Without a doubt, Scotland has a lot to offer, and prides itself on preserving and staying true to its roots, heritage, and cultural identity, which is one of the reasons it remains a popular destination for tourists near and far.
Edinburgh remains one of the most popular tourist cities in Scotland, both for its ancient beauty, interesting cultural history, and its fantastic, unique flair. But what about the surrounding area?
Within short distances of Edinburgh, Scotland has much to offer. So, in no particular order, here are 8 luxury day trips that can be taken whilst staying in the famed capital city!
With a quaint city center, a picturesque landscape, and a world famous castle which dates back to the times of the Viking raids, Stirling is an underrated hot spot for sights, history, and natural beauty.
Visit Stirling castle, which sits perched atop the hilly city. Inside you can learn all about the castle’s long and storied past, where it acted as a military stronghold, and a prominent defensive point against several Viking attacks.
There is also the nearby Doune Castle, just a short distance outside of the city. This lesser known castle has also gained wider fame in recent years thanks to its appearance in the TV show Outlander starring Sam Heughan.
With a reputation as one of the most stunning valleys in Scotland, and perhaps the best day trip for outdoor enthusiasts, Glencoe is only a short drive from Edinburgh, and can provide the perfect natural escapism from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Take a mountaineering trip, or visit the numerous tea rooms, restaurants, pubs, and quaint little shops that are located around the valley.
3. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
Easily accessible from Edinburgh by car, Loch Lomond is the famed loch, popularized by countless folk songs and ballads throughout history.
Take a cruise on the loch, or go walking in the surrounding Trossachs for a wilder, untamed excursion. As Scotland’s first national park, it is a great source of natural unaltered beauty spots, quaint little hideaways, and ancient Scottish history (as the home of legendary Scottish outlaw, Rob Roy McGregor).
4. St. Andrews
As the site of one of Scotland’s oldest universities, St. Andrews boasts a wealth of history, and the nearby sandy beaches make it a natural beauty spot, and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
The charming town center is full of quaint, old pubs, countless boutiques and highstreet stores, and any number of places to eat and relax.
Golfing fans will also know St. Andrews as the home of golf, and the founding place of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
Once the capital of Scotland, Perth is a great place to try traditional Scottish cuisine, and to immerse yourself in history.
Boasting several historic sites, including the Stone Palace and the Stone of Destiny (an ancient stone symbol of Scotland’s monarchy), Perth is a great coming together of old and new.
Offering traditionalism, and a paradise for modern foodies, Perth really does have something for everyone.
6. Fort William
Boasting ancient castles, breathtaking scenic views, and even the Hogwarts Express, Fort William is a great place to shop and relax, or take in the awesome natural beauty.
Visit the Fort William West Highland Museum, or ride the Hogwarts Express for fantastic views of Loch Ness and Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom.
A place for the history and engineering buffs, Falkirk is a perfect coming together of old and new, marking the historical site where William Wallace died, modern feats of engineering such as the Falkirk Wheel, and the magnificent equine statues called The Kelpies.
Along with the charming old waterways, and the wealth of social history, Falkirk also boasts great shopping, restaurants and pubs, allowing you to relax and chat when the mood strikes you.
Perhaps the second most famous city in Scotland, Glasgow once had a reputation for crime and poverty, but thanks to countless urban renewal projects and government funding, Glasgow has become the inviting, charming city it always had the potential to be.
With a vibrant music scene, a wide variety of cultural outlets (such as the Kelvingrove art museum), and a wealth of mercantile and engineering history, Glasgow really is a modern city for a modern Scotland, offering an old meets new experience that has taken on its own unique flavor.
History buffs should check out the breathtaking architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and fans of shopping will love the Glasgow Fort and the massive, Victorian, Princess Square Consortium.
Of course, with only eight spots, not everything could make the list, but that’s not to say they aren’t worth seeing. As such, here are a couple of honorable mentions for any visitors who have some extra time.
Featured in the adaptation of the Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks, Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most famous holy places in Scotland, and is close to the Melrose Abbey, the famed burial place of Robert The Bruce’s heart.
Away from the bustle of the city, this charming and historic town sits at the edge of the Grampian mountains, and boasts breathtaking views, historic natural landmarks, and great hiking trails.
The Outlander Experience
Fans of the TV show will love this sightseeing tour of the various filming locations used to recreate ancient Scotland.
Romantic and enchanting, this tour is a great choice for couples looking to recreate the magic of the show, not to mention being a lot of fun to boot.
And there we have it, 8 of the best day trips from Edinburgh.
Why not take a trip to Scotland and pay some of them a visit? You won’t regret it!