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 the 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 the Fort William area, 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. Choose to 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 & Highlands Full-Day Trip

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

Explore the beauty of Scotland’s Highlands on a 12-hour scenic driving tour by a comfortable bus. 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 in this bustling town described as the gateway to the highlands. 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 nearby the Fort William area, 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.

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

5. 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

6. 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.

From Edinburgh: Hogwarts Express and Scottish Highlands Tour

7. From Edinburgh: Hogwarts Express and Scottish Highlands Tour

Discover Scotland’s connections to the Harry Potter films on a day trip in the Highlands. Ride from Edinburgh on a comfortable bus with Wifi and transfer to the Hogwarts Express train for an unforgettable journey to Glencoe through locations like Rannoch Moor. Depart the city by bus and journey north, passing the magnificent Forth Bridge, the Kingdom of Fife, and Perth. Admire the Glenfinnan Viaduct on a stunning drive up the West Coast. Next, you’ll travel across its iconic arches from Mallaig on the Jacobite Steam Train, also known as the Hogwarts Express. After experiencing one of the world’s most beautiful railway lines, head to Glencoe. See the dramatic landscapes used as the backdrop for some much-loved scenes in the Harry Potter films. Continue through the vast wilderness of Rannoch Moor, listening to tales from Scotland’s past. Jump back on the coach to return to Edinburgh, arriving back at the city in the late evening.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Inverness & Highlands Tour in Spanish

8. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Inverness & Highlands Tour in Spanish

Explore the wonders of the Scottish highlands on a guided full-day tour from Edinburgh in the company of a Spanish-speaking guide. After meeting your guide in Edinburgh, make your way to the Highlands and stop at Lake Lubnaig, where you will first experience the breathtaking nature of the Highlands. Afterwards, head north, taking in views of the mountains and lakes as you go.  Before arriving at Glen Coe, cross one of the largest wild nature extensions in Europe, Rannoch Moor, where you can see the emblematic Ballachulish Mountain that marks the entrance to the Glen Coe valley. Learn all about the valley's history from your guide and immerse yourself in its incredible nature. Later, head to Fort William and admire spectacular views of the United Kingdom's highest mountain before stopping at Fort Augustus for a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants. Alternatively, sit down to a picnic lunch on the banks of Loch Ness before learning all about the myths and legends surrounding this mysterious loch. Admire the intensity of the dark waters of the loch from the ruins of Urquhart Castle before continuing to Inverness, where you will have some free time to explore the city center at your own pace before beginning the journey back to Edinburgh. Before saying goodbye to the rest of your group, stop in the charming town of Dunkeld, the former capital of Scotland, and enjoy a stroll through its picturesque streets or stop for a pint in one of the traditional pubs.

From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

9. From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

Take the scenic coastal route south into the Medieval Kingdom of Northumbria in North-East England; visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, once the most important center of religious learning in the British Isles. Explore the medieval market town of Alnwick and its stunning castle - where scenes from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed. Our first stop is Holy Island, connected to the mainland by a causeway that leads into the quaint island village of Lindisfarne, where there are stunning views of Lindisfarne Castle* (dating back to 1550). Spend time wandering through the ruins of its Priory* where the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels were produced, sample some of the world-famous Lindisfarne ‘Mead’ brewed by Monks on the island, and enjoy the tranquility for which the island is renowned. We continue south passing Bamburgh, ‘Ancient Capital of Northumbria,’ then on to the bustling market town of Alnwick, whose greatest building is the medieval Alnwick Castle*. Enjoy time in the town center or visit the castle complex where there is something for everyone. Home of the Percy Family for over 700 years, Alnwick Castle is considered one of the finest castles in England and is proudly known as “The Windsor of the North”. Visitors can step into the unexpected in the spectacular Alnwick Garden* with its Grand Cascade fountain and Poison Gardens. The castle grounds were also used in the TV series Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films. In the mid-afternoon, we begin the drive north to cross the River Tweed and back into Scotland at the historic border town of Coldstream. If time permits during this journey there may be a stop at Flodden Field, one of the best-preserved battlefields in Northern Europe and scene of the infamous battle of 1513, which ended in victory for the English and the death of James IV, King of Scots.

From Edinburgh: Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour

10. From Edinburgh: Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour

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.

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

Gives a great overview of the Highlands. Short breaks are taken regularly. Wonderful nature. However, you shouldn't have motion sickness, as 80% of the time you travel by bus through mountains. The guide gives interesting and sufficient information for Scotland and the surrounding area.

This trip was so much fun! Our tour guide rody was so funny and he really tried to make everyone feel comfortable, Although the trip was 12 hours there were just enough stops for food, bathroom break etc.

Driver/guide was very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Smaller bus was better for accessing some areas. Areas visited where of interest.

Brendan with an “A” and an attitude was a really fun and knowledgeable guide. We had a great time!

Great trip with great tour guide full of stories and knowledge and driver