Edinburgh day trips: make the most of Scotland

by Ellen Curham

Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh is home to magnificent castles, rolling hills, a world-class comedy festival, bustling nightlife, and, of course, Harry Potter. It’s easy to fall in love with the UK’s most charming capital and not want to leave.

However, one of the great things about staying in Edinburgh is its vantage point in allowing you access to some fantastic day trips. It’s easy to have a base in the city and set off in the morning to explore some other parts of the spectacular country that is Scotland—and believe us, there’s so much more to see.


Glasgow skylineIt’s unusual for two prominent cities to be so close together but Scotland’s most famous urban centres are only an hour from each other by rail. Glasgow is a fun day-trip to make from Edinburgh and shows you that Scotland isn’t just a one-trick pony when it comes to cities. You’ll marvel at the differences between Glasgow’s sophisticated modern buildings and Edinburgh’s Old Town charm.

For visitors, Glasgow promises lots of surprises, not least it its aesthetic. One of its most striking buildings is The Riverside Museum. It is mainly dedicated to transport and is a pretty interesting place to check out but its exterior is the main attraction. Drawn up by the famed architect Zaha Hadid, it is one of the truly remarkable works of modern British design. Another building worth witnessing is the Glasgow Cathedral along with the Glasgow Science Centre and Glasgow School of Art—both of which generally have interesting exhibits.

The shopping is another pleasant surprise for folks visiting Glasgow and draws crowds from all over the country. Wander up and down the Style Mile which hosts high street shops, designer department stores and independent boutiques.

The city is also famed for its live music scene. Popular venues to catch a show at include King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut which has housed breakout gigs for the likes of Oasis and The Strokes while The Arches beneath Central Station has seen the likes of Daft Punk and M83 and regularly hosts the hottest up-and-coming DJs.

Fife and St Andrews

Fife is a historically important area of Scotland that boasts scenic fishing villages, manicured golf courses and one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. It is a medieval kingdom that can be reached by rail, bus, car or organised tour.

St AndrewsSt Andrews is located on the northern coast of Fife and is where the oldest university in Scotland is located. It’s an esteemed institution along the lines of Oxford and Cambridge and its notable alumni include the Archbishop James Sharp, the actor John Cleese and writer Fay Weldon. It is also where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met whilst they were both studying there.

This town is also known as the ‘Home of golf’ due to The Royal and Ancient Gold Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world. If you would like to play a game of golf on one of the beautiful courses in the vicinity of St. Andrews, you can book a round online here.

Forth Rail BridgeTo get an idea of Scottish coastal life, the town of Anstruther features the Scottish Fisheries Museum that gives an insight into one of Scotland’s most well-known industries. Those looking for something a little more adventurous should go to Deep Sea World where it’s possible to go diving with sharks!

Make sure to have your cameras out on the journey to Fife and back, as you’ll cross over the amazing Forth Bridges, an iconic UNESCO structure that’s worth doing the trip for alone.


The Highlands

GlencoeA trip to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Highlands, of course. This dramatic landscape made up of glens, mountains and lochs that have to be seen to be believed. It’s worth spending a few days exploring the area if you can but if you are stuck for time a day-trip by car or coach to some of the top attractions will suffice.

Glencoe is essential for anyone interested in history. This village is where the Massacre of Glencoe took place in 1692, in which dozens were killed after failing to pledge an alliance to King William, the ruler at the time. Its rugged natural beauty has served as scenery for many films including titles from the Harry Potter and James Bond series.

Loch NessFinally, it would be rude to go to Scotland and not visit the country’s most famous resident: the Loch Ness Monster. Nessie allegedly resides in Scotland’s second-largest freshwater lake. The surrounding area has numerous walkways and villages as well as the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition where you can learn more about the lake and its ecosystem.



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Thanks to dun_deagh and Robert Orr for use of their great images under the Creative Commons license.

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