nestled at the foot of the Trossachs. Next, drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Your Scottish guide will tell you about Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous Highlander. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond ("Skyfall") and Harry Potter ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") as you travel to the stunning Highland valley of Glencoe. Hear the eerie story of the Clan MacDonald massacre of 1692. Travel through Fort William, home to Ben Nevis, which at 4,409 feet is the highest mountain of the British Isles. Arrive on the south bank of Loch Ness in the charming village of Fort Augustus, where lots of cafes, shops, and restaurants offer a relaxing lunch. Stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal, then experience Loch Ness on an optional 1-hour boat cruise. Try to catch a glimpse of "Nessie," the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Admire the impressive Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with views of the Nevis Range. Enter the Cairngorms National Park and discover "Monarch of the Glen" country. Drive along Loch Laggan before the roads climb above the Grampian Mountains. Travel over the Pass of Drumochter, linking the northern and southern Central Highlands. Experience the majesty of a mountain pass created by glacial activity during successive Ice Ages. Finally, stop briefly in the beautiful Victorian town of Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh city center, arriving at approximately 8:30 PM.

From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

5. From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

Departing Edinburgh at 08:45 AM, you will be taken on a journey to some of the most famous locations from the hit series such as Doune Castle, the seat of Clan MacKenzie and the historic Linlithgow Palace. Your guide will give you an insight into the history and stories of each location, making this the perfect trip for those looking for a quick Outlander fix. Leave the capital behind and drive west, view Linlithgow Palace before stopping at Doune Castle, also known as Castle Leoch. You’ll have time to explore the grounds of this historic castle (please note Doune Castle is currently closed due to structural inspections), which was also featured as Winterfell in Game of Thrones and in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Next, your journey will take you to the Kingdom of Fife, an area of great historical importance. Make a stop in Culross, where Claire was accused of witchcraft in the village of Cranesmuir. This is the most complete example of a 17th and 18th-century burgh in Scotland today. Your lunch stop will be in the village of Falkland, which was used for filming 1940’s Inverness. With over 28 listed buildings, it gives a good representation of this period. Your final stop is at Midhope Castle, the real-life Lallybroch. Arrive back in Edinburgh at 5:30 PM.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands Tour with Lunch

6. Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands Tour with Lunch

Embark on a full-day guided trip to Loch Ness from Edinburgh and tour the Scottish Highlands. See the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, keep an eye out for Nessie on a boat cruise and enjoy a picnic lunch. Head north from Edinburgh and pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle. Skirt the Trossachs Rob Roy country, and cross the wilds of Rannoch Moor before stopping at dramatic Glencoe; the scene of the infamous 1692 massacre.  Your journey takes you through Fort William. Pass Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, before entering the Great Glen. Arrive at the pretty Highland village of Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness, and enjoy a lovely picnic with freshly made sandwiches, fresh fruit, shortbread, and Scottish mineral water. If you fancy something more substantial, your guide will happily recommend some great local cafes.  Take an optional boat cruise on the loch, go for a scenic hike, or just relax by the Caledonian Canal. If you choose to sail along the waters of Loch Ness, it really is an unforgettable experience. Your boat is eqipped with the latest hi-tech color, sonar, and underwater imaging system, giving you a fascinating view of the underwater terrain and life. You might even see Nessie! You can also relax with a coffee or beer in the on board bar. Having seen the best of the Scottish Highlands, it's time to head back to Edinburgh via shimmering Loch Laggan and the wild and lonely Drumochter Pass. Head south and enter Perthshire, a land of forests, rivers, and mountains. See the spectacular Forth Bridge before arriving back in Edinburgh at around 20:00.

From Edinburgh: St Andrews & Fife's Fishing Villages

7. From Edinburgh: St Andrews & Fife's Fishing Villages

Your full-day excursion into the Kingdom of Fife departs in the morning from Edinburgh, heading north via the Forth Road Bridge. Enjoy sweeping view across the Forth Rail Bridge, one of Scotland's greatest man-made landmarks, at 1.5 miles in length. After crossing the bridge you’ve entered the Kingdom of Fife. Its easternmost stretch of coastline is home to a string of picturesque villages, each having a distinctive character and charm. The tour stops in the traditional fishing village of Anstruther, where you’ll see the old cobbled streets and the network of alleyways and wynds. Enjoy a walk along the seafront to the harbor. From Anstruther you’ll travel north to the medieval town of St. Andrews, where you’ll see its huge Norman cathedral, known to be the largest in Scotland. St. Andrews is probably best known around the world as the home of golf. The Old Course, as it’s known to golfers, was founded in 1754. St. Andrews is also home to the oldest University in Scotland, dating back 6 centuries. You’ll have plenty of time to explore this ancient and interesting town. A pleasant drive through the rolling countryside of central Fife, dotted with small villages and farms, takes you to Falkland. Falkland Palace dominates this old village, and was one of the main residences of the Stewarts, an important royal family in Scottish history. Falkland is known to be one of Scotland’s most beautiful villages, featuring an array of old cottages and narrow winding streets. Take some time to wander around the village or stop at one of its traditional pubs or tearooms.

Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour from Edinburgh

8. Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour from Edinburgh

Spend a day experiencing the natural beauty of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park from Edinburgh. Enjoy a memorable visit to Stirling Castle, explore the pretty villages of Aberfoyle and Loch Lomond Shores, and set off on a spectacular cruise across Loch Lomond. Departing Edinburgh, head to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, one of the prettiest and largest lochs in the whole of Scotland. Here you can enjoy an hour-long cruise taking in spectacular views of the loch’s many islands and the surrounding mountains. Alternatively, take a stroll through the picturesque loch-side conservation village of Loch Lomond Shores, with its quaint houses, cafes, and stunning views across the loch’s western shoreline.  Enter The Trossachs National Park and experience its abundance of lochs, mountains, and forests. Continue on, past medieval Doune Castle, to the pretty town of Aberfoyle, situated on the banks of the River Teith in Stirlingshire, where you stop to enjoy some lunch.  Travel north-west for your last stop of the day at magnificent Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most historically significant castles, sitting high on volcanic rock and offering wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Visit the castle and learn of the exploits of key historical figures including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Mary Queen of Scots. Travel back to Edinburgh at the end of your tour.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Highlands Full-Day Trip

9. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Highlands Full-Day Trip

Explore the beauty of Scotland’s Highlands on a 12-hour scenic driving tour by comfortable coach. See historic sights and unforgettable landscapes on this guided day trip from Edinburgh. Following pickup from central Edinburgh, you will head towards Stirling, catching views of the Castle and Wallace Monument. Continue towards Callander, and stop for morning coffee, and the chance to meet “Hamish the Hairy Coo.” Head northwards over Rannoch Moor, and reach the dark, brooding Pass of Glencoe. Stop to learn the story of the massacre of 1692, before crossing Loch Leven. Stop for lunch near Fort William, then follow the Caledonian Canal up the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Here, you have the option to cruise on the Loch for approximately 1 hour, or relax in the tranquil village on its banks. After Loch Ness you will head South East and take in magnificent views of Loch Laggan. Marvel at the magnificent Blair Castle, home of the Dukes of Atholl for over 700 years, before moving onto Pitlochry, a delightful Victorian resort town. Then, head south through Fife, and cross the Forth next to the amazing Forth Bridge, before arriving back in Edinburgh.

Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

10. Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

On this 1-day tour from Edinburgh you travel south on the old Roman Dere Street that linked the supply ports on the south of England with the ancient city of York, and north past Hadrian’s Wall to the Roman settlements in Central Scotland. Your first stop on this tour will be in the border town of Jedburgh, a historic burgh that lies only 12 miles north of the Scotland-England border. Here you have time to take a short walk through the narrow streets that lead to the remains of the Augustinian Abbey, which has been a great symbol of power during its 900 year history. Continuing south you make a brief stop at scenic Carter Bar on the edge of the Cheviot Hills. This crossing point between Scotland and England runs close to the ancient Roman road and has formed the border between the 2 countries for the past 700 years. The tour continues through the magnificent forests of Northumberland National Park before turning west towards the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. You follow the road taking you along the south side of the wall, stopping at Steel Rigg where you come face-to-face with large sections of the wall’s remains. You have time to walk along the wall and experience the isolation that Roman foot soldiers would have experienced as they guarded their empire from the barbarians to the north. You continue your journey west along the wall towards the village of Lanercost, the western gateway to Hadrian’s Wall. After pausing for lunch you travel a short distance to Birdoswald, one of the best preserved of the 16 Roman forts along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. You have time to explore this fascinating site and further sections of the wall before you turn north for the return journey. Travelling through the Galloway hills, you stop in the Victorian spa town of Moffat before continuing through the Southern Uplands and Scottish Borders, and return to Edinburgh.

Frequently asked questions about Edinburgh Day Trips

What are other things to do than Day Trips that are worth visiting in Edinburgh?

The other unmissable things to do in Edinburgh are:

5 best day trips from Edinburgh

Day trip to Glasgow

1. Day trip to Glasgow

As the most populous city in Scotland, Glasgow is an ideal place to spend an exciting day. A bustling port city and a capital of culture, there is so much to do in Glasgow, it’s hard to know where to begin. Whether you’re a history buff, an art connoisseur, or a gastronomy aficionado, this city has it all. Some of the most popular attractions are the 12th-century Glasgow Cathedral, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and the Riverside Museum, with its ultra-modern design.

How far is Glasgow from Edinburgh?

A day trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow is within easy reach, just 75 kilometers (46 miles) away. By car, it takes just over about an hour, while the train will get you to your destination in a quick 45 minutes.

Day trip to Stirling

2. Day trip to Stirling

Best known for the grand and imposing Stirling Castle that shares its name, a day trip from Edinburgh to Stirling offers travelers an incredible escape. This “gateway to the Highlands” was once the capital of the Kingdom of Scotland, and a major battle for independence was fought at the still standing Stirling Bridge. Nearby, the National Wallace Monument commemorates several heroes of independence — including the namesake of “Braveheart” himself, William Wallace — and also provides visitors with fantastic views from its top.

How far is Stirling from Edinburgh?

Located in central Scotland, Stirling is 58 kilometers (36 miles) from Edinburgh. By car, bus or train, the journey will take you just under an hour.

Day trip to St. Andrews

3. Day trip to St. Andrews

Not too far from Edinburgh is the quintessential seaside town of St. Andrews. The town is home to the illustrious University of St. Andrews, the oldest in Scotland and alma matter of British monarchs past, present, and future. For golfers, St. Andrews is a bucket list pilgrimage, as the birthplace of the sport. Don’t miss out on a few holes on the original course of St. Andrews Links, or pay a visit to The British Golf Museum.

How far is St. Andrews from Edinburgh?

Driving the 83 miles to St. Andrews should take just under 90 minutes, while the train can take up to an hour and 45 minutes.

4. Day trip to Roslin

For travelers wanting to experience a peaceful day in the country, Roslin is an excellent choice. Fans of Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” will already know about Rosslyn Chapel — in lore recognized for its supposed connection to the Freemasons and Knights Templar. Architecture buffs will enjoy the chapel’s interesting layout and intricate stone carvings. Beyond the chapel, visitors of the town can see the ruins of Roslin Castle and the tranquil Roslin Glen Country Park.

How far is Roslin from Edinburgh?

Only 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of Edinburgh, a car ride to Roslin takes just about half an hour, while the bus takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

5. Day trip to Perth

A day trip from Edinburgh to Perth is a wonderful way to get to know the city on the shores of the River Tay. Tempt fate with a visit to the must-see Scone Palace, the original home of the Stone of Destiny. Apart from the palace, visitors can check out the Black Watch Museum, St. John’s Kirk, and the Fair Maid’s House — the oldest secular building in the city.

How far is Perth from Edinburgh?

By car, you can make the 70-kilometer (43 mile) journey to Perth in just about an hour. On public transportation, the trip can take up to 90 minutes.

Edinburgh day trip FAQ

What transportation is the best choice for my day trip?

Trying to plan your journey to Perth? Or wondering the best way to get to Glasgow? There are plenty of different transportation options for any day trip, and one is sure to be just right for you.
  • • Edinburgh day trips by train

    Scotland’s rail network covers its seven main cities and many stops in-between. Taking the train is a quick and convenient way to get around, and allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the country’s rugged natural scenery.

  • • Edinburgh day trips by bus

    In addition to the many guided bus tours available for day trips from Edinburgh, taking the bus is an easy way to get around Scotland. For more rural areas, the bus may be your only public transportation method available.

  • • Edinburgh day trips by car

    Scotland is an epic place for a road trip. A car makes it easy to be spontaneous and discover all the surprises and hidden gems along the way. Have the freedom to make your own itinerary and take as much time as you like for your day trip.


Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?

Whether you’re looking to make new friends with similar interests, avoid driving on the left side of the road, or simply want to skip the hassle of planning, a guided tour can help you make the most of your trip. In addition to taking the stress out of planning, a good guide can provide insider knowledge to really enrich your experience in a destination.


What should I pack for my day trip?

There are all kinds of things to consider when deciding what to bring on a day trip. The destination, season and type of travel can all make an impact on your packing. For those taking a guided tour, your ticket might include everything you need. However, since most Edinburgh day trips are focused in Scotland and Northern England, it’s a smart bet to bring some rain gear or warm clothes regardless of the time of year.


Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

Want to discover all there is to do in Edinburgh? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,269 reviews

The tour was great from start to finish. Jenny was a fantastic and knowledgeable guide. The locations we visited were fantastic and we had adequate time to explore all of them. The small group size (12) was the perfect number for the tour. The weather was kind to us too. overall, a great day tour!

This trip was a great opportunity to see the beautiful landscape of Scotland in a short amount of time. We had an outstanding guide, Paul E. , who kept us entertained with his great sense of humor and wonderful story telling of Scottish history.

Really nice experience! Even though one day was quick for all the amazing things we have to see in this area, the tour was fun. A special shout-out to the tour guide Paul, amazing energy, a with a lot of history and fun facts! :)

wow such lovely experience we had its just amazing worth for the money also the best part is Santa Poul the amazing tour guide and the safety driver made us our journey remarkable

We had Paul as our guide who made the long bus journey fun and interesting. Incredibly nice views!