Once you are in Edinburgh and filling your days exploring the city and its attractions, you might also wish to “escape” from the capital of Scotland. Not because it doesn’t require your attention, but because there are so many places to visit within sniffing distance. You might be surprised how many options are there to uncover just in a day. These are the best Day trips from Edinburgh, come and explore the Loch Ness, the Scottish highlands and more!
The good thing is that using public transport from Edinburgh is not going to make you any troubles. The city is very well connected by bus or train. Or you might choose the freedom of a car and make a trip to unexplored places.
In the following, I’m sharing with you some places, just as an inspiration or information you are searching for.
Arthur’s seat, located in Holyrood Park, is the highest point of the group of hills over Edinburgh. The hill is the remain of extinct volcanic activity. It sits 251 m above sea level, offering impressive 360° panoramic views of the city and the North Sea. It’s a short hike with a steep and rocky section, but absolutely worth to look over Edinburgh from the top. This is the site of a large and well-preserved fort, a Site of Special Scientific Interest with a diverse range of flora and geology.
There are several ways to climb to the top with different difficulties, so you can choose the one it suits you and your condition.
Loch Ness and The Highlands
When in Scotland you can’t miss the Scottish Highlands – the region with jaw-dropping landscapes. This land is a temptation for outdoor and adventure seekers, where you can enjoy majestic mountains, pick some sports activities such as walking, hiking, cycling, fishing, or just watching wildlife (you can find some of Scotland’s most iconic animals).
This unique scenery, Scottish charming nature, can satisfy even the most demanding photographers.
Here is also a home of the most famous lake, Loch Ness, where you can choose a popular activity – sailing to the ruins of Urquart Castle. The lake is also known of Loch Ness Monster, an unknown animal.
Glencoe is the most famous and picturesque valley that boasts cliff faces and steep slopes.
Scottish highlands map
Roslin is a charming village easily reached from Edinburgh and is known for being home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge biological field. It has also fame since featuring in the book of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code”.
Escaping from the town, finding peace among greenery and having a real feeling of the Scottish countryside. All these experiencing you will find in Roslin Gen. This wooded glen contains several interesting places, such as Rosslyn Chapel, Rosslyn Castle, Wallace’s Cave and Hawthornden Castle.
The main attraction you must see there is Rosslyn Chapel, still used as today as a place of worship. It’s really lovely to see the beauty and extraordinary details and ornate stonework, telling Biblical stories and other messages. All the carving details have also inspired many poets, writers, and artists. There is an entry fee of £9 for adults and once you enter the Chapel, no photography is allowed.
Just a few hundred meters from the Chapel, there is Rosslyn Castle. It is the least touristic place (due to lack of its visibility) which is, in my opinion, a pity because it’s a charming place, surrounded by greenery and amazing view. Today, ruins are the only that remains of the castle. Within the ruins (walls of the castle) is a house built out of its ruins and today used for holiday lets. The legends say that the castle is home to a sleeping lady who will one day awake and show the whereabouts of a fabulous treasure buried deep within its vaults. After that, the castle will again rise from its ruins.
Glasgow is only about an hour drive away from Edinburgh and is far bigger than Scotland’s capital. However, the city is not as touristy, it boasts stunning architecture, high-quality attractions, fabulous nightlife, plenty of art spaces and museums, interesting neighborhoods. What I found good is that many attractions in the city are free.
At this point, I would like to set out particular places you must visit.
Botanic Gardens, nestled in the heart of the city, features a variety of flora, herb garden, walks along the river, children’s playground, several glasshouses (the most outstanding is the Kibble Palace). Kelvingrove Park is another public space where you can find peace and admire the beauty of nature. The park also features the Art Gallery and Museum, which is the number 1 on a list when traveling to Glasgow. Like many museums of the city, this one is totally free to enter.
Glasgow city is rich in heritage, that’s why you shouldn’t pass by some major buildings, like Glasgow Cathedral, Necropolis – a Victorian cemetery with wonderful sculptures, City Chambers – a symbol of city’s historic wealth.
Holy Island Alnwick Castle
Holy Island (also known as Lindisfarne) is a nice day trip destination from Edinburgh. The island represents one of Britain’s foremost Christian sacred natural sites, dedicated to peace and well-being, there is a Centre for World Peace and Health. The Centre hosts retreat and course programme.
You can choose a circular walking island route that includes visiting 16th-century castle, walled castle garden, experience wild coastal scenery with beautiful views and enjoying the tranquillity. The route is easy and will take you about 2 hours.
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