10 Day Trips From Edinburgh Perfect For A Weekend!

Students living in Edinburgh are lucky to live in such a beautiful city with many wondrous events and attractions to visit, on top of this, there are many options for day trips from Edinburgh!

Though the city itself is a fantastic place to have as a base from your Edinburgh student accommodation, there are also some amazing day trips that can be found within easy reach outside of Edinburgh.

Scotland has many charms, from the big nature walks and the culture of other cities, such as Glasgow.

Here, we take a look at a few of the best day trips from Edinburgh that you can take.

1. St Andrews

Distance: 1 hour 20 minutes by car

St Andrews

St Andrews is an absolute gem of a day trip and can be reached within an hour and 20 minutes if you are travelling by car or an hour and 10 minutes if you are travelling by train (the nearest railway station is Leuchars if you are thinking about taking this relaxed mode of transport).

St Andrews is an ancient town that is famous for its world-renowned red-brick university, so you can always expect to see the town full of a combination of students and tourists from around the globe, soaking up the history and the culture.

It is only a small town, with just three main streets, but despite this, it packs in a lot of must-see attractions.

St Andrews retains much of its medieval features, dating back to the 12th century when it was a centre for religion and a destination for pilgrims the world over.

The 13th century ruined castle is a must-see, a great place to have a wander, and the ruins themselves work their way down towards Castle Sands, a fantastic scenic small beach.

It’s a spot that makes for a great stop for a picnic at the right time of year. It is also a fantastic place to start a hike along the Fife Coastal Path, where you’ll take in empty white-sand beaches and fantastic views of the North Sea.

The town has a selection of fine boutiques, restaurants and cafés that will entertain you as you stop for a breather, and we couldn’t leave without talking about golf.

The University of St Andrews Men’s Golf Club is one of the oldest sports clubs in the world, founded way back in 1854.

St Andrews Links is one of the oldest tournament golf courses too. The whole town is steeped in tradition whichever way you look.

2. Gullane

Distance: 40-minutes by car


Gullane is just a 40-minute drive or one hour and 15 minutes by train if you are looking for picturesque day trips from Edinburgh.

It is an amazing day out for walks in the forest and hikes along the craggy shoreline.

Gullane first became a big hit because of the five-star Bonnie Badger Hotel (hosted by Tom and Michaela Kitchin) but it has become a big hit with weekend travellers and day-trippers in its own right.

The Lothian coast brings the essence of the Scottish windswept nature right to you, and you can explore the sand dunes, the thick forests or the craggy shorelines.

The town itself has lovely, cobbled streets and a ninth-century village church at its heart, which allows you to step back in time.

Alongside Tom Kitchin’s fine gastropub, there are also some lovely eateries in the heart of the town where you can stop off for a bite to eat after a long day of walking.

3. Glasgow

Distance: 1 hour by car


You can get to Glasgow on a day trip from Edinburgh in around an hour whether travelling by road or rail.

Even though it is on the other side of the country, the transport networks between the two major Scottish cities makes it a relatively simple day trip for those of you living in the capital.

Glasgow is a city reinvented in recent times, it’s a hub of music, art, culture, and architecture.

Around every corner, you’ll see exquisite examples of Victorian architecture, as you wander through George Square and Argyle Street.

Kelvingrove Museum is an amazing place to visit, home to 22 galleries and including art from some of the finest, such as van Gogh and Dali. The Mackintosh House was the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and is a must for those interested in art, design, and architecture.

A day trip to Glasgow for sports lovers means only one thing – football.

The two big hitters Celtic and Rangers play at Celtic Park and Ibrox respectively, whilst the home of the national team is Hampden Park.

Just outside of the city centre, the family-friendly Partick Thistle is also worth a visit for those groundhoppers amongst you.

If you are heading to Glasgow for a day of shopping you are certainly in the right place, as it is hailed as the best shopping in the UK outside of London.

There are over 1500 shops of all types and sizes throughout the city, from the big brand names and department stores down to boutiques and independent shopping covering the weird and wonderful and anything you could ever wish for.

4. Tantallon Castle

Distance: less than 1 hour by car

Tantallon Castle

This spooky destination lies just under an hour away by car or an hour and a half by bus.

It is one of the most striking ruins to be found anywhere in the whole of Scotland. Tantallon was a fortress from the 14th century and was one of the focal points of Scottish resistance until Oliver Cromwell laid siege to it in 1651.

Over the centuries since it has been left to deteriorate, but despite this the building sits on the edge of a cliff and is an imposing and awe-inspiring sight on the skyline.

The castle is an incredible example of medieval architecture, and it also has views across the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock, along a towering castle wall made of red sandstone.

It is impressive to say the least. Just to the east of the ruins, Seacliff is one of the smallest harbours in the UK and it is in this location where you’ll discover St Baldred’s Cave, an eerie cavern close to a hidden beach.

It is said to have contained the remains of human sacrifice from back in the Iron Age, making it a Spooktacular destination!

For something a little more sedate, the NB distillery tour is just inland for award-winning gin, vodka, and whisky.

5. Loch Ness

 Distance: 3 hours and 20 minutes by car

Loch Ness

We’ve all heard the tales about the Loch Ness monster, so why not visit on a day trip from Edinburgh and see if you can spot the beast yourself?!

Nessie has been one of the biggest tourist attractions in Scotland for decades, a cryptozoological sea monster that adds a mythic element to this part of the world.

Loch Ness though, is more than a myth, it has more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined, which makes it an incredible destination on its own merits, and it makes for an amazing day trip from your Edinburgh home.

Loch Ness is also a good centre point of a day trip that includes visits to distilleries in this beautiful part of the world.

Maybe just take in the Loch before you taste some whisky, and not the other way around – you’ll definitely be seeing things otherwise!

6. Stirling

 Distance: less than 1 hour by car


You’ll have marvelled at Edinburgh Castle since moving into your student accommodation in the city, and rightly so, but a day trip to Stirling will bring you to another incredible castle, that has stood tall and proud for centuries.

Stirling Castle was built in medieval times and was even capable of withstanding several attacks from the Vikings.

It is a huge and imposing structure, and it is in the centre of some incredible forest views and a panorama of the hills and surrounding mountains.

Stirling Old Town is a lot like a mini version of Edinburgh, with its cobbled streets, winding roads and historical architecture at every turn.

As impressive as Stirling is itself, it is also known as the gateway to the Highlands, which means it is a fantastic, magical place to hear folk tales from the history of Scotland and to use as a starting point get out into nature and see the spectacular Highlands.

7. Wemyss Bay

Distance: 1 hour 48 minutes by car

Wemyss Bay

A small, traditional Victorian village, Wemyss Bay is a charming place to visit for a day trip from Edinburgh!

Coming into the railway station is to feel exactly what it would have done on a steam train in the 19th century.

It has been preserved so well and is one of the best examples of this time period anywhere in the UK on the railway network.

It’s just under a couple of hours away from Edinburgh, the other side of Glasgow on the western shore of Scotland!

The bay is stunning and as a base to head out on country and coastal walks you’ll discover some astonishing views of the countryside and coast surrounding the village.

Wemyss Bay also puts you in the perfect position to jump on the ferry and cross to the Isle of Bute and the port of Rothesay, another great location to explore.

8. St Abbs

Distance: 1 hour and 6 minutes by car

st abbs day trips from edinburgh

One of the best day trips from Edinburgh that you can take, just over an hour away by car, St Abbs is a small fishing village that is the perfect calm and tranquil relaxing day trip away from the city.

You’ll find some of the most beautiful coastline in the whole of Scotland around St Abbs, with the best views imaginable.

The headlands and the cliffs covered with heather provide a great spot to sit and watch the world go by, brilliant locations to take in the stunning views, and to take some photography to match anything you’ll take out in the wild.

St Abbs is a haven for those looking to go surfing, as it is the place to be for some top-notch waves, but it is also a great place to just sit and relax, to breath in the fresh and clean sea air, watch all manner of seabirds and wildlife and take that time to recharge your batteries.

9. North Berwick

Distance: 30 minutes by car

north berwick day trips from edinburgh

Just 30 minutes away on the train from Edinburgh, North Berwick is a gem of a seaside town, an excellent choice as a day trip from Edinburgh.

North Berwick is everything that you could ever want from a Scottish seaside town, with ice creams along the waterfront, paddleboarding in the waves, and serene walks along the wonderful beaches.

North Berwick is more than just the beach though, there is also Bass Rock, a famous bird settlement where you can see all kinds of birds, and the Sea Bird Centre is here too, should you be interested in learning more about the local wildlife.

There are some tasty eateries around town too, should you wish to stop off for a cup of coffee and a sandwich as part of your day out.

10. Borders Train Journey 

Borders Train Journey day trips from edinburgh

Still looking for day trips from Edinburgh? If you are a fan of train journeys, the Borders train route is a great way to spend a day out, away from your Edinburgh home.

There are a few different options available to you, but you can take the train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, taking in the sights and sounds of the Midlothian region.

It’s all about the travel and the journey on a day out like this, but the destination is pretty great too.

When you get to Tweedbank there is the elegant stately home of Abbotsford House, which is one of the best examples of its kind in the country.

It was actually the residence of the writer Sir Walter Scott. The house has some wonderful examples of Scottish Baronial architecture as part of its build.

The rail journey along the borders region is spectacular though. There are few better ways to travel and relax than on a train with beautiful scenery flying by alongside you.

You’ll find some great day trips from Edinburgh. You’ve got the perfect base at your student accommodation, and whether you are looking for history, arts and culture, nature walks, or the breath-taking Scottish scenery, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country. After some side hustle ideas to earn some extra cash for your day out? Click here for some tips on our latest blog!

Table of Contents