Even while it could be difficult to drag yourself away from Edinburgh’s many enjoyable activities, the region outside of this breathtakingly beautiful city is also worthwhile to see. Use this list of the top day tours from Edinburgh, Scotland, to organize your travels.
1. Stirling Castle
Due to its magnificent 12th-century castle, the town of Stirling is a well-liked tourist destination and can be reached directly by train from Edinburgh in about 45 minutes. Gorgeous Stirling Castle has a significant place in Scottish history and is perched 76 meters above the town on a volcanic cliff.
The Great Hall, an outstanding and well-preserved medieval building erected for James IV in 1503, is among the highlights of a visit. Don’t forget to set aside time to stroll through the gorgeous Queen Anne Gardens that are close to the castle.
2. Loch Lomond and the West Highlands Castles
The southernmost point of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park is home to the legendary Loch Lomond, Scotland’s largest freshwater loch. Boating and other water sports are popular on this lovely loch, which also serves as the entrance to the breathtaking West Highlands.
A variety of old castles, notably Inveraray Castle, may be found here among the hills and untamed Breadalbane Mountains. Inveraray, the home of the Dukes of Argyll, was constructed in the middle of the 18th century on the ruins of a medieval stronghold.
3. Loch Ness
The famous Loch Ness in Scotland is by far the most well-known since it is said to be the residence of Nessie, a sea snake. With a depth of 227 meters and a length of 37 kilometers, Loch Ness fills the large geological rift known as the Great Glen. Mountains rise sharply from their sides.
It’s unquestionably one of the most charming locations in all of Scotland, and hour-long boat rides from Fort Augustus and Inverness offer breathtaking vistas of the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands. They also offer stunning views of the magnificent Urquhart Castle ruins.
4. Outlander Film Locations Day Trip
The Outlander film sites day trip is a terrific choice for people visiting Edinburgh because it is a well-liked planned tour for both day trippers and TV viewers. Your trip begins at 8:45 a.m. and departs from Highland Explorer Tours’ central Edinburgh headquarters. On the way, you’ll see some of the region’s most breathtaking scenery and popular tourist destinations that were featured in the blockbuster TV show.
Along the route, a knowledgeable guide provides anecdotes about the imagined locales they depict in addition to the history of the actual places they represent. They converse about the fictional characters from the show as well.
5. Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace, a star of the popular TV series Outlander, is situated in a lovely lakeside setting and is well-known for being the birthplace of Mary Stuart in 1542. The royal coat of arms is still visible on the gatehouse on the east front.
The expansive Great Hall provides a glimpse of the palace’s magnificence, and tour guides can point out where the room—far above—where the future queen was born is located. The ramparts and towers of the castle can also be toured.
Make sure to allot time to stroll about Linlithgow, a charming tiny village. Historic St. Michael’s Church and some exquisite 16th-century homes can be found here. A 3000 BC-era archaeological site lies close to Cairnpapple Hill.
6. St. Andrews
Despite the fact that golfers revere the name St. Andrews, anybody may enjoy this historic university town in Fife, which is located a picturesque 90 minutes north of Edinburgh.
The melancholy ruins of the 12th-century cathedral and the charming St. Andrew’s Castle on a headland facing the North Sea can be found in addition to the British Golf Museum and many courses. Its foundations go back to the 13th century when the archbishop lived there.
You can go here in a minivan with a guide on St. Andrews and Fife Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh, and you’ll have plenty of time to see St. Andrews. Your complimentary card can also be used to receive special offers at nearby eateries, stores, and attractions. The tour stops at East Neuk and Falkland, two fishing communities on the route back to Edinburgh, where you can see the impressive Falkland Palace.
7. National Mining Museum Scotland
The National Mining Museum Scotland is situated at the Lady Victoria Colliery, one of the best preserved Victorian collieries in Europe, about 16 kilometers south of Edinburgh. It started operating in 1894 and stopped producing in 1981. It is regarded as one of the best mines to see in Scotland.
The museum charts the evolution of coal mining in Scotland across multiple generations. The Grant-Richie winding engine, which was formerly used to hoist coal from a depth of about 1,640 feet, is of tremendous historical interest. In addition to the winch, this four-acre site has Europe’s only remaining timber dredger and a set of wonderfully restored Lancashire Boilers. Tours of the pithead are entertaining.
8. Melrose Abbey
Of the four abbeys in the Borders region, Melrose Abbey is regarded by many as being the best. It was constructed in red sandstone for Cistercian monks in 1136 but has since been repeatedly looted and desecrated.
A magnificent scene can be seen in what is left. Features include a fountain in the shape of a bagpipe-playing pig and elaborate stonework and gargoyle carvings on the capitals and sculptures. According to legend, Robert Bruce’s heart is interred under the east window; in fact, a mummified heart was discovered in the Chapterhouse in 1920.
9. Holy Island and Alnwick Castle
Edinburgh is near enough to the English border to allow for day trips to Northumberland’s stunning shore. Holy Island, a mysterious location with a long history that can only be reached from the mainland via a small sandbar at low tide, is the centerpiece of this mountainous coastline.
Lindisfarne Castle, a picture-perfect structure, is located at the summit of a high hill. Stones from the priory, which Saint Aidan, a native of the Scottish island of Iona, founded here in 635, were used to construct this formidable fortification in the 1500s.
Alnwick Castle is not distant from The Holy Isle. It served as the backdrop for scenes in the Harry Potter and Downton Abbey movies and is frequently referred to as the “Windsor of the North” for its massive towers and sumptuous interiors.
10. Crichton Castle
Crichton Castle is located about 12 miles east of Edinburgh, perched on a hill overlooking the River Tyne. The ancient tower house, built in the fourteenth century and praised by Walter Scott in Marmion, had three wings and an elegant Italianate design with Florentine arcades. Diamond bosses adorned the brickwork and the castle’s facade.
During their honeymoon, Mary Stuart and Lord Darnley resided here; their initials (MSD) are still visible, cut into a stone above the two center pillars on the east side of the courtyard. If you go, make sure to look out for the ghost of the castle.
11. Dalmeny House
Dalmeny House is located near Queensferry, eight miles from Edinburgh. With a view of the Firth of Forth, it is renowned for its Tudor Gothic design, priceless artwork, including portraits by Reynolds, Raeburn, and Gainsborough, as well as Louis XV and Louis XVI-era French furnishings.
Rare ceramics, tapestries, and silk curtains embroidered by Marie Antoinette are a few further attractions. The Napoleon Room houses the Emperor’s artworks, belongings, and a chair that belonged to the Duke of Wellington.