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Edinburgh, Scotland

Day trips

Our most recommended Edinburgh, Scotland 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.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

2. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

Following pickup from central Edinburgh, you will head towards Stirling, catching views of the Castle and Wallace Monument as you venture to the Highlands. Visit Callander, and stop for morning coffee in this bustling town described as the gateway to the highlands. Head northwards over Rannoch Moor until you reach the dark, brooding Pass of Glencoe. Stop for lunch and free time nearby the Fort William area, then follow the Caledonian Canal up the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Here, you have some free time with the option to cruise on the Loch, or if you don't want to take the cruise you can relax in one of the bars or restaurants in the tranquil village or on the pier.  After Loch Ness you will head South East and take in magnificent views of Loch Laggan. On the way home, enjoy a refreshment stop in 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.

Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Mallaig & Glencoe Adventure

3. 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.

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 57 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: Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour

5. 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.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Highlands Tour in Spanish

6. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Highlands Tour in Spanish

Discover the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands on this guided day trip from Edinburgh. Admire views of Stirling Castle on the way to the charming town of Callander. Visit the Dalwhinnie distillery and hit up a pub in the town of Pitlochry.  Depart from Edinburgh's city center and head towards the Scottish Highlands. Pass by Stirling and catch a glimpse of the incredible Stirling Castle. Travel through Trossachs National Park and stop in Callander, where you can buy a drink and a light snack. Continue up to Glen Coe and take as many photos as you want. Journey past the village of Fort William and arrive at Fort Augustus. Explore the area with free time to take a boat cruise on Loch Ness, grab lunch, or relax in the village/ Stop at the Commando Memorial and listen to stories from WWII. See Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom. Visit Loch Laggan and Dalwhinnie distillery before you cross the Grampian Mountains. Finish your tour at the town of Pitlochry and relax with a drink in one of its pubs. Return to your meeting point in Edinburgh at the conclusion of your tour.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Scottish Highlands Tour

7. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Scottish Highlands Tour

Head north from Edinburgh and pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle. Skirt the Trossachs (Rob Roy country) before crossing the wilds of Rannoch Moor and moving on to dramatic Glencoe, the site of the massacre of the McDonald clan in 1692.  The tour takes you past Fort William and Britain's highest mountain, the mighty Ben Nevis, before following the Great Glen and stopping in the village of Fort Augustus by the shores of mysterious Loch Ness. You then have the option to take a boat trip on mysterious Loch Ness and hunt for Nessie, explore the shores of the loch, or simply relax and enjoy your free locally produced picnic lunch.  A typical lunch includes a bottle of Scottish mineral water, a choice of freshly made sandwiches, and shortbread. Your return journey passes south along Loch Laggan stopping at one of the quaint Highland villages along the way.  After one last look at the spectacular Forth Bridges, arrive back in the capital at around 8:00 PM. Loch Ness Cruise option: A cruise on Loch Ness is an unforgettable experience, where you might just catch a glimpse of Nessie. Locally owned custom-built boats are used, designed with sonar and underwater imaging systems, giving you a fascinating view of the terrain and life underwater.  Enjoy the views with a coffee or beer from the onboard bar.  Purchase your cruise ticket from your guide on the day of the tour. Tickets cost £12 (a savings of £1.00 on the standard ticket price) and allow you to board the boat immediately on arrival in the village without having to queue. The Loch Ness Cruise is subject to availability during winter months.

The Outlander 1 Day Experience from Edinburgh

8. 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: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

9. From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

After leaving Edinburgh at 9:15 AM you will travel back in time as your driver guides you over the Queensferry Crossing to Culross. This virtually-unchanged 16th-century village overlooks the sea and poses as the fictional town of Cranesmuir. You have time to visit Claire’s herb garden, explore the palace, or wander the ancient streets while you imagine what life must have been like 400 years ago. You will journey past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument to Doune Castle*, or as it’s called in Outlander, Castle Leoch. This formidable building gives you an insight into the living conditions of a Scottish earl in the 14th century. You can also listen to an excellent audio guide about how this castle was used as a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Your next stop is Linlithgow Palace. Here you have time to enjoy beautiful views to the Forth bridges, have a picnic by the loch, and explore the ruins of Mary Queen of Scots’ birthplace. If you’re feeling brave, you can visit the spot where that gruesome Outlander scene took place. You then travel the short distance to Blackness Castle. It’s an impressive castle that’s known as the ‘ship that never sailed’ because it resembles a giant stone boat. You have time to walk along the ramparts and explore the fictional headquarters of Jack Randall. Midhope Castle is your next highlight. Unfortunately, visitors are unable to go inside the castle, but Jamie’s lovely Lallybroch home is still an essential photo opportunity for any fan of the show. Before heading back to Edinburgh, you will have a final stop in the colorful harbor area of South Queensferry and will return to Edinburgh by approximately 5:45 PM.

From Edinburgh: Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour

10. From Edinburgh: Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour

Step into the story and witness the scenic landscapes and ruins from the TV show "Outlander" on this day trip from Edinburgh. Travel in a spacious and climate-controlled coach and see slights light like the village of Cranesmuir and the Tuilyies Standing Stones. Depart Edinburgh and journey northwest to Midhope Castle (April 1 to September 24), site of Lallybroch Castle in the time travel TV series "Outlander." Stop in the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow and enjoy a photo stop at Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison in "Outlander"). Continue to the 14th-century country pile of Callandar House, where ties to Rome's northern frontier in Europe at the Antonine Wall have been traced. Follow the footsteps of Claire and Jamie to Falkland, Outlander's Inverness.  See streets that were used as filming locations in Outlander, including where Claire sees Jamie's ghost. Move on to the Royal Burgh of Culross to discover a tiny 17th-centuryvillage nestled on the coast of Fife.  Pass by the gardens at Culross that were featured in "Outlander" as Claire's herb garden, as was the mercat cross (market cross) from Cranesmuir Village. Saunter along the cobblestone streets and see the quaint Biscuit Café. Stopping for photos at Tuilyies Standing Stones (time permitting). End the day at South Queensferry for beautiful views over the Forth and photos of the Forth Rail Bridges.

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Frequently asked questions about Edinburgh, Scotland Day Trips

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

The other unmissable things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland 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, Scotland

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

What people are saying about Edinburgh, Scotland

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,269 reviews

The trip was excellent! No delays, many stops for photos, coffee etc. Big shout out for our bus driver& guide Anthony! He told stories about Scotland and about every place we visited and at the same time he is absolutely amazing person. The trip with him was so funny! Laughed all 12,5hrs! And left the bus with big smile on my face! Absolutely fantastic trip and i wont forget it for sure!!!!

Had a fantastic time with Paul H! Spent most of the time off the bus and enjoying all the sights. There is so much packed into this tour, so if you can only fit in one, choose this one!

David was an excellent tour guide very cheerful and helpful he kept the bus well entertainined... the scenery was beautiful and we got to meet the hairy coos

Alison was so informative and helpful l would not hesitate to do another tour when I am back again

We really enjoyed this tour. Our guide was informative and funny.