All information about tours, activities and excursions in the Edinburgh area. Tips for guided day trips from Edinburgh and things to do in Scotland:
13 Tips for day trips from Edinburgh
If you are staying in Edinburgh and Scotland for a longer period of time, you probably want to see something of the area around the Scottish capital. For example, find the mythical Loch Ness Monster in the Scottish Highlands. Or take the Hogwarts Express to the Wizarding School of Harry Potter. Or visit Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, which is only an hour away from Edinburgh. Edinburgh's central location means you can go in any direction and everything is within a reasonable distance of the city with an excursion or day trip from Edinburgh. Whether you want to visit other cities or visit the fishing villages on the coastline; you don't have to go far from Edinburgh.
1. Loch Ness, Glencoe & Scottish Highlands (169 mile)
The Scottish Highlands appeal to the imagination of many people. It is a combination of history, culture and an untamed landscape. If you are a nature lover, then this day trip from Edinburgh is for you. The Highlands consist of impressive mountains and mysterious Lochs, Scottish lakes, so you can enjoy beautiful views and the tranquility of nature. The most famous Loch is for sure Loch Ness, which is almost forty kilometers long, 226 meters deep at the deepest part and 1.6 kilometers wide at the widest part. Besides Loch Lomond, Loch Ness is the largest lake in Scotland (compare day trips to Scottish Highlands).
Glencoe is a valley in the northwest of the Scottish Highlands. The village of Glencoe is situated on the River Coe and is close to Loch Leven, a saltwater lake. Glencoe is characterized by a deep valley and high, rugged mountains. These rugged mountain peaks were formed by glaciers and the eruptions of the old volcano that lies in the valley. Glencoe is one of the most special and beautiful locations in Scotland and is therefore often used for filming locations, such as in James Bond's Skyfall and several Harry Potter films.
📌 Tip: Are you looking for a fun excursion to visit Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Scottish Highlands in one day from Edinburgh? Then I absolutely recommend this day trip from Edinburgh where you will visit the area with a very enthusiastic guide.Book Your Day trip
2. Loch Lomond & Stirling Castle (42 mile)
Scotland's largest lake is Loch Lomond in the south of the Scottish Highlands. The loch, with its 37 kilometers in length, 8 kilometers in width, forms the center of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, which has been open since 2002 and, together with the city of Glasgow, is responsible for the main tourism of that area. With this day trip from Edinburgh you will also visit nearby Stirling Castle, built on a volcanic rock as the residence of the Scottish monarchs. Nowadays the castle is open to the public and you can visit the castle and its gardens.Book Your Day trip
3. Day trip to Rosslyn Chapel (5 mile)
Only 7 kilometers south of Edinburgh is the Rosslyn Chapel. This landmark is a fifteenth-century church, which is administered by the Scottish Episcopal Church. Sir William St. Clair started construction in 1446 and was after his death also buried in the unfinished chapel. During the Scottish Reformation the church fell into disuse and it was not used again for services until the eighteenth century. At the end of the last century, a major restoration took place under the direction of architect James Simpson. Rosslyn Chapel is associated with the Knights Templar and as a result the church has been used as a filming location for The Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks. With this excursion you have a full day trip from Edinburgh including Rosslyn Chapel and the border region with England.Book Your Day trip
4. Firth of Forth & Inchcolm Abbey (5 mile)
Near Edinburgh is the estuary of The Firth of Forth. In ninety minutes you can sail across The Firth of Forth with this boat trip. See the three bridges, enjoy a relaxing boat trip with stunning views of Edinburgh and the Kingdom of Fife and the historic island of Inchcolm. Here you can also leave the boat for an hour and a half and visit the island. Inchcolm is best known for its Augustinian Monastery, which is the best surviving monastery in Scotland. The western part of the island is sometimes home to puffins and seals, allowing you to see these special species up close in their natural habitat (compare boat trips).Book Your Boat Trip
5. Excursion Alnwick Castle (85 mile)
Alnwick Castle in the town of Alnwick, Northumberland is the largest inhabited castle in the United Kingdom next to Windsor Castle. Alnwick Castle is home to the twelfth Duke of Northumberland. The castle dates back to 1096 and has been restored many times. One of the highlights is the archive of Alnwick Castle, which can only be visited by appointment. The castle has also been used for several films. Both The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets from the Harry Potter series were filmed here, as well as the British series Downtown Abbey. With this day trip from Edinburgh you can visit Alnwick Castle and Northumbria.Book Your Day trip
6. Hopetoun House (12 mile)
Hopetoun House is a country house located on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The mansion belongs to the Hopetoun House Preservation Trust, a charity established in 1974 to preserve the house as a national monument. As a result, the furniture, paintings, manuscripts and other historical objects have been well preserved and can be viewed. The house is occupied by Adam Hope's family. Nowadays you can also rent Hopetoun House for events, such as luxurious weddings. Also visit the gardens of the manor for a scenic walk through beautiful nature.
Are you an Outlander fan? Then this Outlander excursion is interesting for you and you will also visit Hopetoun House.
7. Hogwarts Express - Scottish Highlands tour by train (136 mile)
Day trips from Edinburgh by train? For Harry Potter fans, the Scottish Highlands are a must see. That is why there is a special tour from Edinburgh (more info about these tours) organized for these people, taking you around the Scottish Highlands on the Hogwarts Express. Hop on in Edinburgh and visit Glencoe, Fort William, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Pitlochry. You will see the wilderness of Rannoch Moor. You will discover the volcanic valley of Glencoe. And in Fort William, you can finally board the Jacobite steam train, the Hogwarts Express. By train, cross the famous viaduct and look out over Loch Shiel from the Chamber of Secrets. Later you will also visit the place where the Triwizard Tournament from the Goblet of Fire took place.
8. Edinburgh Day Tours: Craigmillar Castle (4 mile)
Craigmillar Castle is a well-preserved 15th century castle associated with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. After Rizzio's murder, Mary fled here and it is here that the murder of his husband was staged. Built by the Preston family, the castle has been owned by Historic Scotland since 1946. It was used as a medieval fortress, but then grew into a comfortable place to live surrounded by beautiful gardens and meadows. Nowadays you can organize weddings in the Great Hall and the castle can be visited (official website).
9. Portobello Beach (4 mile)
Portobello Beach is located a few miles outside Edinburgh city center. You will find more than three kilometers of beach, where you can sunbathe and swim. Events are often organized on the wide promenade, such as the Big Beach Busk, international volleyball tournaments and triathlons. You can learn to kayak and there is also a Victorian swimming pool with Turkish baths. Gift shops, restaurants, bars and cafes can be found on Portobello's main street. The architecture in Portobello is Victorian and Gregorian and there are also a number of beautiful parks in the suburb.
Do you like cycling? Then this bike tour is interesting for you. Via Holyrood Park and the harbor of Leith the bike tour eventually ends at Portobello Beach.
10. Glasgow, Scotland's largest city (46 mile)
Glasgow is Scotland's largest city and the UK's main industrial and commercial city. The entire city was created after 1800 by dredging the River Clyde with the exception of Glasgow Cathedral, which dates from the thirteenth century. There are many tourist attractions in Glasgow. For example, visit the old cathedral, Kelvingrove Park Georg Square, Old Fruit Market and Tobacco Merchant's House. Sports enthusiasts can visit the rival football clubs the Rangers and the Celtics. Museum lovers can enjoy themselves in the Riverside Museum about transport, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Lighthouse or the Gallery of Modern Art.
11. Jupiter Artland (7 mile)
Jupiter Artland, located in Edinburgh, is a private modern art gallery and sculpture park. The park is open to the public from May to September. You can find Jupiter Artland about seven kilometers from Edinburgh on the grounds of Bonnington House. This is a nineteenth-century country house, the grounds of which have grown into a sculpture park and where two wings were added in 2015 for an indoor art gallery. The collection of sculptures was founded by art collectors Robert and Nicky Wilson.
12. St. Andrew and fishing villages of Fife (51 miles)
Book a tour of the fishing villages of The Kingdom of Fife and finish in beautiful St. Andrew. Get to know medieval Scotland by visiting the fishing villages, which were once the center of a thriving and prosperous fishing industry. St. Andrew is the most famous village on the ride. The sport of golf originated in this village and the most famous golf course in the world is also located here. Also visit St. Andrews Cathedral and Castle, both of which are partly ruined. Also visit Scotland's oldest university here, where Prince William met his wife.
13. Multi-day excursion Isle of Skye (227 miles)
Isle of Skye is Scotland's second largest island and is known as one of Scotland's most beautiful natural areas. The island is too far from Edinburgh to visit in one day, but several tour operators offer multi-day tours from Edinburgh to give you an unforgettable experience in Scotland. For example, visit highlights such as the 'Old Man of Storr', Dunvegan Castle or a trip to Ulig. With one of the tours below you can easily expand your city trip to a short holiday along the highlights of Scotland: