A country girl at heart, I like nothing more than getting out into the countryside and going on Scotland adventures. However, with a full-time job (boo!) my weekends are often limited to planning day trips from Edinburgh. My idea of the perfect day out includes a walk, a pretty village or town to photograph and good food (or coffee) within an hour or so drive, or via public transport, from Edinburgh. If you are looking for a day out, here are 5 of my favourites.
Day trips from Edinburgh
Royal Palaces, boat trips and lochside strolls – Linlithgow
The royal burgh of Linlithgow lies 20 miles west of Edinburgh and is a bustling little town complete with its own palace and loch to explore. On the historic high street (ignore the occasional 60s redevelopment) sits the recently refurbished Burgh Halls as well as lots of local shops. To the south of the town centre is the Union Canal on which you can take a boat trip either through the town or over the nearby aqueducts.
Visit: Explore the ruined Linlithgow Palace (Historic Scotland) and the pretty Linlithgow Canal Centre.
Walk: Take a walk around Linlithgow Loch (2.25miles)
Eat at: There is a huge choice of cafes and restaurants in Linlithgow, whatever your budget!
Get there: Drive – 45 minutes west of Edinburgh. Direct 15 minutes train to Linlithgow station.
Abbeys, Abbotsford and Scott – Visit Melrose
The opening of a Borders rail line has made the Scottish Borders towns more easily accessible from Edinburgh. Melrose is my favourite; it has small town charm, a beautiful setting and more history than you can handle. It is home to one of the Scottish Border’s four famous Abbeys and Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott is nearby. Take time to wander around the galleries and traditional shops (there is a great vintage shop!) and relax in the friendly Scottish Borders way of life.
Visit: Melrose Abbey (Historic Scotland) and the stunning Abbotsford in Tweedbank.
Walk: Explore Melrose and the River Tweed (3.5miles)
Eat at: Good pub food at Burts Hotel or the Abbey wine shop hides a cafe at the rear.
Get there: Drive – 1 hour south of Edinburgh. Borders Railway train to Tweedbank and then catch the First Bus number X62, or it is a 40 min walk from Tweedbank to Melrose.
beaches, lobster dinner and seabirds at North Berwick
North Berwick is East Lothian’s proper old-fashioned seaside resort. With two town beaches, a seabird centre, a harbour for boat trips out to the Forth estuary islands, fish & chips and plenty of galleries and shops to wander around it has all the beach town charm you could wish for. North Berwick is where my now husband and I had our first date, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Visit: The Scottish Seabird Centre where you can see the birds on Bass Rock through the telescope and cameras.
Walk: Climb North Berwick Law for incredible views (4.25miles)
Eat: at the Lobster Shack for some of the best fresh Scottish seafood money can buy, eaten right on the harbour wall. They even serve champagne! Great coffee is available at Steampunk behind the high street.
Get there: Drive – 45mins east of Edinburgh. Direct train to North Berwick.
Outlander tales at The Royal Burgh of Culross
The pretty village of Culross in the south-west coast of Fife is one of Scotland’s best preserved medieval villages. Thanks to the National Trust for Scotland you can step back into the 17th Century to explore both real and fictional history (it is the village of Cranesmuir in Outlander) between its cobbled streets. Don’t miss the frankly fascinating and incredibly well-preserved Culross Palace. If you have a car, you can make this a circular trip, driving across the Forth Road Bridge and the Kincardine Bridges and visiting Blackness Castle.
Visit: Culross Palace with its fantastic interiors (National Trust for Scotland)
Walk: the Culross Heritage Walk (2.5 miles)
Eat at: The Red Lion Inn or the Biscuit Cafe (above the Pottery Shop)
Get there: Drive – 50mins north of Edinburgh or catch the train to Dunfermline and then Stagecoach bus nos 71, 74 and 78.
Crab sarnies at St Abbs
The Scottish Borders coastal village of St Abbs is a thriving fishing harbour, providing a home for six lobster boats who bring in daily catches of lobster and local edible crabs known as Poos! With a nature reserve offering up spectacular cliffside walks and seabirds galore, it is a great stopping point if you are heading north or the perfect distance for a day trip from Edinburgh.
Walk: St Abbs Head Nature Reserve (hopefully it will be a sunny day!)
Eat at: Ebb Carrs Cafe for crab sandwiches.
Get there: Drive – 1 hour east of Edinburgh. Perryman’s buses no. 253 runs from Edinburgh, the 235 from Berwick.
Love from, Scotland x